Monday, March 27, 2023  |



Kal Yafai outpoints Luis Concepcion to win WBA 115-pound title

Photo courtesy of Sky Sports

MANCHESTER, England – Kal Yafai saved a career-best performance for the perfect time by scoring a 12-round unanimous decision over Luis Concepcion and, in doing so, captured the vacant WBA junior bantamweight title before very impressed home support at the Manchester Arena on Saturday. The official scores were 120-108, 119-108 and 117-110 for the unbeaten fighter.

Yafai, who is rated No. 7 by THE RING at 115 pounds, decked his man in the 10th with a combination and did everything but secure the stoppage during the course of a smooth virtuoso display. Concepcion lost his world title on the scales, coming in 2.5 pounds over the limit but weight played no part in this contest. The better man prevailed in style.

Yafai was red hot from the opening bell and immediately found the mark with power shots. Concepcion smiled by way of response, a sure sign that he was impressed by the Englishman’s skill set. The home fighter moved well, feinted Concepcion out of position and landed the more eye-catching work to head and body throughout.

Not only did Yafai dazzle the former titleholder with his offense, he also tucked up nicely after each assault and took very little in return. Concepcion did land some nice shots on the inside but he was made to pay a heavy price for the privilege and struggled to find any sort of consistency.

Nothing changed as the bout wore on, and the most impressive part of Concepcion’s effort was his ability to absorb clean shots and keep on trucking. Yafai’s left hook, in particular, worked wonders and the younger man’s superior craft and youth trumped the Panamanian’s experience and grit down the stretch.

Yafai (21-0, 14 knockouts) proved himself a superb talent on the biggest night of his career to date.



In what evolved into as good a British title fight as you could ever hope to see, popular Londoner Frank Buglioni pulled off a spectacular 12th-round stoppage of British light heavyweight champion Hosea Burton. A battered and bloodied Buglioni rallied late to score three knockdowns; two in the 11th and then another courtesy of a fight ending series of rights during a dramatic final frame. This was fight of the night and, if both men can stand it, a rematch will be eagerly anticipated. The official time was 1:56.

World-ranked super middleweight Callum Smith scored a devastating 10th-round knockout of countryman Luke Blackledge to retain his British super middleweight title. Smith was in control throughout, decked Blackledge with a right in the third and closed out with a terminal left hook in Round 10. Oxygen was administered to Blackledge immediately and, thankfully, he was able to leave the ring under his own steam.

Cuban heavyweight contender Luis Ortiz took longer than expected to dispatch snow-white underdog Dave Allen, who finally succumbed to a steady stream of punishment in the seventh round of a scheduled eight. The plucky Englishman, who couldn’t come close to matching Ortiz in terms of skills or pedigree, put up a game effort and landed the odd right hand but he was way out of his depth against the former amateur star.



Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing