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Olympics: Galal Yafai wins Britain's first Tokyo boxing gold

The athlete of Yemeni origin beat his opponent with a 4-1 split decision victory to become an Olympic champion
Britain's Galal Yafai celebrates on the podium after winning the men's flyweight boxing final, 7 August 2021 (AFP/ Luis Robayo)

Galal Yafai, a 28-year-old boxer of Yemeni origin, won in the men's flyweight final at the Tokyo Olympics on Saturday, making him Britain’s first Olympic boxing champion at the Tokyo Games.

The athlete beat Carlo Palaam of the Philippines in the Kokugikan Arena in Tokyo with a 4-1 split decision victory.

Yafai, who was born and raised in the English city of Birmingham, is the first British flyweight to have the opportunity to fight for the gold medal since Terry Spinks in the 1956 Melbourne games.

His dazzling win has secured Britain’s 19th gold medal of the games. Britain has won 61 medals overall in Tokyo. 

Yafai’s gold is also the 19th won by British boxers in Olympic history.

"Imagine being the Olympic champion. It's something that I've dreamed of and I could never see happening. It just goes to show if you put in hard work then you reap the rewards," the athlete told BBC Sport.

"I'm Olympic champion and I'm over the moon.”

Coming from a boxing family, Galal is no stranger to the sport. Both his brothers, Kal and Gamal, are also decorated boxers.  

Kal, 32, held the WBA super-flyweight title from 2016 to 2020. Meanwhile, Gamal, 30, won a European bronze medal in 2010 and has held Commonwealth and European super-bantamweight titles.

In 2017, Galal won a silver medal at the European Championships and a gold at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. He then went on to win the bronze at the 2019 European Games.

Both siblings took to Twitter to express their pride in their younger brother.

The admiration is certainly mutual. When asked about his brothers, Galal told BBC Sport, "if it was not for Kal and Gamal I wouldn't have started boxing."

"They've been there for me and if it wasn't for them I wouldn't be here," he said.