Anthony Yarde steps into the lion's den next weekend, as he welcomes light heavyweight knockout artist Artur Beterbiev to the capital.
This is Yarde's second world title opportunity, after falling short in his previous attempt against Sergey Kovalev. Despite being stopped by the Russian, Yarde gave a very good account of himself, having Kovalev in serious trouble before gassing out.
Yarde and Beterbiev face to face
Yarde faces a completely different prospect in knockout specialist Beterbiev, who boasts a perfect 18-0 record, stopping every man that has entered the ring with him. With 13 of Beterbiev’s fights finishing inside 6 rounds, it’s highly likely Yarde will have to play a patient game.
After starting his career with 17 stoppage victories out of 18 wins, Yarde stepped into title contention with high hopes. Two-fights-following his loss to Kovalev, Yarde also experienced a shock split-decision loss to Lyndon Arthur. Since then, he has got his career back on track, however, avenging the Arthur loss with a stoppage victory, in the 4th round of their rematch. Yarde has gone on to record three consecutive knockouts since that redemptive night and will be looking to complete what seems like mission impossible and beat Beterbiev.
Yarde in action vs Arthur
In what is a huge opportunity to upset the odds in his home country, Yarde and his team would be making a crucial error in underestimating Beterbiev and his fearsome power. For ‘the beast from the East’ (confusing in this encounter, as Yarde's nickname) a win by any means possible will lead to bigger and better nights and add his name to the current list of British world champions.
With Beterbiev there are few introductions that would do him justice – a human wrecking ball who has one of the meanest stares in the game. 18 men have tried and 18 men have failed. The only fighter to take Artur the full 12 rounds (Enrico Koelling) was still knocked out in that round, showing that Beterbiev has a great engine to match his undeniable power.
Yarde’s fellow Brit, Callum Johnson, showed that Beterbiev can be hurt, dropping him in the second round of their 2018 match up; however, he appeared to anger the unbeaten champion and was stopped in the fourth round. Although the Russian has run threw everyone put in front of him, there have been question marks pertaining to his CV. Based on his performances and destructive results, it is likely this is due to avoidance, however, with fighters in the division choosing to not fight a man that simply knocks anyone and everyone in his path out.
The fight on Saturday night gives Beterbiev a chance to show the UK what he is all about and to extend his fan base. It could be the case of a bigger lion entering the lion’s den and it will be interesting to see how Tunde Ajayi reacts....
Beterbiev on his way to stopping Joe Smith Jr.
A win for Anthony Yarde propels him to the top of the division and would see him rocket up the pound-for-pound rankings. A task that some would consider impossible – a physical man mountain that requires climbing – but it would certainly be a victory for the British boxing history books.
For Beterbiev, it will be business as usual for the champ and he will be looking for the knockout once again. A perfect 19-0 is an outstanding feat and one most boxers can only dream of. Taking on a big physical light heavyweight in Yarde is probably the ideal matchup for Beterbiev and he and his team will be looking for Yarde to bring the fight to the champ.
Stefani Koykov – WIN – KO
Lyndon Arthur – WIN – KO
Alex Theran – WIN – TKO
Lyndon Arthur – LOSS – SD
Joe Smith Jr. – WIN – TKO
Marcus Browne – WIN – KO
Adam Deines – WIN – TKO
Oleksandr Gvozdyk – WIN – TKO
Date: 21st January
Time: Ring walks Approx 22:30pm
Location: OVO Arena Wembley
Promoter: Queensbury (BT)