Anthony Yarde says he is ready for the challenge of Artur Beterbiev and believes the fight is his destiny.
The British light heavyweight was in New York to watch the unbeaten Russian decimate Joe Smith Jr in two rounds to add the WBO world title to the WBC and IBF he already owned. It was a performance that reminded everyone how dangerous and ruthless Beterbiev is. Yarde, who is the WBO mandatory challenger, will now fight Beterbiev in London sometime in October. Frank Warren’s light heavyweight attraction spoke to Queensbury Promotions Dev Sahni to look back on the champion’s performance.
“He was a wrecking ball,” Yarde told Dev Sahni.
“He’s strong, accurate, good movement, smart. That’s the first time I seen him fight live. I love challenges. The light heavyweight division is a challenge anyway. I’m ready to get in there.”
The motto ‘Lions in the Camp’ can be heard regularly if you’re around Yarde and his trainer Tunde Ajayi. It’s a familiar phrase to British boxing fans nowadays having heard those four words uttered from the Yarde camp since he was introduced to the professional ranks seven years ago. And the Hackney born fighter used a big cat analogy to sum up his attitude in facing Beterbiev.
“When a lion goes on the hunt it’s not because it wants to sometimes it’s because it has to. They haven’t got the option to chill out because their family has to eat, I’ve got the same mentality.”
Yarde’s life could have taken a monumental turn had he beat Sergey Kovalev in 2019. Challenging ‘Krusher’ in Russia was an admirable move from the Brit who almost had the then WBO title holder beat in the eighth round, but inexperience took over and ultimately cost him the defeat.
The fight and the time since then have proved to be valuable lessons for the charismatic Yarde. And beating Beterbiev will make it all worthwhile in his opinion.
“When I beat someone like Beterbiev it just feels better,” he said.
“There’s a lot of champions that fight for a vacant belt, not saying I wouldn’t do that, not saying it’s easier because all fights are hard but it’s how you do it and the way you go about it. I’m 30 now. I go out there and win this fight my life would be amazing, it would change. And now I’m 30 I’ll be able to deal what comes with it.
“Before (against Kovalev) I don’t know how I would have dealt with that. It might have went to my head, I can’t lie. I’ve been through a lot more trials and tribulations. I’ve been tested in different ways. I could get 55 million tomorrow and I’d still be the same Anthony Yarde.”
The upcoming world title challenger was then asked how he will beat Beterbiev come October.
“I’m a strong believer in myself and this whole situation feels like destiny.”