Tuesday, September 26, 2023  |


Kal Yafai reviews Sor Rungvisai-Estrada, wants to face the best in 2018

Kal Yafai (right) tags Sho Ishida. Photo courtesy of Sky Sports
Fighters Network

The eyes of the boxing world will be focused on the little big men this weekend.

On Saturday, the Forum in Inglewood, California, plays host to Srisaket Sor Rungvisai versus Juan Francisco Estrada. Two of the finest pound-for-pound fighters in the sport will do battle for Sor Rungvisai’s WBC junior bantamweight title and the victor will also be crowned the inaugural RING champion at 115 pounds.

One very interested observer is unbeaten WBA titleholder Kal Yafai. The 28-year-old boxer-puncher has had his eye on Sor Rungvisai and Estrada for some time and believes the main event of Superfly 2 can’t fail to dazzle.

“It’s a fascinating fight and I can’t wait to watch it,” said Yafai in an interview with RingTV.com.

“I think Estrada will have to come through a few rocky moments, but he should win on points. I could make an argument for Sor Rungvisai, but I think Estrada can outbox him. He’s got good skills and a good right hand, which will work well against the southpaw. I just think it’s Estrada’s time and he’ll do a number on him. The biggest things Sor Rungvisai has are freakish power and pressure. I think he can be easily outboxed.”

Following his 12-round unanimous decision victory over mandatory challenger Sho Ishida in October, Yafai, who is rated No. 5 by THE RING at junior bantamweight, was approached to fight on Superfly 2. However, a series of issues delayed his first U.S. appearance as a professional.

“First, I was offered the (Naoya) Inoue fight, but my team felt the money wasn’t good enough,” said Yafai. “It wasn’t much more than what I made against Ishida. I had a talk with (promoter) Eddie (Hearn) and my team and, although I would have been happy to fight Inoue, I was advised not to take it. My team felt as a defending champion, I should be compensated for taking a very tough fight in America.

“Two weeks later I was offered two other fights on the card, but for a bit less money. That would have been a good chance to get exposure out there and make a name for myself. We thought it was a good idea, we agreed to it, but before everything was set in stone, my trainer’s visa was declined.”

Yafai (23-0, 14 knockouts) has an extremely close bond with his coach, Max McCracken, and has been with him since he was an amateur. He wasn’t going without him. The good news, however, is that preparation is under way to resolve McCracken’s visa problems, so a potential Superfly 3 appearance could beckon for the talented Birmingham man.

“I want the big fights – one-million per cent – and if I don’t get them, I don’t even want to box anymore,” said a somewhat disenchanted Yafai, who may secure a spot on the Tony Bellew-David Haye rematch undercard in May. “I need to be in these fights, and I’m sure they can happen before the end of the year.”

Tom Gray is Associate Editor for THE RING. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing


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