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Yarde signs contract for Kovalev fight on June 29 in Russia

Sergey Kovalev Anthony Yarde ESPN Kovalev vs. Yarde top rank

By Chris Williams: Undefeated #1 WBO 175-pound contender Anthony Yarde has reportedly signed his portion of the contract to challenge WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev on June 29 in Russia, according to the Tass Agency. The venue for the fight still hasn’t been decided yet. Kovalev’s co-promoters at Top Rank expected to make an announcement soon about the fight.

Yarde will be a big underdog

Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) is expected to be a HUGE underdog in this fight. He doesn’t have much experience to speak for a fighter ranked #1 by the World Boxing Organization. Yarde earned his high ranking with the WBO by defeating Richard Baranyi to win the WBO European 175-pound title, and Norbert Nemesapati to capture the vacant World Boxing Organisation Inter-Continental belt. Those two minor trinket titles are stepping stones to earn the #1 ranking with the WBO. The argument that some have is Yarde should have been matched a top contender in the top five of the WBO’s rankings in a traditional eliminator fight in order to earn the mandatory position to fight Kovalev. The way that Yarde got the mandatory spot was too easy by beating guys with limited talent. If Yarde had to defeat a solid contender like Marcus Browne, Eleider Alvarez or Sullivan Barrera to earn the mandatory spot with the WBO, he might have been weeded out. Although Yarde’s record is unbeaten at 18-0, the opposition he’s faced during his four-year pro career has been nothing short of woeful. Yarde’s best wins have come against Travis Reeves, Dariusz Sek, Tony Averlant, Nikola Sjekloca, Baranyi, Nemesapati and Walter Gabriel Sequeira.

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There’s nothing to lose for Yarde

With nothing expected of Yarde by the boxing public, he has nothing to lose against Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs). Most people see the inexperienced Yarde as not being equipped with the talent to beat Kovalev or even be competitive. They see Yarde as having little more than a puncher’s chance in this fight. It’s worse than that. Yarde’s chances of winning the fight boil down to him getting to Kovalev’s chin in the first three to four rounds. If Yarde is unable to KO Kovalev by the first quarter of the fight, he’s not likely to be around in the second half of the match on June 29/

Yarde’s 15 minutes of fame about to expire?

Surprisingly there’s been a lot of hype about Yarde during his short four-year pro career despite the fact that he’s not faced anyone of note during that time. The punching power, and the speed that Yarde has shown in knocking guys out, has gotten a lot of boxing fans excited about him. Yarde has looked good in winning his fights, but unfortunately he’s not been matched against anyone good enough to say for sure whether he’s got the talent to unseat Kovalev or any of the notable fighters in the 175-pound weight class. Kovalev, 35, has been showing signs of age in loses to Andre Ward and Eleider Alvarez. He was beaten three times in the last six fights. What those guys had that Yarde is lacking is experience. Unless Yarde is going to get that experience in sparring for the fight, he’s going to have problems against Kovalev.

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