Unified light-heavyweight champion, Artur Beterbiev has explained why Anthony Yarde cannot be labelled as his “toughest” fight to date.
Following a knockdown in the eighth round, Yarde looked to be on the verge of being brutally stopped. That was until the Brit’s trainer, Tunde Ajayi, decided to step in and save his man for another day.
Yarde was officially ahead on two of the scorecards at the time of the stoppage (65-68, 66-67), and, backed up by the markings on Beterbiev’s face, gave as good as he got against one of the most feared punchers in the sport.
Despite it being a thrilling back-and-forth encounter, Beterbiev told Boxing King Media that it’s impossible to compare this fight to previous ones.
“You can’t compare [Yarde], like for example, I had fights for unifications and different fights, it is different. It is different for me, it is different for opponent for a challenge. You cannot say ‘Yarde is my toughest fight’, he did a good job, I did not bad.”
Although fans now want to see the undisputed title fight against WBA champion, Dmitry Bivol, victory over Yarde looks to have set Beterbiev up for another title defence against a Brit, with Liverpool’s Callum Smith next in-line for a shot at the belts.
The former WBA super-middleweight world champion stepped up to 175lbs, after his lone career defeat to pound-for-pound superstar Canelo Alvarez. Smith has since secured two wins at his new weight class, both coming by early knockout.
Fellow scouser and former cruiserweight world champion, Tony Bellew, has given ‘Mundo’ his full support and even predicted Smith to knock the champion out within six rounds.
Smith returns to the ring on March 11 with further details to be announced, but reports via No Smoke Boxing suggest his opponent could be Poland’s Pawel Stepien. Only a win will keep his title hopes alive.
What’s next for Yarde remains to be seen, however, it is clear that despite the loss, his reputation and stock has certainly risen.