Kal Yafai v Suguru Muranaka preview and betting tips

Another big night of British boxing on the global stage as Kal Yafai defends his WBA super-flyweight title against Suguru Muranaka at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on Saturday night. The Birmingham boxer still unbeaten starts as firm favourite with Betsafe. Check out the expert opinions of Boxing News and make Betsafe your betting partner for the big night of Boxing, after all we are the official betting partner for the fight night!

The rise of Yafai

BRITISH boxing is going through a boom. Huge fights are taking place in the UK, this country has big names in the sport and while Kal Yafai might not be a household bet he could well be one of the best of Britain’s current world champions.

Missing out on the 2012 Olympic Games in the most dramatic of circumstances he turned professional that year and since then has done almost everything right. He had his ‘learning’ bouts, made the occasional mistake but did indeed learn. He scarcely put a foot wrong winning the British title in 2015.

Bringing home the title

Yafai looked to have a tough 50-50 battle on his hands when he fought Luis Concepcion for the WBA super-flyweight world title. 

Concepcion was a tough champion who looked in tremendous shape, managing to back flip off the corner post during his public work out. When the Panamanian came in over the weight limit the day before, that made the upcoming title fight look even more ominous.

It should have been a demanding challenge for Yafai. Instead Kal utterly dominanted. He picked his moments when to manoeuvre clear and when to go in and attack. He controlled the fight from beginning to last and became Birmingham’s first world champion. 

Who is Suguru Muranaka?

On Saturday (May 13) Yafai has his homecoming fight at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham. His first challenger will be Japan’s Suguru Muranaka. He is 31 years old and can consider himself lucky to get a world title shot. He has boxed exclusively in Japan, in fact exclusively in the Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. He greatest accolade is a Japanese flyweight title. He has only been 10 rounds three times in his career and has never been in a scheduled 12 rounder.

Yafai speaks

“I was very pleased with my performance that night [winning the WBA title]. I had to do what I had to do. I stayed focused on my own game plan, even after he failed to make the weight. I got in there and done the business. I out boxed him for 12 rounds. I made it as easy as possible,” Kal said.“It’s a tough first defence and that’s what I need,” he continued. “I want hard fights that are going to help me when I face unification fights.“This is what I started boxing for. I wanted massive nights in Birmingham and it doesn’t get better for me. It’s been amazing since winning the title. Every time I’m walking around the city I get stopped for photos and for autographs – but I know that it’s harder to keep a title than it is to win it, so the real work is only just beginning.”


The Verdict

Yafai had superb technical skills, he can box on the backfoot but prefers to attack and his guard remains sound when going on the offensive. Muranaka might simply not have the power to keep him off. The Japanese only had eight stoppages in his 28-fight career. The last time he halted an opponent was in 2014, admittedly a good shot against Yusuke Sakashita. But Kal, who has a particularly effective left hook to the body, should be able to dissect him and stop him by the halfway stage of the fight.

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