WBC champ Edwards targets WBA champ Yafai

WBC flyweight champion Charlie Edwards says a domestic blockbuster with British rival and WBA super flyweight king Kal Yafai is “on the radar”


“He’s on the radar, 100 percent,” said Edwards. “It could be next because I would have it next, but I know he won’t, so it probably won’t be next. I don’t think he wants to entertain me at all. He made that pretty clear during the year when I was trying to call for the fight.


“I’m focusing on my own path. These big fights will come now I have a World title and when they do I’ll be ready. I’m ready now to fight anyone and everyone. I’m ready to build a legacy, and have proper fights. To become a British great I’ll have to win world titles at multiple weights, and that’s exactly what I’ll do.


“When I moved down to flyweight, I stated to Eddie, I’m ready for anyone and everyone, and that’s why he gave me the #1 flyweight in the division, and I went and did the performance that I did, and now I’m the #1. I know I possess the self-belief and skill to become a world champion in the super-flyweight division.”


If Edwards can retain and defend the title he won on Dec 22 at the O2 Arena against Nicaraguan Cristofer Rosales for a significant period, he will become a standout in Britain’s crop of champions.


Edwards returns to action as the headliner in the first defence of his crown at the Copper Box on Saturday against Spaniard Angel Moreno, against whom Edwards sparred for several days before his first world title attempt 2½ years ago against Filipino John Riel Casimero, in his ninth professional fight.


Edwards, whose body is replete with tattoos: a lion and crown; the lightning of Zeus on his hand; Achilles; an eagle on his shoulder; a third eye by his ear, which all have significance from his career, showed in December that he belongs at world level.


He has barely had time to savour claiming the WBC crown in what proved the most complete performance of his career against the Nicaraguan, a display of alternating attacks with savvy boxing over an intense 12 rounds, winning by a landslide 118-110, 117-111, 116-112.

But it was a nuanced, emotional night: for family, for friends, and particularly for his mother. Edwards dedicated the victory to his mother, Terry, who has suffered both cancer and brain disease in the past four years. In a wheelchair, Terry had watched events unfold from ringside.


“It meant so much,” Edwards explains. “I have assessed it with mum. We have talked about it a lot. I’m in a house in Sheffield I’ve rented for this training camp and I have all the pictures from the night with my team in one room.


“Mum is up here three days a week. We sit in the room and talk. It motivates me day in, day out. I know what I have achieved has given my mum so much pleasure.”


Now to Moreno. “Since I sparred with him, my fighting IQ and boxing game has gone through the roof. I’m doing things that are coming naturally and I have gone up another level. I now need to show that in my defence.”


But there is pressure. “Having the opportunity to headline my own card at the Copper Box, I can’t thank Sky Sports and Eddie Hearn enough. But this camp has gone quickly since wining the title and it has probably been good to keep the momentum going. Dec 22 was manic and there were great lessons outside the ring.”

“I got to know myself better off the back of the win, and my coach, Grant Smith, turns the technical screws on me very well,” explains the 24-year-old.


“It has sunk in that I am world champion, but I know I can get better. I have the title but it’s about a new chapter, building a legacy and I want to go on to be a multi-weight world champion, and go down as a British great in the division. It will only get harder. But the success has made me hungrier, and more determined.”


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