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Kal Yafai title defense against Suguru Muranaka set for May 13

Junior bantamweight world titleholder Kal Yafai will make his first defense against Suguru Muranaka at the Barclaycard Arena in Yafai's hometown of Birmingham, England, on May 13, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Wednesday.

Yafai made British boxing history on Dec. 10, when he became the first world titleholder from Birmingham in the 110 years since Owen Moran won a 20-round decision against Al Delmont to capture what many recognized as the bantamweight world title in 1907.

The 27-year-old Yafai (21-0, 14 KOs) won a vacant 115-pound world title in a one-sided unanimous decision against Panama's Luis Concepcion, who had been stripped of the belt the previous day for failing to make weight, at Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.

"It's a tough first defense, and that's what I need," Yafai said. "I want hard fights that are going to help me when I face unification fights. This is what I started boxing for. I wanted massive nights in Birmingham, and it doesn't get better for me.

"It's been amazing since winning the title. Every time I'm walking around the city, I get stopped for photos and for autographs, but I know that it's harder to keep a title than it is to win it, so the real work is only just beginning."

Japan's Muranaka (25-2-1, 8 KOs), 31, will be boxing outside of Tokyo for the first time in his 13-year professional career.

Yafai, a 2008 Olympian, said he hopes to dominate and move on to a title unification in a talent-rich weight division that also includes titleholder Roman "Chocolatito" Gonzalez, the pound-for-pound king, former titlist Carlos Cuadras and former unified flyweight titleholder Juan Francisco Estrada.

Also on the card, Ceferino Rodriguez (24-1, 12 KOs), 28, of Spain, will make his first defense of the European welterweight title against Sam Eggington (20-3, 12 KOs), 23, of England. In his most recent fight, Eggington sent two-time world titleholder Paulie Malignaggi into retirement with an eight-round knockout on a body shot on March 4.