Kal Yafai makes the first defence of his WBA super-flyweight crown this weekend at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham.
With over 6,000 fans set to be attending, the pride of Birmingham faces a tough challenge from Japanese contender Suguru Muranaka. His opponent has remained undefeated for nine years and Yafai is under no illusion of the task he awaits.
“He’s a very tough opponent who is durable and has never been stopped. He has lost on a split decision and a majority over ten years ago and he’s very aggressive. He’ll be looking to put me under some pressure but I must make sure I stay relaxed, stay composed and do what I do to win,” Yafai exclusively told World Boxing News.
The 27-year-old is headlining the show entitled ‘The Homecoming’ and expressed his anticipation of wanting to excel and entertain the fans.
“I’m in very good spirits, I’ve done everything needed to do since being back in camp. It has been twelve weeks of hard work – I’m ready to go Saturday night.”
It has been five months since Yafai emerged victorious over Luis Conception in Manchester. History was made with the Midlander becoming Birmingham’s first ever world champion.
Yafai defeated Conception on points via a unanimous decision and majorly impressed the boxing community and fans alike. The former Olympian admitted the experience was something he’ll never forget.
“It was unbelievable, a lot of emotions were felt. I’ve worked all my life for that moment to win in that fashion was beautiful. First, I must come through on Saturday night but unifying the division is definitely something I’d like to do by next year. I’ll see what happens though, see what my promoter and team have in line for me but I am very excited for the future.”
Younger brother Gamal will also be featuring in a crunch clash with fellow Midlands rival, Kal added that he gets nervous when watching his sibling in action.
“I’ll probably watch his fight on screen in the changing rooms. I’m excited about his career but I hate watching him fight.
“I don’t like it at all as he’s my brother. We have to get on with it though, that’s boxing,” he confessed.
Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95