Anthony Yarde undoubtedly is considered the puncher in his fight with Lyndon Arthur.
The light heavyweight contender from London has knocked out 19 of his 21 pro opponents. He nearly finished off former WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in the eighth round of their title fight 15 months ago and is listed as an 8-1 favorite to beat the undefeated Arthur on Saturday night in London.
The 29-year-old Arthur is 17-0, including 12 knockouts, but he basically built his record against a low level of opposition. Yarde, also 29, is considered a significant step up in competition for him, yet Arthur feels he has been overlooked during the buildup toward their 12-round, 175-pound bout.
“They’re talking like I’m not here,” Arthur told BT Sport recently, “like Yarde’s just gonna walk through me and is gonna go on and fight [Joshua] Buatsi.”
The Yarde-Arthur winner could battle Buatsi (13-0, 11 KOs) sometime in 2021. Manchester’s Arthur cannot wait to surprise people that expect Yarde to tear through him.
“I’m gonna win, and that’s it,” Arthur said. “And if he’s stupid enough to think I haven’t got power, then he will soon find out that I have.”
Yarde (20-1, 19 KOs) has won each of his two bouts by technical knockout since Kovalev stopped him in the 11th round of their August 2019 encounter in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
The strong, younger Yarde had Kovalev in trouble during the eighth round, but Russia’s Kovalev recovered during the ninth round and knocked out a fatigued Yarde with a jarring jab in the 11th round. Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) was ahead 98-92, 97-94 and 96-93 on the scorecards entering that 11th round.
“He did well,” Arthur said of Yarde. “I mean, I’m not gonna criticize him because he went over there. He went into Russia. He went into the lion’s den and he did what he – you know, he nearly did it in the eighth round. But that’s all he did, was in the eighth round. He got beat every other round, really. Essentially, he got stopped off a jab, knocked out.”
BT Sport will televise Yarde-Arthur in the United Kingdom as the main event of a five-fight card Saturday night from Church House, the same venue where heavyweight contender Joe Joyce knocked out fellow Brit Daniel Dubois in the 10th round a week earlier. The network’s coverage will begin at 7:30 p.m. GMT.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.