Luis Conception’s brief reign as the WBA super flyweight champion ended on Friday when he came in over the 115lb weigh-in limit for his title defense against #11 WBA contender Khalid Yafai (20-0, 14 KOs) for their fight on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England. Conception (35-4, 24 KOs) weighed in at 117 ½ pounds.
Yafai, 26, weighed in at 114 ½ pounds. As such, the WBA super flyweight title will be vacant on Saturday night. Yafai has the chance to win it, but not Conception. This sad news for the 31-year-old Luis Conception, because he only recently won the WBA title last August in beating Kohei Kono by a 12 round unanimous decision. Now he’s lost his title outside of the ring.
This fight will give the British boxing fans and Yafai’s promoter Eddie Hearn a chance to see whether he has the talent to become a world champion. Yafai has a lot of hype surrounding him after he competed in the 2012 London Olympics. He’s looked good in his 20 fights since turning pro in 2012, but he’s also not fought anyone good. That’s the real problem.
We don’t know how good Yafai is. He seems to be a decent talent, but we won’t know for sure until he gets inside the ring with Conception on Saturday night. Conception is a good fighter, but he’s not considered to be in the same league as other top fighters in the super flyweight division like Roman Gonzalez, Carlos Cuadras, Nayoya Inoue, Zolani Tete, Omar Narvaez, Koki Komeda, McJoe Arroyo and Anmat Ruenmoeng.
Yafai has his work cut out for him on Saturday night, because he’s likely going to be the smaller guy inside the ring. Conception can punch, and he’s going to be hitting Yafai harder than anyone has hit him since he turned pro in 2012. Yafai hasn’t been matched against quality fighters to get him ready for this fight. He’s going to need to depend on his amateur experience to get him through this fight.
“This is all about me, not him. I am 100 per cent confident I will become a world champion,” said Yafai to skysports.com. “Now is the time for me, trust me. He will keep walking into my jab all night long. I can do all sorts of things, but he can only come forward and you will see what that means on Saturday night.”