Yarde: “I already punch at least as hard as Kovalev, Beterbiev and Stevenson!”
Fourteen fights, 14 wins, 13 stoppages and a top five world rating; all achieved in just 19 months and 28 rounds as a pro. The core stats reveal all you need to know about Anthony Yarde’s meteoric rise through the light-heavyweight ranks.
Following Saturday’s explosive four round demolition of Serbia’s tungsten tough Nikola Sjekloca, the 26 year old Beast from the East (London) reflects and speculates with Glynn Evans head of his return to the Copper Box Arena on February 10th.
You’ve enjoyed a fabulous 2017, collecting three belts and registering five explosive stoppage wins in just 13 rounds combined. What have been the key factors that have enabled you to achieve that?
I’ve achieved what I have this year by just focussing on myself, living in my own bubble, sticking to the basics and working hard. 85% of my success is down to grafting and 15% is down to talent. And you can lose talent if you just rely on it and don’t work hard to sustain and improve it.
The 15% God given talent that I have is my mentality and the speed that I have for my size. My speed is far more important than the power. It’s all about being able to LAND the heavy shots and I’m able to do that because I’m so quick.
The Sjekloca gig represented a massive step up in class. The Serbian medalled at both the European and World Seniors as an amateur, has lost just four of 37 as a pro and has fought more than ten times as many pro rounds. Were you apprehensive about that step up?
Not at all. I feel every opponent represents a different challenge and sometimes those that are supposed to be easier prove the hardest to impress against because they just tuck up and go into survival mode.
For once, I was facing an opponent who genuinely believed that he could win. His recent form was very good. In his previous fight, he drew with Robert Stieglitz, the European champion, over in Germany. He arrived with plenty of ambition. That provided opportunities for me to exploit.
Sjekloca took Gennady Golovkin and Andy Lee the full trip in the amateurs and had never been stopped during an 11 year pro career that has seen him face three world champions (Sakio Bika, Arthur Abraham and Tyron Zeuge). What did it mean to register a spectacular stoppage victory over him?
I’m not really into proving anything to others, I’m just about proving things to myself but it was fantastic. It sent out a big statement to the division. I’ve accelerated through the ranks relatively quickly.
I think I’m already one of the hardest punchers in the light-heavyweight division, at least as hard, if not harder than Kovalev, Beterbiev and Stevenson. The raw power is either there or it’s not and mine has been evident from the very beginning. This year, believe me, I’ve not always been digging with maximum power because I’ve been looking to gain a few crucial extra minutes in the ring.
What are your aspirations for 2018? Domestic and continental titles? World eliminators?
If you’d asked me the same question at the end of 2016, I doubt I’d have said I’d be world top five and holding three title belts so I’m not about to put a lid on anything. Whatever is meant to happen will happen but I’m not in any rush.
My job is to keep my head down, work hard and enjoy the journey. When it comes to career moves, ask my manager Tunde Ajayi and my promoter Frank Warren. Right now, I’m still a pretty inexperienced boxer and a very inexperienced businessman. I abide by the saying: ‘If you put your hands on too many pots, you won’t have control of any pot.’ I leave everyone in my team to do their job. I just focus on the boxing.
You’re gradually creeping higher up the card on the major bills. How do you feel about the prospect of headlining at The Copper Box or O2 next year?
Well I sort of topped the card at The Copper Box by default in July, after Billy Joe (Saunders) was forced to pull out at late notice. So I think I’m probably quite close to that, provided I keep winning.
It’s most definitely what I want; to be the key face on the posters, the main event and eventually pay-per-view. When I started out, I didn’t say: ‘I hope to do those things or I’d like to do those things….’ Those were things that I said: ‘I’m going to achieve, I will do….’
You have to have aspirations. Those are the things that keep me training so hard, keep me so focussed.
Promoter pre-sale tickets for ‘The untouchables’ are available now from www.frankwarren.com and on 01992 505 550.
Tickets priced at £50 (Lower Tier), £70 (Floor), £100 (Floor), £150 (Floor) and VIP/Hospitality £250 are available via See Tickets, Eventim and Ticketmaster on Wednesday 20th December at 12.00 noon.
0871 230 7148