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Kal Yafai wants unification fights in 2019 after title defence against Israel Gonzalez this weekend

Kal Yafai

WBA super flyweight champion Kal Yafai 24-0 (15) is looking to put on a show-stopping performance against WBA number 14 ranked contender Israel Gonzalez 23-2 (10) of Mexico at the Casino de Monte-Carlo in Monaco this Saturday night before chasing unification bouts with WBC counterpart Srisaket Sor Rungvisai and IBF boss Jerwin Ancajas in the new year.

“The most important thing is winning and looking good in doing so,” said Yafai to Sky Sports. “There’s some huge fights to be made in 2019 so I just need to get in there and do what I do best and impress. I’ll be looking to put on an explosive performance to end the year in style. 

“Gonzalez looks like a tough fighter and he looks dangerous on the counter. From his record you can tell that he’s durable, so I’ve got to be on it. I’ll need to put in a solid performance to deal with him.

“I expect him to be looking to counter early on but then as the first three or four rounds go by, if it goes that far, he’ll realise that he can’t outbox me or counter me. He’ll have to resort to coming forward and applying pressure which won’t work out for him very well.”

The tough and durable Gonzalez promises to give Yafai some rounds if nothing else. In his previous title fight he lasted almost 10 rounds against the Manny Pacquiao-promoted Ancajas 30-1-2 (20) at the Bank of America Center in Corpus Christi, Texas in February.

“Jerwin Ancajas and Sor Rungvisai are obviously the two names that stick out,” added Yafai. “They hold the IBF and WBC belts so I’d like a crack at either of them next year. Donnie Nietes and Kazuto Ioka are fighting for the vacant WBO title on New Year’s Eve so the winner of that is another option.

“Roman Gonzalez is still a massive name in the division and that would be a huge fight for me that would bring a lot of money to the table. It’s an exciting time to be fighting at 115lbs and I just need to make sure that I shine on Saturday.”