Kal Yafai stops Spaniard Jorge Perez - scheduled to next top the bill in January
Kal Yafai maintained his unbeaten record with a third-round stoppage of Spanish bantamweight champion Jorge Perez.
By Rob Lancaster - Tweet me: @SkySportsLanny
Last Updated: 08/12/12 10:21pm
The Birmingham boxer - one of the brightest young talents in Britain - once again impressed on a Matchroom undercard at London Olympia, suggesting he is now ready to take a leap, never mind a step up, in class.
His left hand simply couldn't miss, particularly to the body. It was one such hook underneath the elbow that left Perez slumped down on the ropes in the closing seconds of the first, with the bell sounding to save him.
To his credit, though, the man from Mallorca responded impressively, landing some punches of his own as he continued to throw leather.
Yafai even seemed to be pushed back onto his heels in the closing stages, though some strong words from his corner at the end of the round quickly got him back on track in the next.
His foot movement much sharper, his speed of hand meant poor Perez was unable to get out of the way of anything coming in his direction. Again heavy body shots landed, forcing the referee to step in with 46 seconds remaining.
Yet despite a fifth victory inside the distance, the 23-year-old felt he had not been at his best in the capital, telling Sky Sports: "I'm not too pleased.
"I got caught a few times with some shots I shouldn't have got caught with, but I've not done many rounds. It was good to get a few in there.
"He was a tough opponent. He took some but he gave some back. Fair play, he came here and had a go."
Promoter Eddie Hearn announced afterwards that Yafai would be back out on January 19, topping a Midlands bill that will also include the next edition of the Prizefighter series.
"It's not very often I make statements like this, but I believe he's the best bantamweight in the country, bar none," Hearn said.
"We're going to press on - we want to fight for the English title on January and then for the British title in the summer. By the age of 25 he will be a world champion.
"I don't think there are going to be many people to live with him. Once we've cleaned up Britain and Europe, we're going to have to go to the States."