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Anthony Yarde says his team turned down Artur Beterbiev title fight

Artur Beterbiev

By Scott Gilfoid: Unbeaten Anthony Yarde (15-0, 14 KOs) says his team have turned down an offer to fight IBF World light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (12-0, 12 KOs). Yarde, 26, says his team rejected the fight due to them believing that he’s not ready for a world title fight right now. So what is Beterbiev would absolutely annihilate Yarde. At least he’d know what it’s like to be in the ring with a talent.

Yarde doesn’t say when they feel that he will be ready, because he’s about to turn 27-years-old. By that age, fighters are expected to be ready to compete for a world title, especially when they’re ranked #2 WBO and #7 WBO like Yarde. I’m just saying. At some point, the training wheels have to come off and you’ve got to see whether Yarde can actually make it in the 175 lb. division fighting against the upper level fighters instead of the fodder opposition.

When you get a fighter that is turning down world title fights, it just looks really bad. One of these days, Yarde might be wishing he hadn’t turned down the shot at the 33-year-old Beterbiev, especially if he loses to someone. Yarde l looked plain awful in his last bout in struggling to defeat journeyman Tony Averlant last February. While he did eventually stop Averlant in the 7th, it was such a bad performance that it was hard to see him being capable of improving enough to ever win a world title. Yarde looked like a 2nd tier fighter scraping it out against another 2nd tier guy. There was some moments in that fight where I was truly worried for Yarde, especially when Averlant started blasting him with right hands. It was fortunate for Yarde that Averland couldn’t punch, because if he had any kind of power, he would have knocked him out.

“I want to be in a big fight, but everything takes timing,” Yarde said to IFL TV about turning down a title shot against IBF light heavyweight champion Beterbiev. “Yes, the offer did come through. My team was the fourth team to decline. My team don’t think I should be in a world title fight yet. I only had 12 amateur fights. There’s a lot of domestic level fights that can happen. They don’t feel like a world title scene is right yet,” Yarde said.

Yarde might as well fight for a world title. I mean, he can learn from the fight and maybe improve enough to be a legitimate 1st tier fighter. Right now, Yarde fights like a journeyman level guy. For him to improve, Yarde and his team have to be willing to lose the ‘O’ on his record. It’s too late for Yarde to have an amateur career, because he moved up to pro way too quickly. Now he’s fighting his amateur career at the pro level, but he’s not fighting nearly enough to improve and he’s not fighting enough. Yarde needs to take on guys like Beterbiev, and try and learn from the fights instead of merely fighting awful fodder opposition 24/7.

When you see fighters practically begging for world title fights like Dillian Whyte, and then you see Yarde casually dismissing a fight for a world title, it just makes you shake your head. It’s too bad Whyte doesn’t fight at 175, because he’d be getting world title shots left and right.
It doesn’t look like Yarde is going to take on British light heavyweight champion Callum Johnson (17-0, 12 KOs) either. I could understand Yarde turning down a fight with Beterbiev if he was to fight Johnson straightaway, but I don’t think that’s going to happen. So, if Yarde can’t even fight for a British strap, then what’s left for him? Does he just hang around until he’s in his 30s and then go after a title. I don’t see that as good use of time for Yarde’s career.

I don’t see Yarde learning anything from fighting the scrub opponents that he’s being fed by his management. If you saw the Yarde-Averlant fight, you’ll have noticed that all Yarde was doing was slugging. There was no finesse in his game at all.

There would be a slight chance that Yarde might get lucky and beat Beterbiev. After all, the Russian fighter has been inactive for the most part for the last two years. Beterbiev has only had 3 fights since 2016 due to a combination of management and injury related problems. Yarde could surprise Beterbiev with his youth, power and activity level and pull off a big upset. If Yarde bum rushes Beterbeiv, he could pull off the upset of a century and knock him out. Of course, if Beterbiev survives the early onslaught, he’ll likely knock Yarde into next week but that’s beside the point. At least Yarde will have fought for a world title, and the boxing fans outside of the UK will know who he is. Right now, Yarde is a domestic level guy with a padded record of mediocre opposition.

Yarde is lucky that the sanctioning bodies aren’t ordering him to fight some of the talented contenders at light heavyweight like Marcus Browne, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Eleider Alvarez, Juergen Braehmer or Badou Jack. Those guys would be way too talented for Yarde. Frankly, I can’t see Yarde bating the likes of Joe Smith, Andrzej Fonfara, Vyacheslav Shabranskyy or Isaac Chilemba. I’m not high on those guys, but I still think they would all KO Yarde. I’d like to see Yarde fight 2012 Olympic gold medalist Erog Mekhontsev (13-0-1, 8 KOs). He’s ranked low at #15 with the World Boxing Organization, and not young at 33. Mekhontsev recently fought to an 8 round draw against Alexander Johnson (16-4-1, 7 KOs) last August. Yarde should be able to beat Mekhontsev, right? If not, then I don’t know where Yarde can go. You’ve got to be able to beat the cellar dweller level opposition. Yarde is ranked #2 with the WBO. Is it asking for too much for Yarde to be matched up against #15 WBO Mekhontsev? If he Yarde loses to him, then the sanctioning bodies can get clean up their rankings by removing him from the top 15 and place someone with talent in his place.


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