Lion vs King - Anthony Yarde and Lyndon Arthur finally face off on Saturday night (Photo: BT Sport Boxing, Twitter)
A fight that was originally cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will take place this weekend as Anthony Yarde and Lyndon Arthur face off in an all British light-heavyweight affair.
The ‘Lion’ vs the ‘King’ for the Commonwealth title. A quite simply tantalising matchup, to see who will become Queensberry’s front running light-heavyweight star.
Kudos to both men for taking the fight, putting on a great spectacle for the fans and putting it all on the line in the tough times we are in at the moment.
How has the fight come about?
The fight was originally booked for April, on the undercard of Daniel Dubois v Joe Joyce, who fight this weekend on BT Sport. However, due to the coronavirus hiatus, the fight unfortunately got cancelled.
Ever since boxing has been back, promotor Frank Warren has wanted to make this match up again. An interesting domestic dust up between two of Britain’s best 175 pound fighters was never going to be brushed under the carpet. So here we are, almost eight months down the line with the pair finally meeting in the ring on Saturday night.
Yarde has been pushed as one of the hottest prospects in Britain for years now, and it is easy to see why. Although fighting limited opposition, Yarde didn’t put a foot wrong when he was climbing the light heavyweight ladder. In typical Frank Warren fashion, Yarde went down the WBO route, becoming mandatory challenger to Sergey Kovalev’s title.
When his time came, Yarde came agonisingly close to dethroning the Russian ‘Krusher’. Although the ‘Beast from the East’ eventually got stopped in the eleventh round. He put in a valiant display and nearly had his man a couple of rounds earlier, but unfortunately couldn’t quite finish him.
Yarde goes into the fight as favourite with the bookmakers (Photo: Daily Star)
Since then, Yarde has fought just twice. The 29-year-old fought a journeyman in Spain, to shake off some inevitable ring rust, before knocking out Dec Spelman in six rounds back in September. Although Yarde proved he belongs at world level, fights like this against Arthur are pivotal in getting that shot again.
In the case of Lyndon Arthur, his last fight was also against Spelman, where he became the Commonwealth champion, comprehensively outpointing a game opponent. A similar resume to Yarde’s in the sense that he fought a similar level of opponent on his way to this fight, bar the obvious world title fight Yarde had.
Arthur is undefeated, 17-0, with 12 of those wins coming via stoppage, so his power will undoubtedly be more than a match for Yarde, who himself is a concussive puncher.
This fight has really captured the imagination of fight fans, with both men really believing they will defeat the other. With the fight being scheduled for earlier in the year, before being cancelled for obvious reasons, it has only given fans more of an urge to see the fight in what will most certainly be an intriguing one while it lasts.
How will they cause problems for each other?
Yarde is undoubtedly the more powerful of the two men. This could cause problems for Arthur. Yarde has stopped all but one of opponents he has defeated, proving that he has real power and is capable of getting almost anyone out of there.
On the other hand, Arthur is no slouch in terms of power either. He himself has stopped around 70% of his opponents, proving that he can more than match Yarde when it comes down to landing the big shots.
At 6”2, Arthur is the bigger man and could potentially try to use this in his favour come fight night. However, Yarde is 6”0 which is probably about standard height for a light heavyweight, so fighting slightly taller men will be like water off a duck’s back for the Londoner.
Neither man has an advantage in terms of age, whether that be youth or experience. Both fighters are 29-years-old, so are at similar stages in their career.
One aspect which could be key is Arthur’s jab. The Manchester man has a bruising jab, which he pops out with ease and lands with success. This is possibly a key part of Arthur’s arsenal, which he must use to his advantage if he is to win this fight.
Arthur won the Commonwealth title in his last fight against Dec Spelman (Photo: Bad Left Hook)
Although Yarde is by far the bigger name and has the bigger fan base, Arthur is not to be overlooked. There is a reason he has never lost and there is a reason why a lot of the boxing community believes he has what it takes to defeat Yarde.
The fight will certainly be one to keep an eye on, with the winner becoming WBO mandatory challenger with a potential fight with a big name for that vacant world title belt.
How will it play out?
It really is an intriguing matchup, and one that I along with many others are finding difficult to make our minds up on.
For me, the telling factor in this fight will be the higher level opposition that Yarde has fought. All be it he lost to Kovalev, but he did not look out of his depth at all, and was close to bringing the belt back to Britain in that eighth round. Kovalev did end up coming back and eventually stopped Yarde in the 11th round, but by this stage Yarde couldn’t give anymore and was completely exhausted, in my opinion.
So for me, I think it could be cagey at first, with both fighters trying to establish their jab early on. But as the fight progresses, I think Yarde will slowly break Arthur down and force a late stoppage any time after the seventh round.
A great match up and one I am really looking forward to.
ESBR Writers predictions:
Greg Doyle – Yarde KO
There’s levels to boxing. Arthur is a tough man but the minute Yarde hits the accelerator he takes Arthur out in emphatic style.
Elliott Grigg – Yarde KO/TKO
The intrigue for me is whether Arthur can use his size and jab to attenuating effect, or whether Yarde will be able – using his superior speed and irrefutable conditioning – to get inside/wear Arthur down before eventually catching him.
Realistically, I can see the latter occurring, especially if Arthur lays on the ropes as he did against [Dec] Spelman. The difference in speed will be the telling factor and I think Yarde will win by stoppage, mid-to-late rounds.
Doey Thomas – Yarde points
I was really impressed watching Arthur vs Spelman, it’s obvious that the jab is going to be a key weapon in Arthur’s arsenal as he moves forward. I think Yarde is in for a tough test but when it comes down to it, Yarde should have an extra level he can go to and get the win. Yarde on points.
Alan Drewett – Yarde KO
This is going to be a real test for Yarde and I fully expect him to get rounds under his belt. I do feel he wins by KO and I expect to see it late, probably rounds 8-9.
Mike Walsh – Yarde KO
This is a very intriguing fight, one which I can see either winning if they can implement their game plan and style better than the other. My gut says that Arthur will have a healthy lead before Yarde works him out, steps up the pace and stops him in the second half of the fight.
Date: Saturday 5th December 2020
Time: Undercard starts at approx. 19.30
Venue: Church House, Westminster, London
Channel: BT Sport 1