Wales On Sunday - - FRONT PAGE -

KAL Yafai suc­cess­fully de­fended his WBA su­per­fly­weight ti­tle for the sec­ond time by out­point­ing Sho Ishida to move into con­tention to fight some of the divi­sion’s big­gest names.

The 28-year-old, for­tu­nate to be fight­ing in an era in which there is an un­usu­ally high level of in­ter­est in those at 8st 3lbs, again demon­strated his po­ten­tial at world level by eas­ing to a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion vic­tory at the Prin­ci­pal­ity Sta­dium last night.

Ja­pan’s Ishida, 25 and pre­vi­ously un­de­feated, con­sis­tently fought with­out the be­lief re­quired to de­feat the am­bi­tious cham­pion, suc­cumb­ing by scores of 118-110, 116-112 and 116-112 via the three judges.

De­spite his su­pe­rior range, he was out­worked by Yafai - tar­get­ing both the head and body - from al­most the open­ing bell, and took un­til the sixth to land a punch of note when he threw a strong right hand.

Yafai re­sponded with three fine shots at the start of the sev­enth, and in the eighth landed the fight’s big­gest punch when a pow­er­ful left sent the chal­lenger back onto the ropes.

His con­stant and unan­swered ag­gres­sion en­sured he con­tin­ued to re­main in con­trol, and that only in the 12th round there was a need to re­sist any­thing be­yond sin­gle shots from the un­am­bi­tious Ishida, who ral­lied far too late.

Among his rep­utable di­vi­sional ri­vals, it is to be hoped Yafai can se­cure a uni­fi­ca­tion fight against the highly-rated WBO cham­pion Naoya Inoue, also of Ja­pan, or Nicaragua’s once-great Ro­man Gon­za­lez.

Mean­while, Ir­ish star Katie Tay­lor claimed her first world ti­tle in Cardiff just 11 months after turn­ing pro­fes­sional.

She came out on top in an en­gross­ing con­test with Ar­gen­tine Anahi Sanchez that went the dis­tance to walk away with the WBA light­weight world cham­pi­onship.

Things looked omi­nous early on as Sanchez, who was forced to va­cate her ti­tle after miss­ing her weight in the build up to the fight, dropped to her knees after a sear­ing left hook from Tay­lor ripped into the midriff.

The count went deep but Sanchez sur­vived and she be­gan to grow into the fight as an all-out tear up en­sued.

It was dan­ger­ous for Tay­lor, of whom so much is ex­pected, and she took her fair share of shots as flur­ries of punches flew.

But to the judges it went and they scored it unan­i­mously in Tay­lor’s favour.

Kal Yafai lands a right on his way to vic­tory in Cardiff last night

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