Anthony Yarde Confident he can Expose Flaws in Artur Beterbiev
When WBO, IBF and WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KO’s) and Joe Smith Jr collided, most expected carnage and a stoppage. Once in the ring though, Beterbiev made it an outrageously short night! The Russian wasted no time in hurting Smith in the first and stopping him in the second. Even though he was the favorite going in, few expected that absolute of a blowout.
In the audience of this thorough trouncing was #1 (WBO), #2 (IBF), #4 (WBC) and #9 (WBA) ranked 175-pound fighter Anthony Yarde (22-2, 21 KO’s). With his standings, Yarde had invested interest in this match. Directly before the bout, when asked his opinion, the WBO mandatory challenger stated that he would prefer that the Russian prevail. His motivation stemmed from being told that he and Beterbiev would fight next and in his native London.
“If Beterbiev wins, it’s been said by Bob Arum and Frank Warren the fight will happen in London. Well, that’s what they both said.”
LOOKING FOR SMOKE
Following the fight, in spite of the destruction, Yarde was just as gung-ho about getting his shot at the powerful Russian.
“Beterbiev is a wrecking ball but I will be the breath of wind he cannot catch. Yes, he is the best of the light heavyweight champions now, but even in this brief fight I saw plenty of ways of beating him. I would be more afraid fighting a master boxer. This man has serious power but he’s not as fast as I expected. This is a challenge I will relish.”
It will be interesting to see how this plays out from this point. Obviously Yarde wants his shot and is under the impression that he can get it at home. While unofficial, there is industry scuttlebutt of an October date for Yarde and Beterbiev to dance in London. At the same time, the rough-knuckled Russian repeatedly has stated his preference to put his trio of belts on the table against Super WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (20-0, 11 KO’s).
Normally unifications outweigh mandatories; Beterbiev versus Bivol would be both a unification and to determine the undisputed champion. With so much on the line, if Bivol agreed to the fight, it’s hard to believe that Yarde would be given preference. Stranger things have happened though, so let’s see how the ‘behind the curtain’ business resolves itself in the coming weeks.
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By: Bakari Simpson