On Saturday, February 29, 2020, The Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas played host to the return of the once pound-for-pound king, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (49-2, 41 KOs).
Gonzalez has been on a redemption tour and racked up back-to-back TKO wins since his vicious KO loss to then-champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai.
On Saturday night, he found himself across the ring from a tough and sturdy challenge in undefeated WBA Super Flyweight champion, Khalid Yafai (26-1, 15 KOs). Yafai entered the fight making his sixth defense of his title and has yearned for an opportunity against a big name like Gonzalez’s.
While Yafai may not have the star power that Gonzalez has achieved, there is no denying his skill set. Yafai is Britain’s longest-reigning champion and looked to continue that with a big win over the Nicaraguan. As both men touched gloves, the opening bell sounded.
Neither fighter dared anything too risky. By the second round though, Gonzalez began to put more combinations together and focused a lot of shots to the body. Yafai seemed to want to press Gonzalez back and disturb his movements, but struggled early on.
The fight began to turn into a phone-booth fight heading into the middle rounds and neither fighter looked to retreat. Both fighters attacked the other’s body at will. An accidental head butt would draw a cut above the right eye of Gonzalez, but it did nothing to slow down the former four-division champ.
The seventh-round proved to be a strong round for the Nicaraguan as he landed multiple unanswered hooks to the head of Yafai to close the round.
It began to seem as if the champion had begun to slow down, while Gonzalez was finding his next gear. The following round, Gonzalez’s pressure finally paid dividends as Yafai found himself on the canvas just before the close of the eighth round. Yafai was visibly spent and looked to be hanging on by a thread.
Gonzalez finished the show in the ninth in spectacular fashion. A massive right hand landed and just like that, Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez once again claimed a piece of the Super Flyweight division.
“After my last loss, I began to doubt myself and many things happened during that time,” said Gonzalez after the fight. “I’m thankful that I have a great team around me that brought me back.”
The newly crowned champ was gracias in victory but wasted no time clarifying what was next.
“I want to unify titles,” said Gonzalez. “I want to fight anyone who is willing to unify with me.”
There’s no shortage of opponents in the Super Flyweight division, and now with the return of Chocolatito, expect exciting things to come out of this division.