The launch to Kal Yafai’s comeback tour practically resulted in catastrophe inside the first three minutes.
Birmingham’s Yafai was in a position to overcome a gap spherical knockdown and a stiff problem from upset-minded Jerald Paclar to assert a ten-round determination win in his first struggle in practically three years. Scores of 96-93, 96-93 and 95-94 all landed in favor of Yafai within the opening bout of a six-fight DAZN telecast Saturday from Etihad Enviornment in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
The opening bell formally ended a career-long 33-month ring absence for Yafai, who hadn’t fought since a February 2020 ninth-round knockout loss to Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez to finish his secondary WBA junior bantamweight title reign. His first three minutes again within the ring may have gone any worse. The Philippines’ Paclar floored Yafai with a proper hand straight down the center. Yafai beat the depend however spent the remainder of the spherical making an attempt to regain his legs.
Paclar remained upset-minded in spherical two, using out Yafai combos to land his energy photographs. An overhand proper by Paclar briefly froze Yafai, who managed to remain upright however was not in a position to instantly reply.
Yafai was lucky to keep away from a knockdown name in spherical three. A wild left hand missed for the previous secondary WBA junior bantamweight titlist, with the momentum inflicting him to lose steadiness as Paclar additionally snuck in a left hook. Paclar dialed up the stress later within the spherical, driving Yafai to the ropes with straight proper palms.
A much-needed momentum arrived for Yafai in spherical 4, working the physique as Paclar appeared to decelerate. Yafai was effecitive together with his left hook to the physique and in addition touchdown upstairs. His want to focus on the physique didn’t at all times produce constructive outcomes. Paclar dropped to his knees after absorbing a vicious low blow early in spherical 5. He wanted a number of minutes to get well earlier than motion resumed.
The power from the primary half was all however gone by the point the bout entered spherical six. Yafai was content material to field and preserve issues at a sluggish, managed tempo. Paclar was unable to recapture the magic and shock issue that led to his success within the previous rounds.
Yafai tightened up his protection, disallowing Paclar to get off his punches. Yafai was profitable with proper palms excessive, adopted by digging hooks to the physique.
Paclar discovered himself on the canvas in spherical 9, although dominated a slip as each boxers struggled with the slippery canvas. Yafai continued to take the lead, touchdown a left hook to the chin that briefly brought on Paclar’s legs to buckle.
Each fighters picked up the tempo within the tenth and ultimate spherical, notably within the final minute of the struggle. Paclar (16-6-3, 9KOs) tried to sneak in another ultimate game-changing proper hand together with a left hook alongside the ropes, however Yafai (27-1, 15KOs) was ready for the incoming and was in a position to decide off the photographs.
Additionally on the present, John Lawrence Ordonio (8-4-1, 4KOs) ended a two-fight skid with an upset win over Dubai-based light-weight Majid Al Naqbi (7-1, 4KOs). Scores had been 40-36, 40-36 and 39-37 in favor of Philippines’ Ordonio, who jumped out to a powerful begin and by no means let up of their four-round light-weight battle.
Headlining the present, WBA gentle heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11KOs) defends in opposition to obligatory challenger and former WBO tremendous middleweight titlist Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (44-0, 30KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior author for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox