Kal Yafai’s attempt to claim the vacant WBA Super flyweight title and become Birmingham’s first ever world champion ended in triumph as he outpointed Luis Concepcion after twelve scruffy rounds.
The scores were 120-108, 119-108 and 117-110.
Concepcion disappointingly forfeited his title on the scales on Friday afternoon when he eventually scaled 117 1/4lbs. Yafai made the 115lb limit with half a pound to spare.
After a few hours of ‘Will he? Won’t he?’, Yafai elected to go ahead with the fight, despite the Panamanian’s non-effort to remove the excess weight. Had Concepcion won, the title would have remained vacant whereas Yafai would still be crowned the new champion with a victory.
Concepcion (35-5, 24 KO’s) seemed a bundle of energy at Tuesday’s open workout and fought like a tightly coiled spring. Yafai was also tightly coiled although in his case it may have – understandably – been down to nerves at performing at such a level for for the first time.
The combination resulted in a messy, scrappy bout but one in which Yafai – sporting the red, gold and green shorts – was the calmer chameleon. Concepcion got ragged and frustrated while Yafai altered his game plan to suit.
Concepcion tumbled to the mat in the tenth – it was impossible to tell whether it was a true knockdown from my seat, surrounded by people trying to get photos with Shannon Briggs, but it was scored as one anyway.
The Super flyweight division is inhabited by some tremendous fighters but Yafai (21-0, 14 KO’s) can worry about that after Christmas. For now, he can revel in the fact that just over four years after turning professional, he is a world champion and the extra point seemed to rubbers tamp his victory.