Sat 28th Jan – 22:00 – OVO Arena in Wembley
A light-heavyweight title clash, 12 rounds, will take place on Saturday, January 28 at OVO Arena in Wembley, London.
Ringwalks set to get underway at around 10:30pm UK time.
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Anthony Yarde steps up for the biggest fight of his career on Saturday against the unbeaten Artur Beterbiev.
The fearsome Beterbiev has an enviable record of stopping all 18 of his previous opponents and he is the only current champion boasting a 100% knockout ratio.
Yarde, 31, is well aware of the task in front of him as the mandatory challenger in the 12-round contest at Wembley Arena for the light-heavyweight WBC, WBO and IBF world titles.
It’s not the first time that Londoner Yarde has fought for a world title. He came so close to glory in August 2019 against Sergey Kovalev in the Russian’s own backyard.
Yarde had lost every round until the eighth when he was one punch away from finishing the unified light-heavyweight world champion.
Yarde stepped on the gas and had Kovalev in big trouble, but the Russian managed to see out the round and with Yarde gassed, the champion stopped him in the 11th with a stiff right hand.
Yarde more recently overpowered Stefani Koykov, with his right-hand body shot being a feature of the two-round contest.
He also bounced back from defeat to Lyndon Arthur with a brutal stoppage in the rematch in April 2021 courtesy of a chopping right hand in the fourth round.
There’s no doubt Yarde faces a step up in class against Beterbiev, but the orthodox fighter does have age on his side.
“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.”
Yarde will have to rely on his speed to get past an opponent whose constant pressure and hard, accurate hitting has put paid to everyone who has been in his path to date.
The 38-year-old does have plenty to lose, though, and not only the three belts on the line, because he dreams of a tear-up with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol for the undisputed title.
Yarde, though, arguably presents Beterbiev with his most difficult assignment too.
The Russian-Canadian disposed of Joe Smith Jr in New York last time out. Smith Jr had not been knocked down as a professional, but Beterbiev’s precise punching ended that record in the first round.
He then stopped Smith in the second round after two further knockdowns, to expel the myth that he is a slow starter.
He was simply too powerful for the American, who was caught with a number of chopping right hands and uppercuts.
Smith Jr had lost only three times previously, but he never looked like getting on top of Beterbiev.
Yarde claimed both fighters looked slow at Madison Square Garden in June last year and the Brit will pin his hopes on beating the champion to the punch.
Marcus Browne did put up a sterner test in December 2021 and Beterbiev had to overcome a nasty cut on his forehead before triumphing in the 11th.
A head clash in round two saw Beterbiev get to work, but Browne was tough and was put down in the seventh with a left hook, before an uppercut in the ninth finished the contest.
Saturday presents an intriguing match-up with both fighters possessing more than enough power to finish the fight early. They both have big right hands and are both able to go downstairs to the body.
Beterbiev’s record suggests the fight will not go the distance and if it does then we will surely have a fight of the year contender.
Yarde has won by knockout in 22 of his 23 wins, but he does have the defeats to Arthur and Kovalev to blot his copybook.
The champion has been inactive since June, while Yarde was dismantling Koykov in Telford in November. That may well have Yarde sharp early on and don’t be surprised if the Brit gets the better of the early exchanges.
Whether Beterbiev’s engine is still stoked remains the big question. The bookies have faith in the veteran and he is the heavy odds-on favourite. He has shown no signs of his powers waning as yet and his accuracy and ability to walk down opponents will have Yarde on high alert.
It really is a fight which could flip at the flick of a switch, but after Liam Smith’s shock win over Chris Eubank Jnr, there could be another surprise this weekend.
Yarde’s experience in defeat to Kovalev could be crucial and the Hackney-born fighter can go one better and shock Beterbiev late on in the capital
Anthony Yarde to win in rounds 9-12 – 28/1
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