Retired light heavyweight Callum Johnson is very familiar with both Artur Beterbiev and Anthony Yarde.
Johnson, who during his day was regarded as a feared puncher, traded big shots with Beterbiev in 2018.
During the second round, Johnson scored a rare knockdown of Beterbiev and had the Russian puncher rocked. Beterbiev recovered by the following round and eventually knocked Johnson out in the fourth.
Beterbiev, who knocked out all 18 of his opponents, will defend his WBO, IBF, WBC light heavyweight titles against British banger Anthony Yarde.
“Artur Beterbiev is a dog, he is an animal. He will have no qualms about hitting Anthony Yarde on the back of the head. You need to be sharp all the time, you need to be careful all the time, you cannot let your guard down for one second, because he will take advantage of it," Johnson told The Sun.
“But, to have any chance of beating him, you have to be able to beat him at his own game. Rough him up, push him back, hit him hard, make him feel uncomfortable. If you try to outbox on the backfoot then he is comfortable, because that is all he has ever been used to his opponents doing. Someone hitting him hard and pushing him back will be unfamiliar to him and that’s the only way to beat him, in my opinion.”
“Anthony Yarde can punch, so he has a puncher’s chance. Yarde might have faster single shots and hand speed but Beterbiev’s timing, ring craft and boxing brain could nullify the little advantages Yarde has. He can box, he has a good defence, he is a very good fighter because he has a little bit of everything. But personally I don’t think he has anything that Beterbiev has never seen before or cannot deal with.
“Beterbiev is now 38, though, and he will have to age at some point. For Yarde to win I think we will need to see Yarde at the best he has ever been and Beterbiev on the slide. But in Beterbiev’s last win over Joe Smith Jr he looked as young and good as ever. He looked as cold and calculated as ever and got arguably his best win and performance as a professional. But things can change overnight.”