Former light-heavyweight champion, Sergey Kovalev, has had his say on Anthony Yarde’s title challenge against knockout-machine, Artur Beterbiev.
The fight takes place in London this weekend, and marks Yarde’s second shot at world honours – the first coming against Kovalev back in 2019.
The Brit travelled to the heart of Russia – Chelyabinsk – to face the champion in front of his home crowd, and almost upset the odds with a stoppage in the eighth round. Kovalev weathered that storm and went on to finish Yarde in the eleventh.
He’s now given his thoughts on Yarde’s attempts to dethrone Beterbiev to Ring IQ TV – and he’s picking him to fall short once more.
“Anthony Yarde isn’t ready right now to fight Artur Beterbiev because he didn’t have a test like in real fights. When he fought me, I was drained of energy because I lost a lot of pounds for the light heavyweight. I should have moved up to the next division because it’s not possible to make 175, and 2019 for me was the hardest year of my boxing career.
“I think it’s going to be an interesting fight, but in my opinion, Artur will smash him. I was in trouble when I fought Anthony Yarde. I was in trouble in round number seven or eight because I was drained of my energy by losing weight. I lost more than 15 pounds for this fight. He couldn’t stop me.
What I think so, Artur will finish him in the middle of the fight. It’s boxing. I’m interested in watching this too. In my opinion, Artur is naturally strong and mentally he has the background that is very, very big in two Olympic games, and world championship. He has big experience and mentally more older than Anthony Yarde.”
Given all but one of Yarde’s victories have come by knockout and Beterbiev is the only reigning world champion to have won every one of his professional contests by stoppage, it’s expected to be a fire fight.
Fans in the UK can tune in via BT Sport, and those in the US will find the action on ESPN+.