One of boxing’s most exciting boxers returns to the ring on Saturday night when Artur Beterbiev defends his WBC, WBO and IBF light heavyweight world championships against Anthony Yarde. The fight takes place at the Wembley Arena in London (2:30 PM ET, ESPN+,
Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) has a deserved reputation as a reigning force of nature. None of his opponents have reached the final bell, including the seven men Beterbiev has defeated in championship bouts.
In November 2017, Beterbiev won his first world title when he stopped Enrico Coling in the 12th round to capture the vacant IBF title. After two defenses of his title, Beterbiev faced WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk, scoring a 10th round stoppage in a thrilling fight, unifying the two titles. Beterbiev would go on to defend his title twice more before seeking another belt. In his most recent fight, he routed WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. to unify three of boxing’s four world titles at 175 pounds.
For many boxing fans the fight with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol tops the list of “dream fights”. Bivol has called for battle and Beterbiev recently said that he “definitely” wants to fight Bivol to establish an undisputed champion in the division.
If the undisputed championship clash with Bivol could not take place, the WBC stated at its annual convention that the winner of Beterbiev vs. Yarde would have to defend his title against Callum Smith.
“In our camp, we always try to be ready for different scenarios. If it’s going to be an uphill battle, we’re going to be ready,” Beterbiev said.
“I feel good. I hope on January 28 I will be a little changed [to turn into a monster], I said he looks like a bodybuilder because of his muscles. I don’t have this muscle and I didn’t say it to mean anything bad. I said this because he looks strong!”
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Yarde (23-2, 22 knockouts) entered the bout riding a three-bout winning streak. He has been Beterbiev’s mandatory opponent since his December 2021 fourth-round stoppage win over Lyndon Arthur, a victory that allowed Yarde to avenge his two career losses when Arthur took their first meeting a year earlier. Had a split decision.
In his only previous shot at the world title, Yarde had suffered an 11th-round TKO loss to Sergei Kovalev. In that fight, Yarde did a good job, including badly hurting Kovalev in round 8, with Kovalev’s corner threatening to stop the fight. In the end, Kovalev was able to rally and stop the badly fatigued Yarde late in the bout.
Yarde said, “I’m happy to be alive, happy even at this stage of my life. Being an underdog, over-dog middle dog… It doesn’t matter to me. I’m a dog.” At the last press conference. “When I get in the ring and start throwing my hands around, everybody knows what I can do. If you want to say it makes me do anything, it just pushes me a little bit. Grants, he insinuates a little bit. But, again, it’s expected I don’t lie or bull— any. He’s got 18 fights, 18 wins, [100 percent] Knockout Ratios, Olympian. He has done a lot in the game and hence he should be respected. I have respected him till now. Like I said before, he’s definitely going to be saying the same thing when we get in the ring. There’s no respect in the ring when you try and try to take that respect away from your opponent.”
A talented fighter, Yarde has faced criticism for not taking steps to maximize his talents, including sticking with coaches and training methods that many feel have held him back.
Beterbiev vs Yarde fight card, odds
Odds via Caesars Sportsbook
|Artur Beterbiev (C) -900||Anthony Yarde +600||unified light heavyweight title|
|Artem Dalakian (C) -135||David Jimenez +115||WBA Flyweight Title|
|Karol Itauma-4500||Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna +1600||light heavyweight|
This is a battle with tremendous potential for action. Beterbiev has one of the most fan-friendly styles in boxing and Yarde has serious power. Both men also take a fair amount of blows, making it a strong possibility that the fight ends with one man flat on his back.
What makes Beterbiev so good is that his aggression works because he is also very strong in his fundamentals, which can be seen with the long list of accomplishments he has achieved in his amateur career. While he is tough and willing to close the distance or take away shots of his own, Beterbiev is able to do what he does because he has the technical foundation to cut the ring, work inside, and land fast punches. Is. body and head.
While Beterbiev’s body shots could play a big role in the fight, Yarde’s conditioning has been an issue against Kovalev. Still, between Yarde’s power and Beterbiev being 38 years old, Yarde is a living underdog.
That said, Beterbiev is so talented and so tough that it’s hard to see how Yarde doesn’t eventually get overwhelmed by the veteran champion’s non-stop onslaught, forcing a stoppage in the middle rounds. Pick: Artur Beterbiev via TKO5