Anthony Yarde got to see Artur Beterbiev’s fearsome punch up close ahead of their January fight, albeit delivered to a table.
The pair had their first face-off since it was announced the Russian would defend his unified light heavyweight belts against the man from London. The bout is scheduled for 28 January at Wembley Arena, and marks Yarde’s second attempt at a world title having fallen short to Sergey Kovalev in 2019.
Since then, the 31-year-old from London has built up 5 wins and one loss to Lyndon Arthur – although he rectified that in an immediate rematch.
Beterbiev last fought in June of this year, stopping a tough Joe Smith Jr in the second round. It took his knockout count to 18. He has never finished a fight any other way.
It was a respectful affair, but Beterbiev broke from the smiles for a second to impose his authority, slamming his fist into the table. For Yarde’s part, he just smiled.
— Boxing Social (@boxing_social) December 5, 2022
‘The Beast From The East’ knows what he’s up against in the undefeated Beterbiev.
“Since I’ve started boxing I’ve not had more than one week out of the gym. Beterbiev had more than 200 amateur fights and 18 professional, but I’m going to be sharp and focused.”
“In the light-heavyweight division he has been nothing but a wrecking ball, knocking out every opponent so far. He’s very powerful but I feel I’m faster and, by age, I’m fresher, but in experience I’m behind him.”
As for Beterbiev, he was complimentary but confident – somewhat of a pattern considering he’s acting as the away fighter for this bout despite being the champion.
“Anthony Yarde is a good fighter, he is strong – he is a body builder. I respect him and respect all my opponents… be ready.”
The fight represents some welcome movement in a division full of talent. The winner will have to face a mandatory challenger in Callum Smith, although there may be room to open negotiations with Dmitry Bivol to set up an undisputed bout first.