Kal Yafai is keeping his feet firmly on the ground following his explosive second-round stoppage of Scott Gladwin on Betfair’s ‘This Is It’ bill on Saturday.
The 23 year old Beijing Olympian wowed boxing fans across the country with his performance, which was shown live on Sky Sports. He knocked his opponent down three times in the first round before the referee intervened when Gladwin hit the canvas for a fourth time in the second round.
Yafai has now won four in four and is set to step up to eight rounds on Carl Froch’s Betfair ‘True Brit’ undercard in Nottingham next month.
“I work really hard,” he said. “I think a lot of people know I am a hard-working fighter. I get on with the training and if I feel that it was an easy session I do what I can to make it harder.
“The biggest thing for me at the moment is to stay grounded. Everybody that knows me well knows that I will always be grounded. I could win six world titles at six different weights and I would still be grounded because that is the way I have been brought up.
“I am taking baby steps, crawling at the moment. In the next few fights I have to start to walk and next year hopefully I can learn to run.
“The manner of the victory gives me confidence because Gladwin had come in to win, he was 5-1, so it created openings for me and I showed that I have been working hard and that paid off nicely. I still have some little things that I have been working on because I am still a novice.
“After the fight you could tell people felt they had seen a really good fighter. People probably see a six-rounder on the card and expect it to be an easy fight I was glad to put on a good show.”
Yafai’s promoter Eddie Hearn added: “That was Kal’s first real step up and he breezed through in some style. You can’t help but get excited when a talent like Kal comes along but I’ve told him to keep his feet on the ground and keep working hard which I know he will do. That’s four fights in four months and he has two more before the year is out.”
Yafai features on the final Matchroom Sport bill of 2012, Betfair’s Christmas Cracker – as Lee Purdy faces Carson Jones in a fiery international welterweight clash, Darren Barker faces fellow former European middleweight champ Kerry Hope and Gavin Rees gets a top opponent to be named later this week.
English light middleweight champion Erick Ochieng will be stepped up a level by Hearn on the bill, while John Ryder fights for his first professional title as he meets English middleweight champion Kreshnik Qato.
There’s a tasty rematch on the bill as Chris Evangelou gets the chance for revenge against Danny Connor, who won the vacant Southern Area light welterweight title at Alexandra Palace in September in a tight classic. A number of Matchroom Sport’s young guns continue their pro education on the card, with former Team GB stars Scotty Cardle and Martin J. Ward plus unbeaten cruiserweight Wadi Camacho among those set for action.
Tickets for Betfair’s Christmas Cracker are on sale now priced £40 unreserved, £60 corner ringside, £80 ringside and £150 VIP. Tickets are available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com