Kal Yafai inspired by Anthony Joshua triumph
Unbeaten junior bantamweight Kal Yafai says Anthony Joshua has set a new benchmark for British fighters to follow as he prepares to make the first defense of his WBA title against Suguru Muranaka at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night.
Yafai, who is rated No. 6 by THE RING at 115 pounds, and Joshua are close from their amateur days, and the talented boxer-puncher actually won his title (by outpointing Luis Concepcion) on the undercard of Joshua’s second-round stoppage of Eric Molina in December.
The 27-year-old Yafai was unable to attend the Joshua-Klitschko bout but the enormity of his friends 11th-round stoppage victory was not lost on him.
“I was unbelievably proud and happy for Anthony Joshua,” said Yafai. “When he got put down I was very nervous. I was praying for him to get up and recover and that’s what he did. It showed what a world champion needs to do when it gets tough in there.
“(Anthony) has completely smashed it now. The world is his oyster. I’d like to see him fight Tyson Fury but it doesn’t sound like that’s possible to happen next. If he can get a defense for one of his titles against a contender, then move onto one of the other heavyweights like (Deontay) Wilder, (that) would be great.”
Yafai continued, “I still see (Anthony) regularly. He’s a good lad; one of the nicest people in boxing. He loves his boxing so much. He just still wants to learn; he’ll get better and better as he goes on. I mean he’s still only young. He’s raised the bar now – beating Klitschko at Wembley (Stadium) is just massive, and it’s something that we’ve all got to aspire to.
“Winning the world title on his undercard was great. It took me 4-and-a-half years, going from amateur into the pro game and winning a world title. Doing it on a massive show headlined by AJ was special. We are (promoter) Eddie Hearn’s only two world champions who he’s had from their debuts.”
Also on the card, Sam Eggington challenges Cerefino Rodriguez for the European welterweight title. Yafai’s brother, Gamal, meets Sean Davis, Ryan Kelly and Adam Harper clash at middleweight, Frankie Gavin returns and there’s action for Lennox Clarke, Josh Kelly, Kieron Conway, Aaron Lovell, Jordan Clayton, Charlie Williams and Cori Gibbs.
Limited tickets are on general sale from the Barclaycard Arena with tickets priced at £40, £60 and £100 available from www.barclaycardarena.co.uk.
Face value tickets for May 13 are also be available from the Stubhub website. StubHub is the official ticket partner and marketplace of Matchroom Boxing and Anthony Joshua.
The show will be broadcast live on Sky Sports 2 in the U.K. from 7.30 p.m.
Information courtesy of a press release issued by Matchroom Boxing
Tom Gray is a UK Correspondent/ Editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing
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