Lyndon Arthur brings a simple game-plan to Anthony Yarde and picks up the win!
In the last BT Sport event of 2020, former world title contender Anthony Yarde is is looking to grab another world title opportunity in defeating the undefeated Lyndon Arthur.
Both men are highly ranked by different major organizations. Yarde is #4, #9 and #10 by the WBO, WBC and IBF respectively.
Meanwhile, Arthur is ranked #6 by both the WBO and the IBF. Therefore, this fight meant the winner would more than likely be the next British light heavyweight to be standing across the ring from a champion.
Going in, many pundits found this fight intriguing because both men would be seeing something new. Arthur is known for having one of the best jabs coming out of the UK and is perceived to already posses a world-level I.Q. Sure Yarde fought for a title against Sergey Kovalev in August 2019, however, stylistically Arthur is much different. Plus let’s be honest, Kovalev was no longer the “animal” he used to be.
On the other hand, Arthur hadn’t fought anyone remotely with the pedigree of Yarde. While many are sure of his skills, they simply hadn’t been put to the test yet.
A WORKING GAME-PLAN
This fight was literally a jab-fest! Arthur took full advantage of his superior height and reach by staying on the outside behind his jab. He did an excellent job dictating the pace, not allowing his opponent to get too close and forcing Yarde to figure out how to get around the jab without giving up his advantages.
After the first couple of rounds of eating jabs, Yarde’s body language looked as if he needed a couple of rounds to shake off the rust. But after a few more rounds of running into jabs face-first, it looked like he really did not have workable game-plan to counter his opponent’s jab and movement. Landing his signature right hand that has aided in stopping 19 out of 21 opponents seemed to be the only thing on his mind.
While he would land some big shots here and there that ended up being rounds he could win due to Arthur’s lack of activity, Yarde really made himself into a one-dimensional fighter by not preparing for his opponent’s style properly. He fought Arthur the same way he fought Kovalev. This indicates he may have never learned a thing after being stopped in his first world title bid.
Nevertheless, he did implement some tactics to try to get closer. He utilized a lot of herky-jerkyness with his upper body while incorporating feints to confuse his foe. Although, this only helped him in rounds where Arthur just didn’t do anything at all.
WHAT HE SHOULD HAVE DONE
What Yarde should have done was cut-off the ring while incorporating feints. Utilize angles and move into a position to trap Arthur into running into a punch he couldn’t see. Also, more volume would have been nice. Use head movement behind a jab to ease his way on the inside then unload combinations to the body to stop Arthur from moving.
He did none of these things!
Arthur is not absolved from criticism either. Towards the end of the fight and other rounds in between, he seemed to be relaxed enough to keep a respectable distance. This led to his punch output for a given round to be counted on one hand! Although, his movement kept Yarde out of range in these instances, the former world title challenger’s attempt to make a fight allowed him to dictate the pace. That alone would be enough for him to take rounds Arthur could have won if he just threw some punches!
Yarde didn’t actually land his right-hand the way he wanted to until the last round. Coincidentally, this was the round Arthur displayed a low I.Q. and decided to stand in front of his foe. The right-hand made him do a dance but the lack of stamina prevented Yarde from being able to finish him off.
CONTROVERSY ON THE HORIZON
In our book, the twelfth round performance was not enough for the former title contender to win the fight. However for some reason after the round, Yarde’s trainer Tunde Ajayi was celebrating like they had won a title! It is unclear as to why he nor Yarde could understand they may have dropped at least the entire first half of the bout due to not being busy enough!
All in all this was a terrible fight to watch! It was also one where a fighter with a low I.Q. allowed his opponent with a slightly better I.Q. to do the same thing all night. To put it simply, Arthur won this fight with one punch: the jab! Again, Yarde just was not busy enough to win.
In the end, controversy looked to be on the horizon as a split-decision was announced. Fans gritted their teeth as one scorecard read 117-111 for Yarde. Finally, the right man won as the last two scorecards read 115-114 for Arthur. 3kingsboxing.com scored the fight 116-112 for the winner as well.
A shocked Yarde had a look of confusion and displeasure as that last scorecard was read. In the post-fight interview, he mentioned the decision was a clear-cut robbery!
“He only landed the jab on me. I was whooping him and I was whooping him good! You saw I almost knocked him out in the last round. This was a robbery!”
I’m not too sure what the hell Yarde was talking about but at the end of the day, he was clearly un-prepared for a game-plan that could have easily been nullified. Maybe some sparring may help him next time!
By: EJ Williams