By Alistair Hendrie
After a successful 2012 with six straight wins since turning pro, Kal Yafai is eager for more and has set his sights on the coveted British bantamweight title held by Jamie McDonnell.
Yafai is due to fight on Matchroom’s Prizefighter bill on January 19th and although he is yet to announce his opponent, the Birmingham native has big plans for 2013.
“The plan is to be British champion by May or June,” said Yafai. “I had six fights in six months last year so I certainly want to stay just as active. The problem is at title level, when you’re fighting 10 or 12 rounds, you can’t fight every few weeks, but I’m still looking to have around six fights this year.”
Yafai burst onto the pro scene with a knockout victory over Delroy Spencer in July. He has since developed a reputation as a fearsome puncher, most evident in his third round dispatching of Scott Gladwin.
With five knockouts already on his resume and a menacing array of body attacks, perhaps it’s no surprise that there’s no queue of contenders waiting to face Yafai.
“The problem is nobody wants to fight on eight or nine days notice,” said Yafai. “Especially after Christmas it’s hard to find people who can make the weight.
“I walk around only three pounds over the championship weight of 8 st 6 lbs, so it’s never a problem for me. There’s no use in me fighting a blown-up flyweight or a super-flyweight. I need rounds under my belt.
“I always say no fighter is ever the finished article and even the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward can still improve, they know that themselves.”
Yafai’s steady introduction into the professional ranks is a credit to the support and guidance of Matchroom and promoter Eddie Hearn.
Renowned for keeping his fighters active, Hearn has hailed Yafai as a future world champion and it seems Yafai is reaping the benefits of such a healthy partnership.
“Matchroom are brilliant, they’re absolutely tremendous with us,” said Yafai. “Their support makes a real difference and they’re always willing to help us with anything whether it’s kit, medical check-ups or tickets.”
Yafai joked, “Eddie calls me all the time just to see what I’m doing! He called me twice in about ten minutes the other day and I said: “You again? What do you want now?” But the main thing is Eddie is a friend as well as a promoter and that’s important.”