By Frank Walsh: We caught up with British prospect Kal Yafai ahead of his October 26th return.
BR : Before a lightening start to a pro career, you carved out a highly successful amateur career. European Silver in 2005. BBC 2005 Midlands Junior sportsman of the year, after becoming England’s first U17 World Champion, having won the World Cadet title. British ABA Champion, 2007 European / 2008 European Union Silver medalist, and you competed at the 2008 Olympic Games. What do you view as your greatest moment, as an amateur?
KY : Winning the World Cadets & qualifying for Beijing Olympics when I just was 18 years old.
BR : Yourself and Andrew Selby were due to face off in a three bout series, to decide who would qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games. Andrew had won the first fight of the series. You withdrew from the second bout. Can you tell us what happened?
KY: Injury. My hand was swollen badly. The weight I had gained from the day before was too much, and couldn’t get it off. So i made the decision to withdraw.
BR : You turned pro the year of the Olympics Games. Did an offer to turn pro shift your focus from Selby and the Olympics?
KY : Not at all. I was fully focused to face Selby and to progress to the Olympic Games. The best man won on the day and that was it. No excuses for losing that fight.
BR : Are you completely satisfied with your amateur career?
KY : Yes, my amateur career allowed me to travel the world. I have made some great friends and met some great people along the way. No regrets.
BR : 07/07/2012 you made your pro debut, beating Delroy Spencer. Could you describe the final moments before walking to the ring for your debut?
KY : I was so excited. I couldn’t wait to get out and perform. But I did feel naked without a vest and headguard.
BR : How did the Eddie Hearn partnership come about? Did he approach you or did you reach out?
KY : I approached Eddie. I felt he would be a good fit for my pro career, and where i wanted to take it. Four months later Eddie contacted me and the rest is history as they say.
BR : Over the next eigth months you created quite a splash on the British scene. Beating all eigth oppponents, six inside the difference, how do you keep yourself mentally grounded and not let the hype get to you?
KY : By staying focused on the job at hand. Keep my head on my dreams, and continue the hard work in the gym.
BR : Eddie Hearn has sung your praises at every opportunity, including talk of a British title shot in the not too distant future. In your opinion, how far are you from that kind of fight?
KY : I would say i am about 2/3 fights from a title shot.
BR : October 26th you make your return in Sheffield. How has the recovery process gone?
KY : Recovery has gone well. The inactivity has been tough, but all is well and itching to get back in the ring.
BR : Keeping focus being away from the gym, must be testing at times?
KY : Yes it has been. Going from being so active, to doing nothing was very hard. But mentally i am a very strong.
BR : Do you have an opponent named for October 26th?
KY : No not yet. We should have more information soon regarding an opponent.
BR : We thank you for taking the time to talk with boxingroundup Kal. Have you a message for your fans awaiting your return next month?
KY : Thanks for all the support and being patient…it will be worth the wait October 26th.
By Frank Walsh
@boxingroundup on Twitter