Tokyo 2020 Olympic Champion Galal Yafai MBE has signed a long-term promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing and will make his highly anticipated professional debut at the Lawrence Okolie vs. Michal Cieslak WBO Cruiserweight World Title show at The O2 in London on Sunday, February 27, live worldwide on DAZN (excluding New Zealand and Australia).
Birmingham’s Yafai fulfilled his lifelong dream of becoming an Olympic champion when he brilliantly won Team GB’s first boxing gold of Tokyo 2020, impressively surpassing Filipino Carlo Paalam to take gold in the flyweight division – the 19th gold medal of Great Britain at the Games.
Yafai comes from a proud boxing family, with old brothers Kal and Gamal who have had successful careers in the professional ranks after starting out as amateurs. 2008 Olympian Kal won a European silver medal in 2010 before turning pro and won the WBA super flyweight world title in 2016, with Gamal winning the Commonwealth and European titles.
“The goal now is to win a world title,” Yafai said. “I know there aren’t many who have won Olympic gold and a world title after that, so hopefully I can add my name to that list. There are some great current world champions out there at the moment, I’m not going to name names but my time will come – I have my sights set on being at the very top.
“I have boxed all over the world with Team GB, it has undoubtedly made me a better fighter. I have fought and sparred with many styles that will serve me well in the professional game. Eyes will be on me like a pro, but I thrive on the pressure and it’s a really exciting time to start this new chapter of my career.
“I remember standing on stage 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 is the largest promotional company in the world. Of course I’ve known Eddie for years with all the shows with my brothers, so it was the best choice for me to become world champion.”
“I am thrilled to secure the signature of Olympic gold medalist Galal Yafai and we welcome him with open arms to the Matchroom Boxing and DAZN team,” said Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn. “Galal was the standout British fighter at the Games and we have a long-standing relationship with his brothers, so it was personally very important to me to get this done.
“Galal is going to do things very differently, for his professional debut at The O2 we are looking to challenge him to his first professional title and from there move quickly to a world title that we expect to win in multiple divisions. This youngster man is an exceptional talent and you will be able to see him live on the biggest shows around the world on DAZN.”
You can follow Yafai’s journey on Instagram: galalyafai and Twitter: @galal_yafai
Tickets for Okolie vs. Cieslak costs £40, £60, £100, £150 and £250 (VIP).
General sale tickets can be purchased NOW via StubHub (www.stubhub.co.uk).