By Shaun Brown
British super flyweight champion Kal Yafai (17-0, 11 KOs) looks set to face Commonwealth champion Anthony Nelson on March 5 in Birmingham (11-0, 2 KOs).
Nelson, from South Shields, won the vacant Commonwealth strap back in April against Scotland’s Jamie Wilson. An entertaining affair in Newcastle that was halted at the halfway stage when Wilson had to retire in the sixth round.
Yafai emerged from 2015 with four wins in a row including his victory over Jason Cunningham (UD 12) in October to claim the vacant 115lb Lonsdale title.
The 26-year-old, ranked 9 by the IBF had tried to get a fight with their former world bantamweight champion Paul Butler, who has since returned to super fly, but nothing materialised. And while happy with the Nelson fight, the Birmingham boxer wants a significant step up in class afterwards.
“The problem I’ve got at the moment is there’s no other domestic fights for me,” Yafai told Boxing Scene.
“We tried to make the Butler fight but that didn’t come through. Obviously [Jamie] Conlan wants to fight Butler so they’re not interested either. The next one in line was Anthony Nelson who’s Commonwealth champion. Eddie came back to me last week and told me ‘Looks like you’ll be fighting Anthony Nelson March 5 in Birmingham’.
“My reply to him was ‘After that I want a big fight’. Like a big step up, a big name.”
Yafai, a 2008 Olympian, was due to face Rey Megrino in May for the WBC Silver flyweight title but had to withdraw from the contest due to a hand injury. A win prior to that against Cristofer Rosales, followed by first round KO’s against Isaac Quaye and Aron Juarez then led Yafai to his first British title fight.
“It was good to end the year on a high winning the British title,” he said.
“To be fair I knew I was going to win the fight,” he continued “and I knew I’d win it comfortably.”
“I did expect to knock Cunningham out and get him out of there but I was happy with getting 12 rounds under my belt and being so dominant all the way through and not slowing down.
“Without being disrespectful [to Cunningham] he was being negative and in there to survive rather than win. I learned a lot from that fight. When I watch it back now there’s things I could’ve done better and that’s what I’m working on in the gym.”
Kal’s younger brother Gamal, who campaigns at super bantamweight, is also expected to be fighting on the same show in a 12-round title contest.
Shaun Brown is Boxing Scene's UK News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0 Contact him at [email protected]