Kai Yafai idolised boxing icon Roman Gonzalez – now he’s set for Texas showdown

Tyson Fury returned to the top of the heavyweight world last weekend – but now it's time for Britain's longest reigning world champion to get his defining night.

Birmingham's WBA super-flyweight champion Kal Yafai once sat ringside in awe of boxing icon Roman 'Chocolatito' Gonzalez.

But now he gets the chance to face the pound-for-pound superstar in the early hours of tomorrow in Texas.

Yafai, 30, won the WBA belt back in 2016 but has yet to have a big night in America to help make him a star.

Just a year before he became world champion, Yafai was ringside to watch four-weight world champion Gonzalez beat Edgar Sosa in Los Angeles.

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“I thought he looked even better in the flesh,” said Yafai.

“Never in a million years did I think I would be fighting him.

“This is boxing, this is how it can happen. Crazy things can happen.

“It's time for me to deliver and I will. He was my icon, now I'm fighting him.”

While the big boys like Fury pocket the huge pay-per-view purses, pint-sized punchers like Yafai have to fight for recognition despite their stunning abilities.

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“The lighter weights are getting more recognised,” said Yafai, who is unbeaten in 26 fights.

“So they should. You get the technical side, the skill, the power, the speed.

“It's always been the bigger weights that get the attention but the smaller weights are catching up

“Sometimes it can be annoying. It's just boxing. There's nothing that can be done about it.

“I can't grumble.

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“If I was around 10 or 15 years ago I wouldn't get the fights I'm getting now and financially it wouldn't be as rewarding.

“I want to come out of this sport secure which is every fighter's dream.”

Yafai is one of three boxing brothers with super-bantamweight sibling Gamal facing Luca Rigoldi for the European title and amateur Galal going for back-to-back Olympic qualification in London next month.

Swansea's Jay Harris challenges WBC flyweight champion Julio Cesar Martinez also in Frisco, Texas this weekend.

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