High-flying bantamweight Kal Yafai meets the Spanish champion Jorge Perez at the London Olympia live on Sky Sports on Saturday (December 8) and he has fired a warning to his domestic rivals – I’m coming for you in 2013.
Yafai has raced to 5-0 in his first six months in the pro ranks and has earned rave reviews with four stoppage wins from his first five clashes, the last one coming in just 52 seconds live on Sky Sports against rated Italian Pio Nettuno on the Carl Froch vs. Yusaf Mack undercard.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has spoken of the difficulties in matching the Birmingham talent and steps him up in class again on Saturday against Perez – but Yafai is adamant he can live up to expectations.
“That is the thing; everyone is expecting me to get people out of there early now,” said Yafai. “I just get on and do what I do, think about winning round by round and if the knockout comes it comes.
“I have surprised myself a little bit. I thought it would be a lot tougher, a lot harder to adapt to the pro ranks. But I have taken to it really well and I am really enjoying it and I think that is one of the most important things because when you enjoy it you perform.
“It was an early finish in Nottingham but it was another win, another knockout and it came with a good body shot.
“I didn’t expect it to finish so early. I had watched him on YouTube and things like that and I expected it to go a bit longer than it did. It was a perfectly-placed body shot that got him out of there.
“I would like to get some more rounds in and hopefully I will get some more in on Saturday. It isn’t a big problem that I am not getting lots of rounds in because I train really hard, I spar with top-class fighters up to lightweights and light welterweights, so I am sparring big fighters, strong fighters and technically very sound fighters. Two weeks before the fight I was training Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday eight rounds each day and it has been great.”
Perez won the Spanish title in October against Ivan Pozo, who lost to Jamie McDonnell for the European title in March, and with a WBO European title loss against Ali Hallab in May also on his record from his 16 fights, the 28 year old represents another step up for Yafai.
“I said to Eddie that I will fight anybody, I think that is the way fighters are,” said Yafai. “If he gives me a name I will jump at it. If he gave me a British or European champion now I would jump at the chance. Eddie knows what he is doing with me and I leave it down to him. I just do the training and get in there and deliver the goods on the night.