Former world champion Kal Yafai’s return after a two-and-a-half-year hiatus almost ended in disaster, as he survived a heavy knockdown courtesy of Jerald Paclar in round one to come back and pick up a victory.
Yafai was returning for his first bout since February 2020 but wasn’t expecting to come unstuck against Paclar, however, the Filipino was on the cusp of a huge upset. Paclar would stretch a lead early, as he would land a thunderous right hand to send the Brit to the canvas in the first.
💥 A huge 1st round KNOCK DOWN#BivolZurdo #BivolRamirez #Boxing pic.twitter.com/iP1KtbHfPj
— IntuBoxing (@IntuBoxing) November 5, 2022
Yafai survived the round but was clearly hurt. Paclar continued his fine start through round two, as his right hooks continued to find a home on Yafai’s chin. The Birmingham man would slowly begin to claw his way back into the fight through the next couple of rounds, working landing clean body shots, slowing Paclar down.
However, as Paclar began to slow, the Brit would halt his own momentum as he landed a clear low blow, giving Paclar extended time to recover. Paclar would rekindle some of his early success, as he benefitted from his recovery time, but could not make an impact quite like he did in the first round.
Yafai would come on strong in the second half of the fight and start picking off the rounds. Paclar was still landing notable shots, but the Brit would have a reply for all of them, giving himself an edge in the later rounds, as his work to the body was having a clear effect on Paclar.
Yafai finished the ninth round with a sweet left hook that partially stopped Paclar in his tracks. Yafai would then finish the final round strong as he managed to complete the turnaround of the fight. The scorecards read 96-93×2 and 95-94 in favour of the Birmingham man, as he looks to move back into world title contention soon.