On Saturday, May 13, 2017, Khalid Yafai (22-0, 14 KOs) made the first defense of his WBA Super Flyweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision victory against Suguru Muranaka (25-3-1, 8 KOs) at the Barclaycard Arena in Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom.
The fight was televised on AWE in the U.S.
Yafai, the 27-year-old son of Yemeni parents, is a native of Britain, which he represented in the 2008 Olympics in the Flyweight division. This was the same year that James DeGale participated in the Olympics as well.
After years of fighting as a professional, Yafia earned his first world title in December of 2016 by taking on Luis Concepcion for the vacant WBA Super Flyweight title.
Tonight he mad his first defense against the tough Muranaka, a 32-year-old native of Tokyo, Japan who had not lost a fight since 2006.
Muranaka applied a lot of pressure throughout the fight, but Yafai’s footwork and combination punching did not allow Murakana to land significant shots.
In Round 2, Yafai scored a knockdown in Round 2, one that appeared to end the night quick for Muranaka. However, Muranaka held up and continued applying pressure for the rest of the fight.
Though each round was very competitive–Yafai was forced to work every second of each round–Muranaka lost every round.
Yafai was deducted a point in Round 8 for repeated low blows, but it did nothing to affect his unanimous decision victory, which he won with scores 118-108, 119-107, and 119-107.
Promoter Eddie Hearn, in the post-fight interview with Sky Sports, said that the plan is to have Yafai make one defense, and then he’ll look for unification fights.
Header Photo Mark Robinson/Getty Images
Gabe Rivas has written for Round By Round Boxing since July of 2013. He studies Literature and Philosophy, tutors English, and teaches Boxing. Follow him on Instagram and on Twitter @GabeRivas03.