Tokyo 2020: Fighting with brothers at home set me up for Olympic gold, says boxer Galal Yafai

'If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be boxing,' Galal Yafai tells ITV News

Gold medal winning boxer Galal Yafai has revealed that fighting with his brothers when he was a child helped turn him into an Olympic champion.

The 28-year-old bagged Team GB's 19th gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics as he claimed the flyweight title following a split decision win over Carlo Paalam of the Philippines.

"If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be boxing," Yafai told ITV News of his two older brothers.

"They walked into the gym and I followed a few years later.

"Punching each other in the sitting room, my mum pulling her hair out, going crazy when I'm crying back to her - it all put me in good stead for this position I'm in now and I can only thank them."

Gafai floored his opponent before winning the fight through split decision. Credit: AP

Yafai's win concluded a stunning run of form for the Birmingham boxer, who was competing in his second Olympics having lost his second bout at Rio 2016.

The 28-year-old floored his opponent in the opening round with a straight left and edged a high-octane contest to secure the verdict.

All five of the judges gave Paalam the last round of the contest but Yafai had built up enough of a lead to secure the win on four of the five judges' cards.

However, the Yafai brothers' living room scraps weren't the average fights between siblings, with all three claiming major boxing titles.

Older brother Kal controversially missed out on a place in the boxing squad for London 2012 after boxing for Team GB in Beijing in 2008, and held the WBA super-flyweight title from 2016 to 2020.

While middle brother Gamal held the European super-bantamweight title between 2020 and May 2021, and previously held the Commonwealth super-bantamweight title in 2016. As an amateur he won a bronze medal at the 2010 European Championships.“Whenever I do anything good it impacts on my brothers. So if I’m Olympic champion it’s great for them. And when Kal and Gamal do well, it looks great on me as well. We’re a close-knit family and we will celebrate together.”

Immediately after Galal won gold, Kal and Gamal posted their congratulations on social media.

Kal, who himself competed for Team GB at the 2008 Olympics, tweeted: “Alhumdililah!!! My brother @galalyafai Olympic champion!!! I’m lost for words!!! Olympic champion!!!! Olympic champion!!!!”

Meanwhile, Gamal posted on Facebook: “My lil brothers Olympic champion @galalyafai yesssssssss.”