While lauded for his bravery and willingness to go into the lion's den, Anthony Yarde was fully aware that traveling to Russia in 2019 to take on Sergey Kovalev was essentially a suicide mission.
Pegged as a significant underdog on the night, Yarde’s physical gifts and attributes did little to quell the offensive firestorm that the former WBO champion presented him with. Following 11 grueling rounds, including an awe-inspiring eighth in which Kovalev was ostensibly out on his feet, the light heavyweight contender would come up short, losing via 11-round stoppage.
Fast forward three years later, and the 31-year-old now finds himself on the doorstep of achieving his championship dreams. With the clear backing of a boisterous England crowd, Yarde will look to truncate the unified title reign of monstrous puncher, Artur Beterbiev.
By and large, while revered, Yarde is viewed as an inconsequential speed bump as Beterbiev makes his way to an undisputed showdown against WBA titlist, Dmitry Bivol. When last seen, the bloodthirsty champion made quick work of Joe Smith Jr., stopping his man in the second round of their unification bout while lifting his WBO trinket in the process.
Still, even with the pound-for-pound stalwart sporting an undefeated record and 100% KO ratio, an aura of confidence surrounds Yarde in his latest quest to become a world champion. Admittedly, considering his age and lack of experience in his first go-round, Yarde acknowledges that he may have jumped the gun in terms of accepting a Kovalev bout several years ago.
However, with another crack at the golden apple awaiting him, Yarde won’t allow apprehension to rule the day as he believes his destiny is inevitable.
“The journey has been emotional," said Yarde during an interview with Behind the Gloves. "Ups and downs, downs and ups. We're here again but this time it feels right. Last time it was like desperation. Doing the unheard of like going to Russia. This time, the opportunity has come and it feels right.”