After a year out of the ring, Gamal Yafai returned on Thursday night to be crowned the European Super-Bantamweight title with a hard-fought win over Italy’s Luca Rigoldi in Milan.
Kicking off a scintillating schedule of boxing on DAZN, Yafai and Rigoldi battled toe-to-toe in an absorbing back and forth contest.
From the outset, Yafai fired powerful shots to the body of the game Italian champion, who rallied back and enjoyed successful moments within the contest, especially throughout the middle rounds.
The Birmingham fighter had his opponent rocked on a number of occasions, as he planted his feet and rifled home crisp, clean combinations.
Rigoldi was a constant threat within the fight as he increased his work rate in a bid to close the gap and push Yafai back.
Yafai’s authority on the contest was affirmed in the championship rounds as he punished a visibly drained Rigoldi, who was clearly feeling the pace of a tough contest.
In the final three rounds, the earlier body punching of Yafai truly began to pay dividends as the Italian wilted and Yafai put the finishing touches on an impressive performance.
The Birmingham contingent would have been forgiven for feel apprehensive about the scorecards given they were seeking to dethrone an Italian in Milan, however, Yafai was deservedly given the verdict on all three cards 119-109, 116-112 and 116-112.