By Elliot Foster
Gavin McDonnell continued his rise back to world level with a win over Gamal Yafai.
The former WBC super-bantamweight world title challenger handed a first defeat to the younger brother of WBA super-flyweight world champion Kal Yafai at the FlyDSA Arena.
McDonnell (19-1-2, 5 KOs), with the points victory, picked up Yafai’s WBC International title at 122 pounds after a compact, cool display which saw him take the decision by margins of 116-112, 116-112 and 117-113, exclusively live on Sky Sports.
The fight, which was the chief support to Kell Brook’s return against Sergey Rabchenko in Sheffield, was close through the first six rounds, but McDonnell produced the flashier work against the fatigued younger man in Yafai as the fight progressed and will now be looking to fight for titles as a former British, Commonwealth and European champion.
For Yafai (14-1, 7 KOs), it will be a steep learning curve and he will have to go back to the gym under Max McCracken, get back to the drawing board and come again after a courageous display which saw him fall short.
Also on the card, Lenroy Thomas kept hold of his Commonwealth heavyweight title via technical decision in their rematch.
It came after David Allen suffered a bad cut over the right eye after a clash of heads in the opening round.
But the fight was halted early by referee Michael Alexander in the final minute of the first round as Thomas went to throw a hook to the body.
Kid Galahad dominated against Irving Berry in a scheduled 10-round contest on the card.
However, it didn’t last that long as the Ingle Gym man, who was placed on the card as a favour to main event fighter Kell Brook, ousted the senses of his foe in the final minute of the third round.
Galahad, 28, unleashed a big left hand which forced Berry, from Panama, to the seat of his pants and saw Steve Gray, the referee, call a halt to the contest immediately.