As fight fans have probably heard by now, reigning WBO/IBF/WBC light-heavyweight champ Artur Beterbiev, 18-0(18) will defend his belts against British challenger Anthony Yarde in London on January 28th. A great fight for the UK, British fans will also be hoping Yarde, 23-2(22) can pull off the upset. And it would be a big upset if Yarde did beat the formidable Russian who has both crippling power and an iron jaw.
As fans know, no man has even managed to go the distance with Beterbiev, let alone defeat him. However, Yarde, at age 31, is significantly younger than 37 year old Artur Beterbiev, and the twice-beaten contender believes he will be too fast for the defending champion. Yarde, who spoke with IFL TV after last night’s tune-up win over Stefani Koykov (who Yarde stopped in the third round in Telford), went as far as to say Beterbiev is “in trouble.”
“Destiny,” Yarde said when asked why he will win on January 28th. “I have no words; I believe in myself. Everyone will have their opinion; everyone will have their pick. Like Muhammad Ali says, ‘I know you’ve got him picked, but the man’s in trouble.’ For me, I hurt Kovalev in the eighth round (in Yarde’s previous shot at a world title, this the KO loss to Sergey Kovalev). I went out to Russia, and a lot was stacked against me. A lot. Everybody wrote me off but I came out with a lot of respect. But I wanted to win the fight. I gave my all and that’s all you can do, is give your best. What I’ve learnt is to be myself. I’m a lot more calculated now. Why I beat Beterbiev? Like I said, it’s destiny. I feel like the way everything has happened, just trust me, it was meant to be.”
Anthony Yarde will enjoy home town advantage and he is the faster, quicker fighter. But everything else seems to be on Beterbiev’s side. It would be one of the great British wins if Yarde did manage to take Beterbiev’s belts and unbeaten record. But Yarde does seem incredibly confident about his chances. For now, anyway.