Khalid Yafai stops David Carmona in seven, retains WBA 115-pound title
FRESNO, California – Khalid Yafai dropped David Carmona three times en route to a seventh-round knockout victory on Saturday, successfully defending his WBA junior bantamweight title.
Carmona was not eligible to fight for the WBA title after weighing 118.6 pounds at Friday’s weigh-in, 3.6 pounds above the junior bantamweight limit.
Yafai (24-0, 15 knockouts), who is ranked No. 3 by THE RING, was making the third defense of his title belt but had to overcome a more difficult-than-expected challenge from Carmona, who was fighting for the second time for a world title belt. Carmona lost by unanimous decision to then-WBO junior bantamweight titleholder Naoya Inoue in May 2016.
Midway through the opening round, Yafai dropped Carmona with a left hook to the temple. As Yafai was looking to finish Carmona off, Yafai was staggered by a counter right hand to the head, forcing the Birmingham, England fighter to hold on.
Yafai began to find a rhythm during the following round, initiating exchanges and landing lead straight right hands or left hooks to the head of Carmona.
Yafai scored a knockdown early in Round 4 off a body shot. Carmona took a knee, but shook his head while receiving a standing eight-count from referee Raul Caiz, Sr., believing the punch landed below the belt.
With about 40 seconds left in Round 5, Yafai dropped Carmona with a three-punch combination. Carmona was not visibly hurt, as he looked like he lost his balance. Yafai was deducted a point later in the round for hitting Carmona to the head while Carmona took a knee.
By Round 6, Carmona looked tired as he breathed heavily and his punch output dropped significantly. Yafai was content to box from the outside, but did mix more of his attack to the body.
After Round 7, Carmona’s corner told referee Caiz to stop the fight, saving their fighter from taking further punishment.
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (Calif.) Star newspaper, Boxingscene.com, and FightNight.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at FSalazarBoxing