Boxing - Yafai wins again, Foot claims Prizefighter

Khalid Yafai continued his winning ways as a professional while Glenn Foot won the third welterweight Prizefighter tournament in Wolverhampton.

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Boxing - Yafai wins again, Foot claims Prizefighter
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British boxer Khalid 'Kal' Yafai (photo credit: Lawrence Lustig)

Former Team GB member Yafai wore down Mexico’s Gonzalo Garcia before launching a hard-hitting flurry which led to Garcia’s team retiring him after four rounds.

Promoter Eddie Hearn says the 23-year-old is ready for a challenge for the English title after moving to 7-0 in his seven-month fledging career as a promising young professional.

The 25-year-old Foot, meanwhile, returns to the North East with £34,000 in his pocket after adding a quarter-final stoppage to his winner’s cheque in the one-night tournament elsewhere on the card.

Foot and fellow finalist Dale Evans deserved their chance to battle for the big prize, and it took a split decision to decide the winner after the 21 year old Welshman stunned the pre-tournament favourite Mark Thompson in the semis to meet Foot in the final.

The opening round was tight and ultimately decided the destination of the brand new trophy, with Foot winning the second round before Evans finished brilliantly in the third.

“It's onwards and upwards from here,” said Foot. “I want to start getting into big things. Hopefully I showed people that I can box, I can fight and they saw how good I really am and they enjoyed it.

“Dale caught me with a good punch in the last round but I just dug in because I knew I'd won the first two rounds. Chad Gaynor was a really hard fight but I thought I gave Dale a boxing lesson and it was a great performance.

“We'll see where we go now. I need more fights after only having one in 14 months so hopefully this win will get me the chance to fight much more regularly. Give me an eight round or ten round fight and I'll take on anybody.”

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Foot signalled his intent in the fourth quarter-final of the night, with a cuffing right on the top of Steven Pearce’s head sending the local man to the floor before Foot grabbed his £2,000 bonus for stopping him and setting up a semi-final with a fresh Chad Gaynor, who blitzed Birmingham’s Calum Cooper with a first round stoppage.

Gaynor may have been fresher having just three minutes under his belt, but Foot’s higher work rate saw him grab a spot in the final, winning on all three judges’ cards.

Evans’ path to the final was a dramatic one as he was involved in the fight of the night and possibly the best round of boxing in Prizefighter history when he met 19 year old Sam Eggington in the second quarter-final.

Eggington’s bid to be the youngest-ever Prizefighter winner looked over inside a minute after Evans wobbled the teenager with a three-punch attack that appeared to end things. But Eggington stayed upright and then rallied superbly and he looks to have a big future in the game despite falling at the first hurdle in Wolverhampton.

The 21 year old Welshman managed to gather himself for another big effort in the semi-finals as he beat the most experienced man in the line-up in the shape of Mark Thompson.

Evans had just five fights on his CV entering the night but Gary Lockett’s latest charge did brilliantly, forcing the pace against Thompson and getting to the final by the odd round on all three cards. Evans believed he’d done enough in the final to take the spoils, but the youngster believes he’s done his future the power of good.

“I thought I had two clear rounds, especially the last one and my semi-final with Mark Thompson was closer than that,” said Evans. “But that's the way it goes sometimes.

“The variety of the boxers tonight made it the best Prizefighter yet. I lost to a good kid but that's the way it goes. I will get back in the gym and keep working hard and hopefully there will be some big things in the future.

I fought some top boys so it's been a brilliant experience and I wouldn't have done anything differently, I gave it my all and you cannot do anything more than that.

“Sam was fantastic, I caught him with some big shots and I thought he was going down but he came back and got me with some great shots himself.”

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