By Thomas Lyons
WBA Super-Flyweight champion Kal Yafai (23-0, 14KOs) makes his debut on US soil, aiming to send out a strong message to the rest of the 115lb division with a tough test in former three-time world title challenger David Carmona (21-5-5) at the Selland Arena in California on May 26.
With the US stage set for Yafai, who has been searching for that standout name in what is considered one of the most stacked divisions in world boxing at the moment, the 28-year old has the chance to set himself up for a unification with IBF champion Jerwin Ancajas (29-1-1) who fights on the card against mandatory challenger and fellow Phillippine fighter Jonas Sultan (14-3), live on Sky Sports and aired on ESPN in America.
With some stellar Super-Fly cards seen in recent months, this is the perfect opportunity for Yafai to showcase his skills to a much bigger audience than simply headlining arenas in his hometown, Birmingham, or being added to big PPV shows in the UK. Yafai is one of three successful boxing brothers and with his sights on reigning supremely at the top of the superfly weight division, he’ll be looking to prove himself as one of the best out there.
Since winning the title back in December 2016, defeating Luis Concepcion on the undercard of Joshua-Molina, it’s been defence after defence for Yafai, who’s been forced to box off his mandatories with marquee fights failing to materialise for one reason or another. Instead, Yafai has given two tough tests against Suguru Muranaka and Sho Ishida, who was unbeaten at the time. Defending his crown successfully, Yafai came through both encounters with the victory and with an urgency to stay active and chase bigger fights.
However, with his profile bound to grow across the pond, fights with the pound for pound kings such as Naoya Inoue, Roman Gonzalez, Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and Ancajas are all possibilities later on in the year, provided he comes through Cartona and looks impressive on the night. Anticipating a big 2018, Yafai will be looking to make the other champions aware of his presence and the artillery he possesses himself.