Preview: Kal Yafai vs. Suguru Muranaka

Khalid ‘Kal’ Yafai (21-0) vs. Suguru Muranaka (25-2-1)

Super flyweight

Khalid Yafai will make his first WBA super flyweight title defense this Saturday against Suguru Muranaka from Japan. The fight will go down at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham. The table has been set for Yafai retain his belt since his upcoming opponent is not much of challenge at least on paper.

This is Muranaka’s first fight ever overseas in his professional career. The fighters he has faced in Japan have all been mid-tier opponents at best and certainly have not represented the divisions elite. Yafai will be Murakana’s biggest test to date. The Japanese fighter has eight knockouts to his name and has not lost a fight since 2007. Muranaka is a bit of a slow starter, but fights straightforward and usually close distance. He puts together solid combinations and does have a mean right hand. He can be a bit too patient at times and does pick his shots carefully. When he warms up, he is ready to bang phonebooth-style but lacks the power to cause any serious damage.

So far Yafai has amassed an undefeated record of 21 wins with 14 coming via stoppage. He could become a rising star in the UK boxing scene but he needs bigger name opponents Then again a nice addition to the highlight reel never hurts and that’s exactly what Muranaka is.

Yafai is faster and simply a nastier fighter. His go to move is definitely the body shot. Yafai usually starts his combinations by attacking the head with numerous straights and hooks. Eventually he delivers his strongest punch to body. May it be a liver shot or just a regular body shot, those are Yafai’s trademark moves. He can also drop guys with fast counter shots to head or by simply landing a nice hook but these scenarios do not happen that often with Yafai.

It will be a tough environment for Muranaka, who is on enemy territory for the first time. With the home field advantage Yafai is the massive favorite here. He will pressure with faster combinations and land more shots within distance. Muranaka will probably have some difficulties finding a rhythm early on and Yafai will pummel him in the meantime.

The pick is Yafai with a 3rd round stoppage victory.