By Tré Berry III🖊️
The Super-Flyweight power grid continues, as one of the divisions best, yet most enigmatic of the bunch takes a big gamble forward in competition, as England’s unbeaten WBA World Titlist 🇬🇧Khalid “Kal” Yafai (26-0-0, 15KO👊) will fight against boxing legend and former 5X, 4 division & Pound-4-Pound Champion 🇳🇮Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (48-2-0, 40KO👊). Chocolatito is ranked as the #2 contender in the WBA sanctioning body, and is expected to provide a dangerous challenge to Yafai, even at this advanced stage of his career after revamping his arsenal and getting back to what made him a dominant Champion for a large portion of the prior decade.
Kal Yafai has had 5 successful defenses of his WBA Super-Flyweight Title after winning the vacant Title strap by defeating 🇵🇦Luis Concepcion back in 2016. Although he is in possession of some hardware in the division, he is often an afterthought, or the last titlist/fighter of the elite contingent to come to mind, as you’ve had guys over the years like IBF Titlist 🇵🇭Jerwin Ancajas, WBO Titlist 🇯🇵Kazuto Ioka, 🇹🇭Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, 🇵🇭Donnie Nietes, the RING/WBC World Champion of the division 👑🇲🇽Juan Francisco Estrada, and even his opponent Chocolatito make waves in the division, with loud introductions being made in their own right to establish staying power and respect from their peers, as well as from the boxing contingent. If there has been anything that has plagued Yafai, is that he had been embroiled with inconsistency in his level of performance since hitting the big time, putting forth up and down outings despite remaining undefeated.
He certainly has a wealth of natural and technical talent, so the 30 year old from Birmingham is looking to put forth his best effort against what should prove to be his most dangerous opponent to date, the man that he had idolized as an aspiring up and coming boxer from his youthful days.
What could you say about someone like Chocolatito? for his era, he (alongside 🇵🇭Nonito Donaire) has set the standard of what it meant to be a great Champion in the lower weight divisions, and did so with dominance, skill and humility. As time would go on however, Chocolatito was struck with tragedy and turmoil in his life that was a contributor in his battery getting drained, and also played a part in his usually solid fundamental base, as he started to get sloppy during the back-end of his run, which fighters in the ⚖️115 lb. division started to take advantage of, to where he was eventually blasted out by rival 🇹🇭Srisaket Sor Rungvisai in their 2nd fight, raising the question of if Chocolatito wanted to continue forth with his career, and on if he could return back to his peak form.
Roman would take a full year off to take care of things outside of boxing, and to give his mind, as well as his body a rest as he would contemplate what he wanted to do from this point on. He would eventually return to take on former Minimumweight Titlist 🇲🇽Moises Fuentes. Though Fuentes was long in the tooth, it provided Chocolatito someone who he could showcase what he had left, and there were glimpses in that fight of Chocolatito’s technique somewhat returning to form from the days of him dominating the Light-Flyweight and Flyweight divisions with an iron fist.
Delivering a 🖼️picture-perfect knockout, Chocolatito would once again go on a hiatus, disappearing for 15 months to take on a tune-up fight against 🇵🇭Diamel Diocos. Injury crept into the picture as to why there was a lengthy delay, but he would come back and get a little work in. Even there, you could see his balance, defense and combination punching where it needed to be for him going forward, and for the first time since being at ⚖️115 lbs, he didn’t look like a blown-up Flyweight challenging the big boys (from his perspective), he looks to have finally gotten properly acclimated physically to the Super-Flyweight division, which makes his return that much more interesting.
The question of (rest vs. rust?) will enter the picture, as the 32 year old future first-ballot HOF’er has only had a few rounds of work since late 2017, however he was able to take care of the one thing that was plaguing him, that being a mental burnout with the rest he took up. Here he will have another shot at getting back as a major player, and it couldn’t have come at a better time for him. The fight card that this bout falls on is the most loaded card of recent memory, and has plenty of quality fights to look towards. This will be broadcast on 💻DAZN’s streaming platform, and the contest will take place in 🏟️Frisco, Texas, at the Ford Center at the Star facility.