Yafai promises to shine
Gamal Yafai (8-0, 3KOs) has told Boxing Monthly that fans will finally see the very best of him this Saturday night at the Genting Arena, Birmingham.
The 24-year-old brother to boxing siblings Kal and Gal hopes to deliver on the early promise he showed when making his professional debut nearly two years ago.
That May evening in Leeds a fired up and caged Yafai, nicknamed ‘The Beast’, went to town on the unfortunate Ricky Leach who had no answer to the heavy-handed bombardment that ended the contest midway through the opening round. A performance that had his promoter Eddie Hearn booming with enthusiasm.
Seven fights later, with the unwanted disruption of an injury to his left hand, Yafai has only stopped two more opponents (Jack Heath and Krzysztof Rogowski), but has had the benefit of going the distance over eight and 10 professional rounds.
Birmingham’s Yafai aims to put everything together into one winning package when he challenges Bobby Jenkinson (9-1-1, 2KOs) for his Commonwealth super-bantamweight title this weekend, live on Sky Sports.
“Everyone will see a different fighter,” predicted Yafai. “The better they are, the better I will be. That’s the way it’s always been, even as an amateur. Most of my losses as an amateur were to kids I should have been beating. The kids that I was beating as an amateur had a lot of experience and I shouldn’t really be beating but I did. Hopefully, it’s the same thing as a pro and I can get this Commonwealth title, defend it a few times and go for the British and so on.”
Lincoln’s Jenkinson, easily Yafai’s toughest test to date, will be aiming to make sure that does not happen in what will be his first title defence. The 24-year-old’s title win over Lewis Pettitt last September was, to many, one of the domestic surprises of the year and a candidate for British fight of 2015. In a see-saw contest, Jenkinson’s fitness and refusal to back down saw him stop the favourite in the penultimate round.
“I watched the fight, I wasn’t really bothered,” commented Yafai. “They’re both decent fighters but I think they’re really small super-bantams. Lewis Pettitt is about five foot five, five foot four… it’s different when you’re in there, don’t get me wrong, but there’s nothing I can see where they can beat me.
“I know what I’ve shown in my last few fights and a lot of them probably look and say there’s many things they can beat me with. It’s totally different when you get in there. I know I’ve got a good six tenths still left in me that no-one’s seen.”
Yafai believes that with his hand problems behind him he will be able to call on his punching power in the fight against Jenkinson, a fight that he told BM will show he is better than the champion in every department.
“It’s a good fight for me. It will get the best out of me. I’m not one of those type of lads that rave on about myself but I know that in every department I’m better than him,” he said. “A lot of people haven’t seen it yet but I know I’m better than him. The only way he can beat me is trying to outwork me. I know he’s a fit lad and he’ll come non-stop for 12 rounds but I’m going to be fit, I’m going to be super fit.
"I can’t see how he’ll beat me.”