Sunday, March 26, 2023  |


Kal Yafai-Suguru Muranaka set for May 13

WBA junior bantamweight titleholder Kal Yafai. Photo: Alan Walter

British star Kal Yafai will make the maiden defense his WBA junior bantamweight title against Suguru Muranaka at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, England, on May 13.

Yafai, who is rated No. 6 by THE RING at 115 pounds, became Birmingham’s first world titleholder when he claimed the vacant belt by dominating Luis Concepcion en route to a 12-round unanimous decision.

Muranaka (25-2-1, 8 knockouts) is a 32-year-old former Japanese flyweight champion. He will be boxing outside of Tokyo for the first time in his 13-year career.

“It’s a tough first defense and that’s what I need,” said Yafai (21-0, 14 KOs). “I want hard fights that are going to help me when I face unification fights.

“This is what I started boxing for. I wanted massive nights in Birmingham. It’s been amazing since winning the title. Every time I’m walking around the city I get stopped for photos and for autographs. But I know that it’s harder to keep a title than it is to win it, so the real work is only just beginning.”

The chief supporting bout will feature Sam Eggington, who challenges Cerefino Rodriguez for the European welterweight title. Eggington is full of confidence, having stopped former two-weight world titleholder Paulie Malignaggi earlier this month.

“I have real hunger back after losing to Bradley Skeete and this is massive for me as I never thought I’d reach this level,” said Eggington.

“I had to learn a lot after Skeete. I have grown up and come back strong with wins over Frankie (Gavin) and Paulie. If I can add a win over Rodriguez to those two names and then defend the title, people will start talking about world titles. I think that I’ve earned the right to be in the conversation for them.”

Information courtesy of a press release issued by Matchroom Boxing.

Tickets are priced £40, £60 and £100 with VIP tickets priced £200. Tickets are on sale now to Matchroom Fight Pass members at Stubhub. Tickets go on general sale at midday on Thursday March 16 from the Barclaycard Arena with tickets priced at £40, £60 and £100. VIP tickets priced at £200 are exclusively available from Matchroom Boxing.






Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for and a member of THE RING ratings panel.  Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing

Struggling to locate a copy of RING magazine? Try here or…


You can subscribe to the print and digital editions of RING magazine by clicking the banner or here. You can also order the current issue, which is on newsstands, or back issues from our subscribe page. On the cover this month: THE RING reveals The Greatest Heavyweight of All Time.