By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
HOT prospect Kal Yafai is a man in a hurry as he bids to become Britain’s best bantamweight.
Yafai has seven straight wins as a pro and Birmingham’s rising star is aiming to land the British title within the next 12 months.
His latest win came when Mexican opponent Gonzalo Garcia failed to come out for the fifth round last week and he is now being lined up for a busy year.
He has already been pencilled in for a possible appearance at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on March 30 and could also figure on the undercard of the Carl Froch-Mikkel Kessler clash in London on May 25.
The 23-year-old said: “I’m up there with the best in the country and I’m sure the best bantamweights know that and are keeping an eye on me.
“Maybe, in my last fight, they saw that they could catch me and maybe expose something – but that’s not going to happen.
“Whatever my promoter Eddie Hearn throws at me I’ll take it. Being active is very important and hopefully the title fights will come.
“I just need to take my time a bit more, work off my jab and tighten up my defence – but that’ll come.”
Yafai joined the paid ranks last July after a stellar amateur career laden with titles and an appearance in the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Now, with six stoppage wins in his first seven pro fights, he is being tipped for the top.
Yafai admits he’s taken himself by surprise by how quickly he has become established in the pro ranks.
He said: “I knew my first year would be successful but not as successful as it was.
“I have shown people a lot of skill and power.”
Hearn has promised to make him a star and turn his talent into titles.
Yafai added: “I just do what I am doing and what I am told to do. In 12 months I see myself being a British champ, maybe even European. This year is very important.
“Last year was my first six months and was my learning curve.
“I think this year we’ll be looking at titles, collecting titles, keeping them and finding my way.
“Hopefully, I will be looking at world honours to follow in 2014. I have to keep my head down and keep training hard.”