By Jim Calfa: Artur Beterbiev’s cutman Russ Anber insists that he’s taking WBO mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde very seriously ahead of their January 28th fight on ESPN+ at the OVO Arena Wembley in London, England.
Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) will be defending his IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight titles against the upset-minded underdog Yarde (23-2, 22 KOs) in a fight that is expected to have fireworks.
Yarde has taken shots at the hard-hitting Beterbiev, saying he has slow hands and lacks the speed to defeat him.
Anber isn’t surprised by the comments from the 31-year-old Yarde, as he sees it as typical trash-talking in the lead-up to a fight. He notes that Yarde did n’t go overboard by saying that Beterbiev lacks punching power, as that would be too obvious that he’s trying to get under his skin of him.
Yarde has the power and the speed to defeat Beterbiev, but he’s got to avoid getting caught by his big shots because the undefeated Russian fighter has enormous power in both hands. Moreover, Beterbiev has a massive advantage in experience, having competed in two Olympics.
“I think what he said was that he [Beterbiev] and Joe Smith were very slow,” said Russ Anber to seconds out about Anthony Yarde’s observations about Artur Beterbiev being slow in terms of hand speed.
“What fighters say in press conferences leading up to a fight, 50% of the time, they’re wrong. I don’t care; it doesn’t matter. At least he [Yarde] didn’t say, ‘I don’t think he punches so hard.’ At least he didn’t say that. He at least acknowledges that.
“If he thinks he’s slow, that’s good. Did you see what Beterbiev’s reaction to that was?
“I believe there are three things you’re born with in boxing, and in any sport that you’re born with a natural ability. In boxing, if you’re super fast, you’re born with that. If you have power, you’re born with that. For speed & power, what you have, you can certainly enhance.
“So it’s my belief, whether it be an Artur Beterbiev, the first thing that he walked into the gym, everyone hit the pad or hit the bag or whatever, the coach said, ‘This guy here was better than all those other guys. ‘
“So naturally, you build on that. I think that’s the case with 100 sprinters or whatever. They have a certain gift where you say, ‘That stride is really good. That kid’s stride is better than all the other 11, 12 & 13-year-olds. There’s something about it.’
“The power that Beterbiev has become even more power. Natural ability plays a great role.
“He’s going to be at home, and be surrounded by his own people,” said Anber about Yarde having the home country advantage over Beterbiev on January 28th in London, England. “He’s going to feel that confidence and draw from their energy.
“Artur has made it a habit of being a road warrior. He’s been on the road. I don’t think that’s going to bother him all that much. I think Yarde is going to try and exploit that, and this is his opportunity to do so.
“Everybody is treating him like a massive underdog. Thankfully, Artur is not, and neither are we in the camp. So we have the utmost respect for Yarde and his power.
“We know he’s the challenger to the world heavyweight title, and he’ll be treated as such. It’s going to be a hell of a fight, and getting the victory will be a massive effort.
“That’s one of those freak cuts that holds together quite well, and it’s not a place that is usually susceptible to being opened,” said Anber about the cuts that Beterbiev received recently in his fight against Marcus Browne last year.
“If I’m not mistaken, Jim Watt received the same cut down the front of his face against Howard Davis, and they couldn’t get that stopped either. There’s a vein right down the middle [of the face]and if it gets to that vein, it just continues to [bleed] all night.
“Then I had the issue with the fight with Badou Jack where the same thing happened against Marcus Browne again. I always thought that Marcus, that was something intentional that he tried to do, and then it happens again with Beterbiev. I don’t think it’s an issue in the fight at all,” said Anber.