October 17, 2015
October 17, 2015
Kal Yafai

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What do you think of Jason Cunningham as an opponent?

He’s a good opponent. He’s a tall southpaw so he’s going to give me a bit to think about. I’m just thinking I’m moving into the phase of my career where I need a big performance and I think that will come… The kind of performance where people open their eyes and think this kid is good. He’s the real deal.

It’s time for me now to prove that.

How have you been preparing?

I’ve had some quality sparring. I boxed in Leeds against another tall kid [Aron Juarez] even though he wasn’t very good. It was a warm-up against a tall opponent. I’ve been sparring feathweights, tall southpaws. It’s never an issue because I’ve boxed a lot fighters in my career, especially as an amateur. You know what it’s like in the amateurs, most of them are southpaws.

It’s a good step-up. He’s Commonwealth champion at the weight above. He’s lost a couple of fights but it’s not like he’s been knocked out or rolled over.

He lost to Jason Booth who’s a very old man in boxing, he’s been around for years and he got beat by Ross Burkinshaw who took the fight on four days’ notice.

We’ll see how he’s doing the weight, because he boxed at bantamweight and he was a big bantamweight, he was a tall bantamweight. Some people say he’s got size advantage over me. I don’t think it’s a size advantage, he’s got height advantage and that’s about it. He isn’t bigger than me width-wise and he isn’t bigger than me in the power department, I don’t think, either.

I expect him to try to outbox me early on. But I think he’s in for quite a shock. I think he’ll be surprised at how good my boxing skills are. I think he’s going to struggle to outbox me as well as outfight me.

I’ve trained like an animal for this fight. I’ve trained like it’s a world title fight. I’ve taken him very seriously. I’m in the best shape of my pro career to date. I’m ready to go.

How much would it mean to you to win the British title?

It’s massive. I wanted to win it a long time ago but it’s been hard to get hold of. It’s another boost for me. Obviously I want to win world titles and things like but it’s another step up. I won the Commonwealth title last year and now I’m fighting for the British. It’s something that I’ve always wanted to win. And something that I will win.

This is the one I need to win and I need to look good doing it.

Will it be satisfying to beat [his former GB team-mates] Anthony Joshua and Luke Campbell to the British title?

Yeah of course, it’ll be nice to win it, then I can show them it! Obviously Joshua’s going to do the business on December 12 and win his as well. I’ll just beat him to it. I’d much rather beat him to a world title though.