At 28 years old and possessing a perfect 18-0 professional boxing record, 17 wins by KO, Yarde would be considered to be somewhere near his physical prime and ready to step up into the world class echelons of the sport but a deeper look into the quality of opponent he’s swept aside thus far exposes the lack of top level experiences one would require to arm themselves with ahead of a battle with a battle tested Sergey Kovalev.
Yarde has emphatically disposed of z-list journeymen whilst seemingly being guided around a stacked domestic 175lb division, names like Hosea Burton, Callum Johnson, Liam Conroy, the now retired Frank Buglioni have all been linked with a domestic grudge match with Yarde but for one reason or another the fights never materialised. Promoter Frank Warren has long been known for pushing his charges down the WBO eliminator path, trodden by the likes of Ricky Hatton and Joe Calzaghe in years gone by and this has clearly been the plan laid out for Anthony Yarde to by pass both domestic and European level opposition.
Now this isn’t to down play Anthony Yarde or his chances of winning a maiden world title this weekend, far from it as Yarde posses power and a lot of it, whether it be from the thudding right hand or the sweeping left hook, he’s capable of ending this or any other fight in the blink of an eye. With Tunde Ajayi in his corner, a trainer with the upmost believe in his man, Yarde will enter the ring at the Traktor Sport Palace believing his time is now.
Back in 2013 little was known about Sergey Kovalev amongst the casual British boxing fan as he arrived in Cardiff, Wales to challenge the then undefeated Nathan Cleverly for the same WBO light heavyweight title that is up for grabs on Saturday night, what followed the was a violent and brutal beat down of the Welshman as he suffered a crushing 4th round stoppage defeat, surrendering his world title in the process. ‘Krusher’ Kovalev would go onto unify the division beating the likes of Bernard Hopkins & Jean Pascal before suffering back to back defeats to the great Andre Ward.
Sergey Kovalev returned from the first defeats of his career to regain the IBF & WBO titles, vacated by the retiring Ward, before he was sensationally knocked out by Eleider Alvarez in 7 punishing rounds back in 2018, the fact Kovalev was able to regroup & defeat Alvarez in an immediate rematch via a landslide unanimous decision is testament to both his strength of character & also the magnitude of the task posed to Anthony Yarde come the opening bell.
In all honesty my prediction for this fight changes on almost daily basis and both a polarising opposites, on one hand Segey Kovalev is vastly more experienced in every meaning of the term than his British counterpart, he’s fought at an astronomically higher level both in victory & defeat, this alone should make him an overwhelming favourite but, and it’s a big ‘but’, there’s just something about Anthony Yarde’s self belief & the belief of his team, Tunde Ajayi for instance will have you believe this a forgone conclusion that his man Yarde wins in convincing fashion, some may say delusion but one thing for certain is by the final bell out in the Eastern Russian wilderness we shall find out if it’s indeed ‘Lion’s In The Camp’ or just kittens.
Written by Luke Carney of SimBoxx🥊