By Robert Segal: WBO mandatory Anthony Yarde believes it’s his “destiny” to defeat unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev on January 28th at the Wembley Arena in London. The Beterbiev-Yarde fight will be shown on ESPN+ and BT Sport.
(Queensberry Promotions Credit: Leigh Dawney/Queensberry Promotions)
Yarde (232-2, 22 KOs) says he’ll be better prepared this time around to challenge IBF, WBC & WBO 175-lb champion Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) than when he fought for a title against Sergey Kovalev in 2019 and dispatched in eleventh rounds.
Earlier tonight, Yarde beat Bulgarian Stefani Koykov (14-2, 12 KOs) by a third-round knockout at the Telford International Centre, Telford.
It was a good win, albeit against a lower-level fighter. It’s going to be a lot tougher for Yarde to defeat Beterbiev because he can punch, and he won’t fold early the way Koykov did.
“I hurt Kovalev in the eighth round. I went out to Russia. A lot was stacked against me. Everybody ripped me off for that fight,” said Anthony Yarde to iFL TV about his loss to former WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in 2019.
“I came out with a lot of respect. I wanted to win the fight. A true champion is how he bounces back from a loss.
“If I was going to lose a fight, I wanted to lose like that because I gave it my all. That’s all you can do is try your best. I wasn’t going to fold under pressure.
“I wasn’t going to run away and hide. I’m a lot more calculated now. I said at one point that I want to hurt him because I’m heavy-handed and I can hit. When I do hurt him, I’m going for it. What I’ve learned is to be myself.
“Everything went to my head. My whole team, we’re in Russia, and I just hurt Kovalev. ‘Oh my gosh. Swing for heavens.’
“For every one that supports me, thank you. Why I beat Beterbiev? It’s destiny. For now, Beterbiev is my focus. There’s a song, ‘Destiny,’” said Yarde about why he feels he beats Beterbiev.
“I have no words. I believe in myself. Everyone is going to have their opinion. Everyone is going to have their pick. Muhammad Ali said, ‘I know you’ve got him picked, but the man’s in trouble.
“Location. I’m going to have my luggage,” said Yarde when asked what’s different this time around from when he fought for a world title the first time against former WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in 2019.
“I’m going to have fresh drinking water after the weigh-in. I’m going to have a meal after the weigh-in. Absolutely,” said Yarde when asked if he’ll be more prepared to challenge for a world title than he was three years ago,” said Yarde.