Anthony Yarde says he has no fear going into his world light-heavyweight title shot against Artur Beterbiev in January and says he would rather be facing a dangerous fighter like Beterbiev rather than an easy match for a vacant belt.
Yarde, 31, will get a second world-title shot when he faces the Canada-based Russian for the WBC, WBO and IBF titles at the OVO Arena, Wembley, on January 28 and is convinced he will claim the titles.
“There’s no fear because I’m a firm believer in it’s going to be what it is going to be.” Yarde said. “I genuinely believe I am the best equipped light-heavyweight in the world and that is in terms of my mind, my body and my soul. The only thing I am lacking in is the experience. I feel if I had the experience of these guys, I would make it look even easier like Floyd Mayweather did.
“Experience is a massive thing because I am learning on the job. I am learning things by being put in situations. When I am mentally and physically in the right place I feel I can hurt anybody. That’s what it is about, landing the shots that hurt and showing the best version of myself.
“When I look back at my career I am going to say I won the unified light-heavyweight championship off a guy who had 18 fights and 18 wins but over 200 amateur fights and an Olympian.”
Yarde’s first world title opportunity came in 2019 when he challenged Sergey Kovalev for the WBO title in Chelyabinsk, Russia. He had his moments, coming close to stopping Kovalev, but was ultimately stopped in the 11th round.
It had not been the easiest of trips because his bags had been lost in transit, his hotel room did not have hot water and he and his family were shadowed everywhere by security guards.
“I’m going to definitely be better prepared this time,” Yarde said. “Going out to Russia, I would have been OK if I had been there for ten days. But they only gave us a five-day visa. And it wasn’t a case of jet lag, it was jet lash and the jet lash hit on day five.
“I never nap on the day of the fight, but I was so tired I napped. So, I hope they do the same to him this time – make sure they lose his luggage and he only has cold water in his room before the weigh-in.
“It’s all part of the journey, I try not to complain about the past. You can’t complain about the journey if it is not over.
“People may think I am a bit weird, because I don’t seem nervous. I want to fight whoever is meant to be the best to get my reward. I wouldn’t want to do this with a vacant belt or fight someone who I am meant to beat.
“When I am looking in the mirror holding the belts, in most fights I am meant to be doing that. In this fight, I am not, in the Kovalev fight, I was not. After everything was stacked against me in the Kovalev fight, of course I will go into this fight with lots of confidence. Because this time it is in my backyard. I feel more at ease.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.