Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Sport are delighted to announce the signing of Kal Yafai – and the exciting youngster has been backed by Carl Froch and Kell Brook to become a big star.
Yafai (pictured centre, flanked by former team mates Tom Stalker and Iain Weaver) will make his debut on the undercard of Brook’s IBF welterweight showdown with American Carson Jones on July 7 at the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield, where Brook will be looking to secure a world title shot in the autumn.
The 22 year-old from Birmingham turns over to the pro ranks after a glittering amateur career that saw him pick up key honours including World Junior title, three European silver medals and an ABA title, as well as representing Great Britain at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
“It's a massive show and a fantastic opportunity and the sort of night all fighters want to appear in,” said Yafai. “It's a huge showcase for my talent on the very first night and I can't thank Eddie enough for putting me on such a huge bill in my first fight. It's a new chapter in my career and it's what I've wanted to do since I started boxing - to turn pro and become a world champion.
“I just want to get into the pro game and get a feel of it, I'm not going to rush into making bold predictions that I'm going to be winning British titles inside a year, but I've got big ambitions and I know that Eddie is going to want to move me on quicker than others because of my amateur pedigree, which I'm obviously really happy with.”
Two-time world super-middleweight champion Carl Froch has trained beside Yafai at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield and has tipped his new stablemate to be a hit in the pro ranks.
“Kal has definitely got the goods to go a very long way in the pros,” said Froch. “He’s got fast hands, light on his feet and really strong – Kal is perfect for the pro game and he will be great to watch.”
Unbeaten Sheffield star Brook has also seen Yafai at close quarters and believes he is a great ambition to Hearn’s top class stable of British talent.
“I’ve seen Kal down at the EIS a lot and I’m really impressed with his attitude,” said Brook. “He’s keen to learn and improve which is really good to see – especially as he already has the makings of a top class fighter. We got on really well and he’s a very confident lad and that bodes well for his career. I’m delighted he’s making his debut on my show and I’ll be there to give him any advice he needs, and I’m sure the rest of Team Matchroom will be too.”
Yafai’s signature was much sought after and Hearn spoke of his delight at adding him to former Team GB teammate Scotty Cardle in his stable.
“Every now and then a fighter comes along that is very, very special,” said Hearn. “I'm so pleased that Kal has joined the team. He will be a superstar and deserves the superstar treatment and that begins now. We will give him the big build up for his debut at Sheffield Arena on July 7 and viewers and fans will be seeing plenty of him over the next few years.”
Tickets for Kell Brook vs. Carson Jones featuring Kal Yafai’s debut and the European title rematches between Gavin Rees and Derry Mathews (lightweight) and Kerry Hope and Greg Proksa (middleweight)are on sale now priced £30, £40, £60, and £100 from the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield box office on 0114 256 5656 and at www.motorpointarenasheffield.com.
VIP packages will be sold exclusively by Matchroom Sport priced £150 on 01277 359900 or at www.matchroomboxing.com.
The package includes inner ringside seating (front seven rows), pre-fight party from 5.30pm-8pm with complimentary beer, wine, soft drinks and canapés. (The bar will stay open as a pay bar after 8pm.)