Yafai wants Edwards showdown

Galal Yafai is targeting a fight with Sunny Edwards.

The Olympic gold medallist on Saturday fights America’s Rocco Santomauro on the undercard of Jesse Rodriguez-Edwards at the Desert Diamond Arena in Glendale, Arizona, and after being described by their promoter Eddie Hearn as the “future” of the flyweight division, hopes that in the event of victory for Edwards he could even fight him next.

“We both know we’re going to fight,” the 31 year old told ProBox TV. “Sunny knows and I know, Sunny sparred me – he sparred recently with me – so he knows where I’m at, and he knows that I’m coming. But we’re respectful with each other, we’ve got no qualms with each other. I respect him, he respects me. I’m an Olympic champion – not world champion yet – but that should come soon.

“I could fight Sunny in my next fight, but we’ll see, we work towards them fights. ‘Bam’ [Jesse Rodriguez] and Sunny are both top fighters. I think I’m up there now, but I’ve got to show it in the ring.

“I’m not there now, I’m not deluded. When you speak to [Edwards], ask him if he thinks I’m good enough to fight at [the] top level against the likes of these other guys. You’ll see what they say.

“I haven’t sparred him for this camp, but I’ve sparred him this year a few times. We have good sparring – that’s why I tell people, ‘Ask Sunny if he thinks I’m ready’, and he’ll tell you. Whether he’s telling the truth or not, he probably won’t, but I’m gonna get there whether anyone thinks it or not – I’ll get there.” 

The fight between Edwards, 27 and the IBF flyweight champion, and the 23-year-old Rodriguez – defending the title of the WBO – is widely regarded as the most challenging of both of their careers.

“Sunny’s a good fighter,” Yafai continued. “Tricky, he’s elusive, we’ve all seen him. Our division is a bit weaker than the other ones, I’ll be the first to say, but he’s a top fighter, and so is ‘Bam’. [It’ll] be a good fight.

“It’s a contrast between a front-foot fighter and a back-foot fighter. Overall, ‘Bam’ brings more to the table, but Sunny’s awkward. ‘Bam’ has the advantage that it’s in America – he’s got that advantage; they like the front-foot kind of style – but then Sunny’s tricky. If I was going to bet my house on it, I would probably bet [on] ‘Bam’, it being here, and him probably just feeling a bit better, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Sunny beat him also.

“You’ve seen fighters in the past that sit on the ropes [like Edwards], got good defence and they’re not getting hit – it’s okay, they’re pot-shotting the other fighter. It’s just if Rodriguez throws as many punches and tries to get him out of there, or he’s relaxed, it’s an interesting fight and that’s what we’re looking forward to.”