Khalid Yafai v Roman Gonzalez: Champion to steer clear of challenger's power shots

Boxer Khalid Yafai
Yafai picked for another impressive points win
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Khalid Yafai is a champion on form and is expected to continue his winning ways. Betfair's boxing writer Frankie Monkhouse previews...

"It would be difficult not to be impressed by the record of Gonzalez but it’s worth keeping in mind he has lost half of his last four and boxed less than seven rounds since September 2017."

Khalid Yafai v Roman Gonzalez
Sunday, 03:00
Live on Sky Sports

Star of the show

Kal Yafai is back in action this weekend when travelling to Texas where he will appear on the undercard of Mikey Garcia v Jessie Vargas for the WBC diamond welterweight title. The show promoted by Eddie Hearn for Matchroom Sports also boasts a world title challenge from Jay Harris and the latest from former world heavyweight champion Joe Parker.

Yafai will enjoy appearing on such a popular bill but knows he can set up a big year in his career if he's able to steal the show with a standout performance. The unbeaten Birmingham man defends his WBA super flyweight title against Roman Gonzalez of Nicaragua.

Yafai scores back-to-back points wins

Yafai brings a perfect 26-fight record to Texas with his card showing 15 knockout wins stretching back to a 2012 debut. The 5ft 4inch orthodox quickly rose through the ranks thanks to an impressive winning run and was soon mixing it with top level opponents with major titles on the line. He hasn't put a foot wrong and many believe there's more to come.

Despite carrying a 58% knockout average across the Atlantic, each of Yafai's last two wins have come on the scorecards, beating Israel Gonzalez over 12 rounds by a unanimous decision in Monte Carlo before dishing out similar punishment to Norbelto Jimenez in Providence last time. He won each with plenty to spare and it's difficult to see the Englishman losing his world title anytime soon. Another successful title defence for Khalid is 8/11 jolly on the sportsbook.

Gonzalez lost two of last three

Not a lot will be known about opponent Gonzalez amongst casual followers of the fight game back in the UK but he's a worthy opponent who is here on merit and won't be happy just to make up the numbers. The 32-year-old is far more experienced than his opponent, having won 48 of 50 previous contests, many at a high level. The stats also show he brings a surprising 80% KO average, having stopped 40 in the build up to this challenge.

Chocolatito has lost only two of 50 but it's worth mentioning each of those defeats have come in his last three bouts. He was beaten on points by Wasiksil Wangek in New York on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin v Daniel Jacobs March 2017. That came on a majority decision, so the pair decided to do it again. On their second meeting, Wangek stopped Gonzalez inside four rounds in the summer of 2017. The beaten man has fought only twice since, scoring two KO victories. The challenger has been priced at 11/10 by the Betfair Sportsbook.

Yafai to take it long

It would be difficult not to be impressed by the record of Gonzalez but it's worth keeping in mind he has lost half of his last four and boxed less than seven rounds since September 2017. That inactivity isn't ideal preparation to face one of the form fighters in the sport today.

Yafai will be aware of the dangers posed by Roman, especially his knockout power, but he's intelligent enough to combat that. The challenger will look to end this early as the longer it goes the more that should play into the hands of the Brit. Yafai to win on points is the pick at 6/5.

Frank Monkhouse,

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