Darren Barker believes Anthony Yarde can win tonight if he can get through the early rounds to drag IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev into the deep end at the OVO Arena in London. Tonight’s fight will be shown on ESPN+ and BT Sport, starting at 2:30 p.m. ET for U.S fans and 7:00 p.m. for UK viewers.
Like promoter Frank Warren, Barker feels that Yarde (23-2, 22 KOs) has got to put it on Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) and survive his heavy artillery in the first half of the contest to capitalize late in the fight on his potential fatigue.
Although Barker didn’t mention Beterbiev’s age, that could play a factor in tonight’s fight if Yarde can push a fast pace as Warren would like him to do.
Still, it’s a big ask for the 31-year-old Yarde to pull off a shocking upset against the seemingly invincible Beterbiev, who looked like a monster in his last fight, taking out WBO light heavyweight champion Joe Smith Jr in the second round last June in New York.
Some boxing fans would argue that Yarde would fold against Joe Smith Jr like a deck of cards, and he’s going to be way out of his league tonight going up against the powerful and much more experienced Beterbiev.
Anthony must weather early storm
“If Yarde can weather the early storm in the first six rounds or so, the second half of the fight could be Yarde’s,” said Barker to DAZN News.
“The British star could stop Beterbiev early and catch him cold, but it’s a question as to whether he can stay away from Beterbiev’s power for that long, and I just feel that at some point in the sixth, Yarde will get caught.
“If Yarde manages to produce a major upset, it will certainly be one of the biggest wins on these shores.”
Yarde confident of victory
“Anyone’s opinion; keep it to yourself. That’s their opinion. They spoke on your channel. Everyone heard what they said and leave it at that. I don’t need to hear it.” said Yarde to Boxing King Media when told that Eddie Hearn predicts that Beterbiev will beat him.
“I’m not here to listen to anyone’s opinion that is negative because it doesn’t matter. All that matters is on Saturday night.
“I feel like a true loss is something that can never come back. I’m here again, so it’s not a loss,” said Yarde when asked about his defeat at the hands of Sergey Kovalev in 2019.
“Yes, it’s on my record, but I feel like I’m a better person for it. This is a bigger & better stage in my opinion. It’s a bigger reward, a bigger prize, and I’m excited about it.
“I have Artur Beterbiev in front of me, so no other fighter on this planet matters to me. All that matters is when we get in the ring. All that was said before. When we get in the ring, that’s when we’ll see,” said Yarde.