Galal Yafai “expects” to fight Sunny Edwards next – if Edwards defeats Mexico’s Adrien Curiel on Saturday evening.

Edwards, 28, returns from the first defeat of his career – by Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez for the IBF and WBO flyweight titles – tonight when he fights Curiel at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on the undercard of Rodriguez’s WBC super-flyweight title fight with Juan Francisco Estrada. 

The 31-year-old Yafai was on the undercard of Rodriguez-Edwards that evening in December, and as Edwards’ leading domestic rival was being spoken about as a likely future opponent.

That they are both promoted by Matchroom and that his trainer Rob McCracken is so influential with Eddie Hearn’s organisation means that a fight between them can be made with relative ease. In the event of Edwards defeating Curiel, 25, and with him having already revealed he has agreed terms, Yafai also expects talks to intensify in the coming days.

“I’m expecting to fight him next,” he said. “I’m thinking, ‘Yeah, we’re fighting next’, and if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. I’ll move on. If it does, then I’m [already] expecting it. We’ll see what happens – we’ll see how he gets on.

“We’re trying to make that fight next. It all depends on how he gets on. We’re trying to sort it out, but it’s nothing set in stone. We’re seeing how much they’re going to offer. The way he’s talking, he’s already got his offer.

“He would have had a three-fight deal, or whatever, so they would have said you’re getting X amount, but mine was a three-year contract, so it’s a fight-by-fight deal. ‘You’re gonna fight this person; this person.’ We still haven’t sorted that out yet, but we’ve had a few words with [Matchroom chief executive] Frank Smith and the team, so we’re just going through it.

“I don’t want to make it too much about money, but the only thing I want to know is how much I’m getting paid for it. It’s either gonna be Birmingham or Sheffield, in my opinion, but I’ll know more next week. It doesn’t really matter where it is – I just wanna know how much I’m getting paid.

“If I knew it was for a world title I wouldn’t be so into how much money I’m getting, because the world title’s on the table. But [if it isn’t], the only thing I’m going to be benefitting from fighting Sunny Edwards is a little bit more respect – he’s a bigger name – and the money. That’s it.

“We’ve had history in the amateurs, and the Yafai and Edwards names are both British. We get along, to be fair – we don’t hate each other. I know people would rather that, but it’s not the case. We’ve sparred as well. 

“At this point it should be [my toughest fight], but you just never know. I won’t know until after the fight – if we do fight.

“We’ve done loads of rounds, and Rob’s a proper boxing historian. He’ll know if I’m gonna struggle here or there, or if someone has a punch I wanna stay away from. He’s confident, but [Grant Smith, Edwards’] trainer is going to be confident. That’s the beauty of boxing.”

Yafai was on broadcasting duty from ringside for Rodriguez-Edwards in the hours after he outpointed Rocco Santomauro in his sixth professional fight, and for all that he saw Edwards lose a “one-sided” contest in Glendale, Arizona, he expects him to record victory on Saturday night.

“He’ll be too sharp for the guy he’s fighting,” Yafai said. “He’s not really a puncher. I know he knocked out [Sivenathi] Nontshinga in a round, but he’s had five knockouts in 20 wins or something like that, so he’s not really a puncher. He’s got to be careful of course, like with any former world champion, but I’d say Sunny Edwards, points win.

“People are saying [Rodriguez-Edwards] was a good fight, and Sunny done well, but he done well to not lay down. In my eyes it was a one-sided fight. I don’t know what everyone else saw, no disrespect to Sunny, because I won’t talk shit behind his back and see him and be nice to his face. I’m the same to his face. It was a hard fight for him, but ‘Bam’ would do that to quite a few fighters. But I still think Sunny’s a good fighter. Good luck to him.”