On Saturday night Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17KO’s) will face hometown hero Sergey ‘Krusher’ Kovalev in Chelyabinsk, Russia, (33-3-1, 28 KO’S) for his WBO World light-heavyweight championship.
Having fought a mere seventeen contests, the Londoner has already established himself as an outstanding contender; knocking out all but one of his opponents with relative ease and a distinct composure that belies his significantly limited amateur experience.
Meanwhile, over a period of several years beginning in August 2013 when he dethroned Nathan Cleverly in Cardiff, ‘Krusher’ tore through the division like a hot knife through butter; effortlessly dispatching of challenger after challenger before successfully unifying the WBA, WBO, and IBF titles against Bernard Hopkins in December 2014.
In the process, the Chelyabinsk native asserted himself as a pound-for-pound superstar – indeed, in certain quarters he was regarded as number-one outright – before two fateful and controversial meetings with former super-middleweight champion and 2004 Olympic gold-medallist Andre ‘Son-of-God’ Ward.
Following an acrimonious split with former world champion turned trainer John David Jackson – someone who had masterminded his rapid rise to the top – Kovalev reclaimed the vacant WBO title in 2017 by eviscerating Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in two rounds.
After stopping Igor Mikhalkin in a routine March 2018 defence of his WBO title, Kovalev was stunned in seven rounds against undefeated Colombian challenger Eleider ‘Storm’ Alvarez after shipping a ferocious overhand right in the seventh round that brought what was a competitive and intriguing contest to an abrupt halt.
Then, after a period of soul-searching which reportedly entailed making a pilgrimage to a Greek Orthodox monastery, Kovalev joined forces with the venerable and highly respected New York-based trainer Buddy McGirt and immediately set his sights on avenging his loss to Alvarez.
Under the guidance of McGirt, a more economical and conservative Kovalev was able to do just that by producing a disciplined and defensively watertight display; virtually shutting out the dangerous Colombian throughout twelve rounds.
Therefore, his counterpart, the evidently heavy-handed Yarde, will presumably be looking to turn this into the type of fight where he is able to capitalise on his athleticism, devastating punching power, superior size, and immense physical strength in order to pull off what would be a memorable victory.
Article by: Navi Singh
Follow Navi on Twitter at: @DarkMan________