August 11, 2018
August 11, 2018
Kal Yafai

Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

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KAL YAFAI has completed three successful defences of the WBA super-flyweight title he won in 2016. But he wants a defining fight and is hoping for a collision with Nicaragua’s Roman Gonzalez.

“He’s coming back in September, I know I’m not in their plans right now. They want to get a couple of wins and then they’re happy to fight me. Hopefully he can get some good wins and then we can have a showdown, which would be great,” he told Boxing News.

He is preparing to return to America for his next fight later this year, in October or November. “I’m not in bad shape, my speed and timing and my movement’s still pretty good. I’ve had a couple of little spars and I’m better than where I’m normally at at this stage. I’m ticking over and I’ve been working on a few things and just trying to improve each time,” he said.

Yafai has been sparring with Paddy Barnes, to help prepare the Irishman for his world title challenge against WBC flyweight champion Cristopher Rosales. “I’ve known [Paddy] for quite a while, from the amateur days and things like that. And I’ve boxed Cristopher Rosales myself. That was in Sheffield, mid 2015. He was just very tough. He kept coming forward. So whatever I hit him with, he just kept coming. I did my hands in that fight. That was meant to be a warm up fight before I fought for a title in Birmingham a month later, but I did my hands in so I couldn’t fight [for a title]. He was very tough. I hit him with everything. I hit him with flush right uppercut and he kept coming forward with a mouth full of blood. That’s one thing to take from it. He weren’t the biggest puncher or anything like that but he kept coming forward,” Kal said.

Kal Yafai

He was gratified to see one of his victims go on to become a world champion. Rosales beat Daigo Higa in Japan in April to become the WBC titlist. Barnes, at Windsor Park on August 18, will be his first title defence. Yafai is backing Barnes to win it.

“I watched [Rosales] win the world title as well, I was surprised he won it. I thought he was going to get done in seven or eight rounds against the Japanese kid, Higa. He’s a big puncher but he struggles with the weight. I think with them kind of guys, because they’re huge punchers, he had an 100% knockout ratio, when he’s hitting somebody and after three or four rounds he’s hit them with everything and they’re not going away. A lot of fighters just don’t know what to do,” Yafai said. “I think that’s what happened in that fight. He hit him with everything and [Rosales] kept coming forward and he just came unstuck.”