While the super flyweight division’s Big Five gear up for a potential night of absolute mayhem, WBA champ Kal Yafai has his own challenge before him: mandatory challenger Sho Ishida, whom the WBA have ordered him to face in the second defense of his title. The two have thirty days (as of this past Tuesday) to negotiate.
Yafai (22-0, 14 KO) handily beat an overweight Luis Concepcion to win the title last December, then took another wide decision against Suguru Muranaka in Birmingham this past May. Technically, he was supposed to fight Ishida (24-0, 13 KO) within 120 days of earning the belt, but he’s gotten a bit of leeway.
Ishida, 25, earned the Japanese super flyweight title in 2014 and successfully defended it five times. Outside of that run, which saw him beat some solid local talent, the rest of his record includes a disconcerting number of debuting Thai fighters but does feature wins over current flyweight contender Komgrich Nantapech and recent Naoya Inoue victim Petchbarnborng Kokietgym.
So, what do you think? Does Japan continue its dominance of the lower weight classes or does Yafai prove he belongs with the monsters at the top?