By Alistair Hendrie
Birmingham super-flyweight Kal Yafai has revealed the extent of a “potentially career-threatening” bicep injury ahead of his October 26 return at Sheffield’s Motorpoint Arena.
The 24-year-old tore his left bicep during an eight-round decision over Michael Ramabaletsa in March, and suffered nine months on the sidelines as a consequence.
Understandably, Yafai is just happy to be fighting again. “In many cases that kind of injury is potentially career-threatening,” he said.
“I was told by the doctors that because I’m young and healthy I would be less at risk, but a lot of older fighters would have retired after similar injuries. We only had a two-week window to complete the surgery but it went smoothly and the surgeon assured me I’d be back fighting again by October – which I am.”
He continued: “It’s been frustrating to be out for so long. I’d previously had eight fights in seven months since turning pro - any boxer will tell you it’s a dream to be staying active, constantly training and always learning. I only returned to sparring a month ago but it’s been nice to switch off for a while and live more of an everyday life.”
A fearsome body puncher, Yafai has already claimed six stoppage victims in his 8-0 ledger, but admits he needs to remain calm once back in the ring.
“I’ll ease myself into fighting again,” he explained. “I’ll use my skills, pick my shots and take my time. I need the rounds after all - I can take advantage of that experience when I step up in class.
“Although I love those body shot knockouts, I always feel if the knockout doesn’t come, then so be it. I’m looking to fight on the Carl Froch-George Groves undercard on November 23 and then after that, who knows?”
In the meantime the young prospect will keep a keen eye on the World Amateur Boxing Championships in Kazakhstan, where younger brother Gamal, 22, is representing Great Britain in the bantamweight division.
“He’s concentrating solely on getting a medal,” said Yafai. “He’s talented and hits hard so whenever the time is right for him to turn pro, I’m sure he’ll do a good job. Time is on his side and I always tell him to look at the present day and not to rush into any decisions.
“Overall, I think we’ve got a great squad now. With guys like Andrew Selby, Joe Joyce and Jack Bateson, we’ve got a nice blend of youth and experience. We’re in a good place with the amateur base in Sheffield and thanks to that kind of coaching and professionalism, I’m sure we can bring a lot of medals home.”Tags: Kal Yafai