Gavin McDonnell retains British super bantamweight title after draw with Josh Wale
Gavin McDonnell held on to his British super bantamweight title following a split decision draw against Josh Wale.
Last Updated: 21/05/14 10:57pm
McDonnell had edged a close decision when the pair met last September and, in his first defence since claiming the title, was again taken the distance by his Yorkshire rival.
It was a relentless, brutal contest with Wale continuously marching forward and appearing to have the greater success in the earlier rounds.
Both men marked up badly as the action continued apace into the later stages, each man responding when the other looked to be getting on top.
But McDonnell managed to find some reserves to finish the contest slightly the better of the two and his work obviously caught the eye of the judges.
In the end, one judge scored it 115-114 either way, with the third card reading 114-114 to ensure McDonnell clung on to his belt, although the champion was quick to promise his valiant opponent another shot.
"I knew it was close, I thought I won the majority of the first six and the last couple, so I thought I'd just won it, but I knew it was close," McDonnell told Sky Sports afterwards.
"I'll happily fight my next fight in a rematch, he can have it. It was a good fight, everyone enjoyed it and I have no problems doing it again."
Commonwealth title for Yafai
Kal Yafai claimed his first professional title in impressive style as he stopped Nigeria's Yaqub Kareem in three rounds to claim the Commonwealth flyweight belt.
The Birmingham-born fighter totally dominated his opponent from the off and came close to stopping his man in a one-sided first round that developed into target practice.
Kareem showed decent heart to survive that and also come through a torrid second, but he had no answer to a vicious left into the ribs from Yafai at the start of the third that saw him counted out.
A delighted Yafai told Sky Sports afterwards: "I've been waiting a long time to get back in, I've had a horrible time with injuries and stuff but I had a good long time to prepare.
"I felt razor-sharp before I got in so I knew it was going to be a good performance... and it was a good finish."
Indeed, it was a memorable night for the Yafai family as Kal's younger brother Gamal impressed as he won on his professional debut, the big-hitting bantamweight stopping an outclassed Ricky Leach in the first round.