How Anthony Yarde can shock the boxing world and stop Artur Beterbiev

In his latest column, former Olympian and heavyweight contender Frazer Clarke assesses Anthony Yarde’s chances in his light-heavyweight title showdown against the undefeated Artur Beterbiev.

Yarde is Beterbiev’s toughest opponent yet

It’s a huge night for Anthony Yarde on Saturday night but he is definitely up against it.

Artur Beterbiev is one of the elite fighters in the world of professional boxing, holding that fearsome record of 18 fights, 18 wins and 18 knockouts. At 38, of course he is no spring chicken but he does appear unstoppable even though he has touched the canvas a couple of times over the years.

He doesn’t seem to be the kind of man to feel pressure, we saw that against Joe Smith Jr in the summer when he blew him away. Of course, he is fighting away from home this weekend which usually would mean you favour Yarde as the home fighter, but he is very experienced as a professional and very experienced as an amateur going all over the world to fight.

It is a huge job for Yarde, but he has got the qualities to cause a shock. Of course he has that punching power but the improvements he has made since the Sergey Kovalev fight are huge.

That night in Russia, he didn’t wilt and came on strong in that fight and he would have learned a lot. Yarde deserves to be where he is and I think this will be Beterbiev’s toughest task to date.

Yarde must get his respect straight away

It seems like whatever Beterbiev hits, he breaks. Yarde is going to have to be very smart in there.

Of course there will have to be some movement, but at the same time he has got to gain his respect. He will have to be a bit cute up close. There is more than one way to skin a cat in fighting and it’s not all about looking pretty, there are going to be times where it might look quite ugly, but he has got to try and nullify what Beterbiev does.

Beterbiev is very good at those long straight shots, his jab is very good, he has a great uppercut too. Timing is key, Yarde has got to pick his moments to fight and pick his moments to survive.

But at the same time, it is so important for him to get his respect early on and let him know that the champion can’t just overawe him and bully him throughout the fight.

I’m going for a Beterbiev win just because he has been operating at such a high level for so many years. I have not seen any sign of him slowing down yet. He is right up for this fight, it is mouth-watering for him that he has got such a good challenger in Yarde. He will be coming over here not just to win but to make a statement.

What next for Eubank Jr?

It is going to be difficult for Chris Eubank Jr for a while after that big defeat to Liam Smith.

In the build up to the fight, I spoke about the pride on the line and how difficult it was going to be for the loser. Last week, I stated that it would be more difficult for Eubank Jr to bounce back from. The pride he has got as a man and as fighter, he will struggle to get over that.

But he is an attraction, there is no doubt about that. Love him or hate him, people want to see him. I don’t think he will be short of offers to come back and fight. There will be a rebuilding process but with the right fight, he can put himself back in the mix.

It was a bad defeat but he has so much more to offer in the sport of boxing. His promoters now have a job to do in getting him that one fight to boost himself right back up to that top level.

There have been questions over whether Chris’ punch resistance is going after having such a solid chin for so many years.

But I wouldn’t say that is the case based on what we saw against Smith. He got caught with a barrage of very good punches. I was there, I was close and those shots he got hit with were absolutely beautiful from Liam Smith. The uppercut that hurt more than most, you rarely see that coming and that combination landed flush on the chin.

It is one of those things, it can happen to any one of us at any point. But I would still say he has got a very solid chin. He still has that incredible fitness and your fitness, once you get hit, is what usually gets you through tough times – that just tells you how good a combination is was by Liam. His resistance is still there, but on the night it was such a good combination that took everything out of him.

More progress on Saturday night

I felt good after getting the win over Kevin Nicolas Espindola on Saturday night. I have seen improvements in my performance compared to the last outing so I am happy with it.

There are still things to build on but I can’t be too critical of myself. I think my coach was happy with everything and I an definitely improving. As a fighter, we always want to be at the best and there has to be an understanding that these are necessary steps we have to take, performing like that this against fighters like that. I am hoping it is the start of a good year for myself.

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