Yafai vs Muranaka: Kal Yafai ready to bear Birmingham's flag
By James Dale
Last Updated: 12/05/17 10:48am
Kal Yafai feels honoured to be Birmingham's first world champion and intends to turn the city into his boxing "fortress".
WBA super-flyweight title-holder Yafai (21-0) makes the first defence of his belt against Suguru Muranaka at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.
The undefeated 27-year-old already has eyes on unifying his division though and wants to lure Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez into becoming the latest renowned champion to box in the UK, with Yafai ready to turn his city into a boxing stronghold.
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"It's such an honour to be Birmingham's first world champion," said Yafai. "I consider myself to be the flag bearer for Midlands boxing now, I just want to make sure there's more talent and inspire more fighters to achieve the same.
"I want to be a big role model for Birmingham and the Midlands all together. Birmingham has been craving World Championship boxing for some time, for me to be bringing the world title back and being born and bred in Birmingham is an honour.
"Walking out in front of my fans with the belt is a privilege and I can't wait. I'd love to turn the Barclaycard Arena into my fortress."
Yafai is keen to launch a raid on the super-flyweight division quickly, with Muranaka's countryman Naoya Inoue holding the WBO crown, Jerwin Ancajas the IBF and the WBC belt in the possession of Wisaksil Wangek.
"Unification bouts are very much part of my plan - and sooner rather than later," Yafai added. "Whatever my team puts in front of me, that's what I'll take.
"I've got the best team in the business around me who advise me what to do and when to do it, so I listen to them first and foremost but I like to take it all one fight at a time. I've got to concentrate on this fight solely and then we'll go from there and see what is next."
Watch Kal Yafai vs Suguru Muranaka, Sam Eggington vs Ceferino Rodriguez, and Josh Kelly on this Saturday's Birmingham bill, from 7.30pm on Sky Sports 2.