Updated: Aug 23, 2019
On Saturday 24th August 2019, Anthony Yarde will hope to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming a world champion. Yarde travels to the Ice Arena in Chelyabinsk, Russia to take on the reigning WBO light heavyweight champion, Sergey Kovalev in a highly anticipated fight.
Boxing is all about timing and this could be the perfect time for Yarde to get his hands on a world title. Russian native Kovalev is coming into the fight with three defeats in his last six fights. Many people thought Kovalev beat former undisputed light heavyweight champion Andre Ward in their first fight, but was outpointed 114-113 on all three judges’ scorecards.
The Russian threw and landed more punches within the twelve rounds and was left furious and disgusted with the outcome. In the rematch, the outcome was more convincing with Ward winning by TKO in the eighth, although it's fair to say Kovalev has not looked the same animal since. He suffered a shock 7th round KO defeat to the Columbian, Eleider Alvarez and his durability was questioned after that fight as he looked sluggish and looked like his career could well be coming to an end. ‘The Krusher’ silenced his critics and won his belts back with a wide points decision in the rematch six months later and will no doubt look to prove he is back to his best against the unbeaten Londoner on Saturday.
This is a huge step-up for Yarde anyone with the calibre and experience of Sergey Kovalev but to gain big rewards, you need to take big risks, and this is certainly one of them. Anthony clearly has power; he has floored every single one of his opponents and only failed on the one occasion to win by stoppage. Anthony does have questions to answer, such as “can he handle Sergey’s power?” and “can he make the jump from fighting European level fighters to an elite level fighter?”. It is hard to assess just how good he is at present due to the lack of quality opponents he has fought but he certainly does not lack confidence, neither does his trainer Tunde Ajayi. Tunde has labelled his trainer as ‘the new Roy Jones Jr’ in the 175lbs division and that is an extremely bold statement to make with minimal evidence.
Sergey is a huge power puncher and has an extensive amateur record as well as an impressive professional resume, whereas Anthony only has a short amateur pedigree and only a handful of professional fights. On paper, you could be forgiven for thinking it could be a mismatch but, it is far from it. Both men carry power in both hands with the ability to end a fight at any moment but both fighters also have fragilities. Sergey’s being his recent record and Anthony’s being his lack of experience and how good can he take a punch.