GB flyweight Galal Yafai was dominant in his first bout at the Expo Arena in Ekaterinberg, Russia. He set about Alex Winwood as if the Australian had done something to offend him. He opened the first round slamming a hard southpaw left over and went straight after Winwood as he unleashed combinations of punches. Winwood had to retreat on to the backfoot as Yafai harried him.The Australian managed to uncork a right hook to the body but he was under pressure. A straight one-two slammed Winwood’s head back. He tried to fight back in the second round but Galal soon resumed control. He fought with tremendous energy, a right hook setting up his cross. That solid left knocked Winwood back. He continued to land with spite into the last round, a vicious right-left firing through the Australian’s defences. Winwood threw his hands just to keep Yafai off but he lost a clear unanimous decision.
To book his place in the quarter-finals Yafai scored a key win over experienced Cuban Yosvany Veitia, the reigning World champion, on Tuesday (September 17). The Birmingham man got his tactics right against fellow southpaw Veitia. Yafai moved in on his rival, looking to quickly close down the space between them. The Cuban’s footwork carried him smoothly from side to side as he let his jab catch Galal. Yafai however kept up a fearsome workrate. Shots pattered against Veitia’s guard before he brought a right hook into his body. Even when the Cuban held his ground, he still made Yafai miss plenty of punches, either taking them on his gloves or slipping clear. But Galal threw even more, breaking through notably in the last round as he connected with gusto, winning a unanimous decision and a slot among the last eight.
At 63kgs England’s Luke McCormack began his campaign with a walkover, once Italy’s Francesco Iozia was ruled out with an injury. McCormack’s first contest came against Panama’s Jonathan Miniel Murillo on Saturday (September 14). Luke worked well from range, looking to land his jab. He slung his left hook over before hitting a quality right cross in. McCormack continued to deploy his left, using the hook to counter Murillo.