Gonzalez knocks out Yafai to regain WBA super flyweight world title

·2 min read

Los Angeles (AFP) - Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez stopped British champion Khalid Yafai in the ninth round to regain the World Boxing Association super flyweight world title in Frisco, Texas.

Gonzalez, a four-weight world champion whose career nose-dived with two defeats to Thailand's Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in 2017, dominated Yafai, dropping him with less than 10 seconds left in the eighth round with an overhand right.

Yafai answered the bell for the ninth but had little left and when a brutal right cross to the chin sent him to the canvas at 0:29 of the round referee Luis Pabon called a halt.

Nicaragua's Gonzalez improved to 49-2 with 41 knockouts while Yafai, who was making the sixth defense of his title, fell to 26-1 with 15 wins inside the distance.

"I have God's strength and God gave me my title back," said Gonzalez, who took control in the second round.

His uppercut and damaging right hand had Yafai on the defensive, and he rattled the champion with two rights in the third round.

An apparent clash of heads opened a cut over Gonzalez's right eye in the sixth, but his continued aggression prevented Yafai from taking advantage.

On the same card at the Ford Center at the Star -- training base of the Dallas Cowboys -- Mexico's Julio Cesar Martinez retained his World Boxing Council flyweight world title with a unanimous 12-round decision over Britain's Jay Harris.

Martinez, who won the vacant title against Cristofer Rosales in December, poured on the pressure with quick hands and plenty of power.

He knocked down Harris -- the European champion -- with a left-right combination to the body in the 10th round with the judges finally scoring it 118-109, 116-111 and 115-112 for the champion.

"It was a very tough battle," Martinez said. "Congratulations to Harris. He was a very strong fighter and I want to defend against anyone, anywhere."