By Craig Daly: Anthony Yarde has a “fantastic chance” of defeating IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev this Saturday night, says Gareth A. Davies. The Beterbiev-Yarde event will be shown on ESPN+, beginning at 2:00 pm ET this Saturday, January 28th.
Like many, Gareth still picks Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) to come out victorious and likely continue his consecutive knockout streak.
Yarde (23-2, 22 KOs) has a shot at winning the fight, but he must start fast and really put it on Beterbiev, who turned 38 years old on January 21st.
If Yarde had a better chin & gas tank, waiting until the later rounds would be the logical route to victory against Beterbiev, but he’s sourly lacking in those two areas.
As such, Yarde must lower his head and go after Beterbiev like an angry bull from the opening bell and take advantage of his superior hand speed, youth, and fighting in front of his home crowd in London.
It would be a big shock if Yarde were to do the job on Beterbiev, but anything is possible when you possess his kind of punching power.
Beterbiev has been on the canvas against lesser punchers than Yarde in the past, getting dropped hard by Callum Johnson in 2018 and Jeff Page Jr in 2014. Neither of those fighters could keep Beterbiev down, and he quickly got rid of them after he got back to his feet.
It would be a good idea for Yarde not to anger Beterbiev by roughing him up as Marcus Browne did in their fight in December 2021, as that appeared to enrage him, resulting in the unbeaten champion scoring a bloody ninth round knockout.
“Can Anthony Yarde do it? Of course, he can do it. There’s always shocks in boxing, and I think Artur Beterbiev, with his 18 wins and his 18 knockouts in his 10-year career, it’s an extraordinary record,” said Gareth A. Davies to iFL TV on this Saturday night’s Artur Beterbiev vs. Anthony Yarde fight in London, England.
“I think he’s the only champion in the world with a totally unblemished knockout record,” Davies continued bout Beterbiev. “I think Yarde has to make it his fight and not go the distance. I could be wrong on that, but make it his fight and try and stop Beterbiev.
“I’d certainly put it on him early without being reckless and turn it into a dog fight. He’s very powerful, he has the power to knock anyone out, Anthony Yarde, but I don’t think he wants to fall into a Betebiev rhythm,” said Gareth.
It’s debatable whether Yarde should fight aggressively from the start because he would be going straight into the teeth of Beterbiev’s power to be attempting to slug with him. As we saw with what happened to Joe Smith Jr last June, it’s not a good idea to slug with Beterbiev early unless you’re equipped with a sturdy chin.
“It’s a phenomenal fight; it’s two punchers. We can have an absolute war, maybe,” Davies continued. “This could be a five-round Hagler-Hearns; you never know, but it’s a great prospect. It’s brilliant that one of the great world champions [Beterbiev] is here in life, and the British fans get to see him.
It’s important that if the fight goes to the scorecards, the judges don’t turn in a set of wacky scores, giving Yarde the win if he didn’t earn it by performing well.
If Beterbiev gets robbed, the foreign world champions will avoid coming to the UK for fear of being treated similarly. There are already some boxing fans that view the UK as the new Germany when it comes to visiting fighters getting the short end of the stick for fights that go to the cards.
“I hope the [OVO] arena is going to be sold out,” said Gareth. “It’s a massive opportunity [for Yarde]. Anthony has learned from that first experience in August 2019 in Chelyabinsk against Sergey Kovalev. Congratulations to Frank Warren for getting this fight over the line. Great relationship with Bob Arum.
“We might even see more of these champions coming here and defending their belts. So it’s a great fight. I still favor Beterbiev to win in the late rounds, maybe by a TKO in the late rounds or maybe on points, but Anthony has got a fantastic chance here.
“I’m picking with my head, not with my heart, as I always do. He’s [Yarde] come through a lot. He’s come through a loss and a win against Lyndon Arthur. He’s avenged that defeat.
“As you say, the loss of those family members [of Yarde] must have been so difficult, and he typifies that attitude of ‘fight anyone, anywhere, anytime.’ So he’s got the advantage of being in his own backyard. Thats brilliant for him in this fight.
“He’s not had to travel. He can do what he’s always does, maybe even sleep in his own bed until fight night. Those kinds of advantages are massive psychologically. He really does believe; I don’t think there’s a doubt about it, yes.
“Beterbiev is the ‘Silent Assassin’ type. He doesn’t give a lot away during fight week, but that’s fascinating to try and open him up. He’s got amazing stories; he’s now Canadian. He grew up in Chechnya, of course, Dagestan.
“He’s a very, very tough man, a brilliant amateur record. He has two losses, of course, at the world championships and the Olympics to Oleksandr Usyk, who is fighting at heavyweight. It’s a great fight; it’s a really appetizing main event [this Saturday night between Beterbiev and Yarde]. I can’t wait to be there on the night.
“It’s fantastic to be around them all week. That place was tough,” said Gareth about Chelyabinsk, Russia, where Yarde fought former WBO light heavyweight champion Kovalev in August 2019 and was knocked out in the 11th round in a competitive fight. “I think Kovalev’s mom works a crane there or a tractor.
“It’s a very tough environment. Listen, there’s nothing wrong with a cold shower, as you know,” said Davies when told that Yarde had no warm water to take a shower when he was in Chelyabinsk for the Kovalev fight four years ago.