Team GB’s sole male gold medalist at the Tokyo Olympics is officially set to join his brothers in the paid ranks. Matchroom announced today that they’d signed Galal Yafai to a “long-term promotional deal,” which begins with his pro debut on their February 27th Lawrence Okolie vs. Michal Cieslak card.
The 29-year-old Yafai started his Tokyo run strong with the flyweight tournament’s sole stoppage over Armenia’s Koryun Soghomonyan, then went on to have a rough time with Zambia’s Patrick Chinyemba. He bounced back with an impressive win over Yosvany Veitia, followed up by edging out Saken Bibossinov, and finally ended Carlo Paalam’s Cinderella run to claim gold.
“The goal now is to win a World Title,” said Yafai. “I know there’s not many who have won Olympic Gold and then a World Title so hopefully I can add my name to that list. There’s some great current World Champions out there at the minute, I’m not going to call out any names but my time will come – I have set my sights on being at the very top.
“I’ve boxed all over the World with Team GB, it’s made me into a better fighter no doubt. I’ve fought and sparred with many styles which will stand me in good stead in the pro game. Eyes will be on me as a pro but I thrive on the pressure and it’s a really exciting time to be entering this new chapter of my career.
“I remember standing on the podium with the National Anthem playing with the medal around my neck, it was a surreal moment. I enjoyed my time in Tokyo and now I’m ready for the next step. Matchroom are the biggest promotional company in the world. I’ve known Eddie for years obviously with all the shows with my brothers so it was the best fit for me to become a World Champion.”