Yafai vs Gonzalez: Kal Yafai says he can’t afford to take any risks

Kal Yafai says he cannot afford to take any risks against Israel Gonzalez if he wants to move on to bigger fights in 2019.

Yafai defends his WBA super-flyweight title against Gonzalez in Monte Carlo on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.

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Promoter Eddie Hearn has already made an offer for the unbeaten Birmingham star to face Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez next, while the fighter is waiting to see which rival champions accept his unification challenge in the new year.

Yafai’s defence against Israel Gonzalez will be his second successive fight against a Mexican on foreign soil and he intends to tread carefully.

“There’s plenty going on out there, but I need to keep my eyes solely focused on Israel Gonzalez. I can’t afford any slip-ups,” he told Sky Sports.

“Boxing in Monte Carlo is another box I can tick off. I am excited and some big fights in big arenas should be around next year.

“If I was looking to make another statement by getting him out of there, I will start loading up and start looking for big shots and it could turn a bit messy.

“I’ve just got to do what I’ve got to do, and emerge victorious.”

Yafai’s last fight saw him stop David Carmona in seven explosive rounds out in Fresco, California, in May.

It was his first stoppage since being crowned the WBA super-flyweight champion two years ago and his first professional appearance in the USA.

“Gonzalez looks durable, he looks to counter so I’ve got to be on it, because if I throw anything sloppy he will counter me – quick and early too.

“I wasn’t too happy with my last performance against my mandatory Sho Ishida in Cardiff last year. It was my American debut so I had to impress [against Carmona].

This time next week be getting ready to letting those hands go again! ? #AndStill #Nov24th #TeamYafai

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“I went out there, put him down in the first and got a bit carried away, and got caught myself. I regrouped and then just put a bit of a beating on him.”

Gonzalez will be trying to become a world champion at the second attempt, having pushed IBF holder Jerwin Ancajas over 10 rounds earlier this year.

Watch a huge night of action in Monaco with Yafai vs Gonzalez, Lebedev vs Wilson and Buglioni vs Meng live on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm and Main Event from 7.45pm this Saturday.

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