Anthony Yarde is a bit tired of people telling him he has had a tough year, because he is sure no one else is really interested.
The light heavyweight has lost four close family members this year, including his father and grandmother to COVID-19, but he says that is no reason for him to not perform in the ring.
Yarde faces Lyndon Arthur on Saturday night at Church House, Westminster, in his biggest fight since he faced Sergey Kovalev for the WBO title in Russia last year. Victory on Saturday could push him towards another world title shot, so he cannot afford a slip-up.
“I keep my personal life completely separate from my career,” Yarde said. “At the end of the day, people don’t care about excuses. Yes, that’s my personal life, but in terms of my boxing, there’s a job to be done.”
Keeping his work life and his family completely separate is something normal to him. After his father died in April, he promised his family he would not reveal his father’s name, so their grief would not be imposed upon. But personal struggles, he believes are no reason not to perform to your best.
“I look at other entertainers, not just boxers, as a template,” he said. “If someone is a TV personality and they go through some sort of tragedy, ultimately no one cares, it passes. The viewers are there to be entertained.
“If you think of someone with big energy like Paddy [McGuinness] from Take Me Out, he’s got such a big personality and if he were to show he was down and not doing his job properly, people would say ‘what’s going on here? This isn’t Paddy’.
“People don’t really take into consideration long term whatever he might have been going through. It’s the same with boxing and boxing is a little more serious. It’s an unforgiving sport.”
Indeed, Yarde has been the one on hand to help his family members through the dark times this year.
“I’m there as like a counsellor, that’s what it’s like,” he said. “I’m talking to them and explaining to them about things which happen in life. I use examples of people in other countries who go through crazy tragedies, wars, and they just have to get on with it.
“No one cares and they’ve just got to continue with their lives or give up.
“I don’t see myself as someone who has to be strong. I see myself that if I internally know I am able to do things better than other people because of my motivation, then I will just do that. When I do sit down and think about it, I do get emotional. It does get overwhelming, but the job must go on, that’s just life.”
Saturday’s show marks the 40th anniversary of Frank Warren as a promoter and Yarde says he is proud to be top of the bill.
“In British boxing, Frank has always led the way,” Yarde said. “He has made world champions, he’s groomed world champions from the beginning of their careers. I will always pay Frank Warren homage; I’ve got a lot of respect for him.
“Even with his expertise, he’s very easy to get along with. He’s very easy to talk to. Forty years is a massive accomplishment. I’m excited to see what he’s going to do next and I hope to be one of his next world champions.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for Boxing Scene. 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.