By Alistair Hendrie
Despite building an impressive 7-0 record while campaigning at bantamweight, Kal Yafai has decided to scale down a division to super-flyweight.
And the 23-year-old, due to appear on Matchroom’s bumper March 30 card in Liverpool, has already taken aim at British super-flyweight champion Paul Butler.
“He’s got the title so why not make the fight,” said a confident Yafai. “I fought him once in the amateurs and I beat him by about 20 points so I’m not worried. The amateurs is slightly different though because you’re mainly looking to score points and box and move.
“It’s all business but I get on well with Butler, I used to travel a lot with him during my amateur career and he’s a nice kid.”
Yafai has already beaten the likes of Jorge Perez and Scott Gladwin at his previous weight, but regardless of his pedigree and form, he insisted moving weights was a simple decision.
“Coming down to super-flyweight is no problem for me. When I was at bantamweight, I used to come in slightly over championship weight [8st 6] and even then I didn’t have to diet much and could train up until a few days before the fight.
“We’re going to try it for a few fights, see how it goes, and if I feel good I’ll stay there for a while. I’m looking to clear out the division and there are a lot of opportunities at super-flyweight.”
Perhaps a change was needed after January’s lacklustre win over Gonzalo Garcia, an ill-spirited Mexican who quit on his stool before round five.
Yafai admitted his preparations were thrown into havoc when a hand injury prevented him from sparring.
“I’ve looked back at the Garcia fight and I’ve learned a lot of lessons,” Yafai explained. “My hand is a lot better and I’ve had some really heavy sparring this time, a good seven weeks or so.
“Sparring is so important because it’s the closest thing to a fight where you can try out combinations you’ve practiced. It improves your timing so much too.”
Indeed, Yafai hopes to stay active in 2013 after a three month lay-off, and has targeted a few more glamorous undercard slots.
“I’d love to be on the Carl Froch-Mikkel Kessler undercard” he said. “When you see how quickly the tickets have sold, you know it’s going to be a huge event. I think if anything, Carl has got better since their first fight.
“He’s never in a dull fight and the same goes for Kessler, and especially as there’s two titles on the line, it could be even better than the first fight.”