By Jake Tiernan: Eddie Hearn says he wants flyweight prospect Galal Yafai to face an ex-world champion Carlos Cuadras or Srisaket Sor Rungvisai next when he fights on the undercard of Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez vs. Sunny Edwards card on December 16th at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
(Photo credit: Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing)
Hearn feels the 30-year-old Yafai (5-0, 4 KOs) is ready to step up to fight the likes of the 34-year-old former WBC super flyweight champion Cuadras (41-5-1, 28 KOs) or 36-year-old former two-time WBC 115-lb champ Rungvisai (52-6-1, 44 KOs).
It’s risky to throw Yafai in with Cuadras or Rungvisai because they can still punch, and both have tons of experience.
With Yafai throwing nonstop punches, he could run into problems if he fights that way against Cuadras or Rungvisai. Yafai isn’t the biggest puncher and wins his fights by focusing on volume. It obviously has helped that Yafai’s opposition has been poor.
Given Yafai’s age, Hearn must move him much quicker than he would a typical prospect with one year of experience at the pro level. If Hearn moves Yafai in the usual way one will do with a prospect, he’d be 35 or 36 before he cuts his teeth against his first quality opponent.
The 2020 Olympic gold medalist Yafai stopped an overmatched Tommy Frank (15-4-1, 3 KOs) in the first round last Saturday night to retain his WBC International flyweight title at the Utilita Arena in Birmingham.
Yafai dropped Frank once with a leaping right hook to the head and then finished him off with a storm of punches that caused referee John Latham to step in and halt the fight at 1:40 of the first round.
Hearn says Yafai will be ready to fight Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez & Sunny Edwards by next year. He’s probably as ready as he ever will be at 30.
With Yafai’s Olympic experience and the fact that he’s older than both of those guys, Hearn might as well put him in with them because he’s not going to improve as he moves toward his mid-30s.
Yafai ready to be stepped up
“No, I mean, I expected him to win, but it was a mismatch, and when it’s a mismatch, it’s because you are levels and levels above your opponent,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing on flyweight prospect Galal Yafai’s first round knockout win over Tommy Frank last Saturday night.
“Tommy Frank is British European level, and Galal Yafao is just world-class. He’s ready. You have to do rounds, and I’m glad he got in the ten rounds last time in Abu Dhabi when he fought there but still need him to have that sort of gatekeeper fight, whether that’s Cuadras or Rungvisai, and he wants to fight on the Sunny Edwards card [on December 16th in Glendale, Arizona].
“We’re looking to have a strong British contingent on that card anyway, but I just feel like there’s no point holding him [Yafai] back.
“Sometimes you get a fighter that you hold back and hold back, and they get. Sometimes, I look at [heavyweight Filip] Hrgovic a little bit, and I think he’s just lost a little bit of momentum.
“We can need to get that back because two or three years ago, he was firing, and he was confident, and that was his time to strike, and I want to make sure we get it right with Galal because I think he can mix it with all of them,” Hearn said.
Galal needs be heard
“Tommy Frank said a few things in the build-up, which was fine, but it didn’t get to him, but it gave him that spite. I like it,” said Hearn. “Tell him to get up, and there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a fight.
“Respect after the fight and was a bit pumped after the fight and probably carried on 30 seconds too long, but you know, there’s nothing wrong with showing that spite.
“I sometimes think when you’re not outspoken, and you don’t want to do a load of media, and you’re not posting selfies all the time on Instagram, you probably do get a little bit forgotten because, unfortunately, this era is about keeping your name in the limelight and he’s [Yafai] not really that bothered.
“When he’s as good as that, it doesn’t matter as much, and I know he’s going to fight for world titles, and I believe he can be a multi-weight world,” said Hearn about the 30-year-old Yafai.