By: Hans Themistode
28 year old Anthony Yarde isn’t well known. The very few that do, have little appreciation for his skill. His heart? He doesn’t have any of that either. In short, he is a man that looks as though he should be a body builder instead of a boxer.
Going into his contest against WBO Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, Yarde was viewed as nothing more than a tune up fight. The entire boxing world knew what would happen. Yarde would get brutally stopped in the first or second round and send us all to a Sergey Kovalev vs Canelo Alvarez matchup.
Who could blame those that had this notion? Yarde had just 18 pro bouts under his belt before he fought Kovalev. He also fought absolutely no one of note. Actually, not a single fighter he fought was in the top 15 of any sanctioning body.
Having such few fights and challenging for a world title isn’t the most absurd thing in the world. Pound for pound star Vasyl Lomachenko fought for a world title in just his second pro fight. It took Oleksandr Usyk only 10 contest before he got his crack at a title.
Still, for Yarde his circumstances were completely different. Lomachenko is considered the best amateur of all-time. Winning two gold medals and possessing an amateur record of 396-1. Absurd to say the least.
Usyk competed in 350 amateur contest, winning 335 of them. Along the way he won numerous amateur titles. In short, both of these men were so accomplished in the amateur ranks that a slow pace in the pro’s were not needed.
Yarde’s experience before turning pro pale’s in comparison as he had just 12 amateur contest. It looked as though Yarde was biting off more than he could chew. As the contest took place however, he proved his naysayers wrong.
You’ve seen it by now. Kovalev landing a left hand jab which drops Yarde in the 11th round. A shot he could not recover from. What preceded that shot however was eye opening. Yarde was beating the long time champion to the punch in the early rounds. Showing that he had the speed advantage and the defensive ability to stay out of the way of Kovalev’s attacks.
Although he had success early on, Kovalev found his mark and began to land big shots on Yarde. At this point it’s easy for an unproven contender, fighting in the hometown of the champion to simply pack it in and accept his defeat. That doesn’t apply to Yarde.
Trailing on the scorecards going into the eighth round, Yarde through everything he had at Kovalev. It almost worked. He landed shot after shot which left Kovalev staggering around the ring. If Yarde simply had more time in the round he could have possibly done it.
The rest of the fight saw Yarde still give it his all, but he was completely worn out. Still he did not quit. Instead, he went out on his shield.
Losses are devastating in the sport of boxing. It can send a fighter down the rankings and leave a sour taste in the mouths of fans who witness the defeat.
For Yarde, his stock won’t plummet with this defeat, instead it will soar. At just 28 years of age and only 19 pro contest to go along with 12 as an amateur, Yarde has shown that he can compete with the elite in the division. Yarde said all the right things following his defeat.
“I’m going to go back to the drawing board and work on some technical things,” said Yarde during his post fight interview. “I’m going to work even harder.”
Kovalev, who isn’t known for complimenting his opposition, heaped immense praise on Yarde.
“He has a great a future, he is very good. Believe me he will be a champion, 100 percent.”
The Light Heavyweight division has officially been put on notice. Anthony Yarde may have came up short in his bid to become a world champion but, all signs point to him coming back stronger and better than ever.