What happens when your brother is no well… Well if you are one of the Yafai brothers then you offer to jump in the ring on his behalf.
Brothers and siblings are all the rage at present in British boxing as we have the McDonnell brothers and the Smith brothers and the aforementioned Yafai brothers too. When you talk to champions and their mentality they talk at great length of how being in a gym with other champions – at your level and above and below – makes for better progress and increases your prospects; think how adding sibling rivalry adds to it.
For the three families aforementioned they have the type of brotherly harmony that the band Oasis would have cherished – if they had known what it had felt like for Liam and Noel – and any rivalry comes only with the hope that their brother gets in the ring and delivers.
If having your brother in the corner can be a support think if it is your uncle like Peter Fury or father like Floyd Mayweather Sr or Enzo Calzaghe. Boxing is clearly a family based sport with those nearest and dearest also those closest and most supportive. It’s a sport that requires your family to be in the place where they can take that sacrifice and see you being damaged and hope you come out of it OK.
Nick Blackwell’s brother, Dan continued to scrap after seeing his brother come through a coma and is continuing to put food on the table. He had claimed that he too, in solidarity with his brother, would retire but clearly he had a need to continue to work; I am sure that Nick will be willing his brother on. There is little doubt that once you have fund your vocation it is best to stick to it.
As for the Yafais, it was super bantamweight Gamal who suffered a bad ankle ligament injury which saw him withdraw from his Commonwealth title defence against Sean Davis on Saturday the 22nd October. Unbeaten brother and super flyweight Kal has taken up the family honour against an unnamed opponent over 8 rounds. The final brother, young Galal was one of our boxers at Rio 2016. Of all of them Galal would probably have been the one who benefited most from tea and sympathy after Rio. He had been tipped as a medal winner by some but like the majority of the team returned with nothing but some great memories.
But why would a brother jump in the ring to fight against someone he doesn’t know for a bill that didn’t even think to put him on it?
Simply put and despite it being on Sky Sports the tickets that had been sold by the brothers need, in their mind, to be honoured. And so those who have loyally followed their progress get to see someone with their name attached honour that purchase.
Some, of course, see it as a massive risk as he puts his 0 on the line but one thing about brotherly love in this business is that he faces whoever is in the other corner with people in his corner backing him all the way. I truly expect a Yafai arm in the air in Birmingham on Saturday.