by Shaun Brown
Kal Yafai has some objectives to complete during his time in America this week.
1: Defend his WBA Super Flyweight title against David Carmona on Saturday night in Fresno.
2: Look impressive on his U.S. debut and take as little damage as possible against the 27-year-old Mexican.
3: Treat himself to an In-N-Out Burger afterwards.
Yafai (23-0, 14 KOs) will be making the third defence of the vacant title he won against Panama's Luis Concepcion in December 2016. That unanimous decision verdict, followed by ones against Suguru Muranaka and Sho Ishida, both in 2017, did little to stretch the capabilities of the 28-year-old Brit. But it did give him rounds and experience that will stand him in good stead ahead of a 2018 which potentially holds at least one unification fight, against IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas, for the 2008 Olympian.
"I'm just focused on this guy [Carmona], 100%," Yafai told Boxing Scene.
"I'm not taking this guy lightly at all, not one bit. I know how this game works and. I've been told don't even think about the other guy [Ancajas]. He's got his own thing to do and I've got my own thing to do, and then that's something that can be talked about afterwards and see what can be done."
On the same Top Rank event at the Save Mart Arena Ancajas will put his 115lb world title on the line against fellow Filipino Jonas Sultan. Two semi-finals, of sorts, that look foregone conclusions on paper.
Carmona's performances have been a mixed bag of late. And whenever the Mexican has been pushed up to world level he has fallen short against the likes of Omar Narvaez, Japanese superstar Naoya Inoue and Carlos Cuadras.
Competitive against Inoue early on, hung tough with Cuadras - both decision losses - but was then stunned by last minute replacement Daniel Lozano in two rounds. For an American debut, Carmona (21-5-5, 9 KOs) might be the ideal opponent for Yafai.
"I know one thing, he's going to be tough," Yafai countered.
"You try and read different things from his fights. What you see is what you get with him. I think he'll try and box a bit, and then he'll realise he can't box with me, and we'll take it from there.
"Obviously I want to make a statement. If I said I wasn't going to try and make a statement I'd be lying. Take each round one by one and just win the rounds, and see how comfortable I am. If I can get the knockout I'll most definitely go for it."
Saturday will see Yafai make his 2018 bow. Almost halfway through the year and the champion is keen to make up for lost time. He had opportunities to fight earlier in the year, which included boxing in his home city of Birmingham, but the plan that he, his team - including promoter - Eddie Hearn - have formulated has worked out better, Yafai insists.
Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez, the WBA number one contender to Yafai have recently been linked to a fight against one another without the wheels being put into full motion for one.
From one end of the world spectrum, featuring a modern day legend in Gonzalez, to the other end where former world flyweight title challenger Charlie Edwards has tried to make enough noise to get a 'domestic dust-up' with his stablemate Yafai. Edwards did most of the talking with Yafai more or less dismissing the notion of them ever being in the same ring together.
Things have gone quiet recently, however.
"That died down because I shut it down," said Yafai.
"The only way for him to get a big fight was to call me out because 1: He's not going to fight any of the other champions because they're all going to rip him to pieces. 2: He's not going to get them anyway because if Eddie had called any of the other champions, or their promoters, or managers, and said 'Here you are, fight this kid Charlie Edwards' they're either going to say 'Who the fuck is he?' or put the phone down. No-one is going to entertain that fight."
Yafai against any of the other champions at 115lbs, or the legitimate top ten contenders, is something that the fans will definitely entertain. And it may just be that the future for Yafai lies in America, something he has no problem with, particularly if the fights are in Los Angeles.
"I've been to Los Angeles seven times. It's my second home. I'm pretty much there after every fight.
"When I am there, I'm there on holiday so I'm eating a load of shit really. It's going to be hard being there and not be able to eat shit. I'm flying my nutritionist out as well, so he knows what he's doing. I've never ate any healthy food out there."
And while Yafai has no issues with making the weight and putting his body through whatever is necessary to make super flyweight, the unbeaten champion appeared to be licking his lips at the prospect of what he will be treating himself to after his fight with Carmona.
"I can go to my favourite place and go to In-N-Out Burger.
"It's the best burger on the planet, and a lot of people will tell you that as well. They had a stand about two years ago, a one day thing, in London and the queue was over a mile long and they ran out quickly. It's that good. Google it!"