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Artur Beterbiev “takes your soul” says Tony Bellew

Image: Artur Beterbiev "takes your soul" says Tony Bellew

By Sean Jones: Tony Bellew is in awe of Artur Beterbiev and sees him as the “Mount Everest of the light heavyweight division, “who takes your soul” when he fights you.

What could be Beterbiev’s next knockout victim is Anthony Yarde (23-2, 22 KOs) when the two meet tonight at the top of the bill on ESPN+ in the U.S & BT Sport in the UK from the OVO Arena in London, England.

This match-up is the equivalent of two rams coming together with an outcome that will be an explosion, with one of them getting knocked out. It wouldn’t be surprising if Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) gets stopped tonight because Yarde fights incredibly well when performing in front of his home crowd in London.

Beterbiev = Mount Everest at 175

“This is the Mount Everest of the light heavyweight division. This guy is an absolute monster,” said Tony Bellew to the DAZN Boxing Show about Artur Beterbiev.

“I will say this. He’s definitely vulnerable, and he can be hurt. I’m just not sure of the tactical awareness of Anthony Yarde going into this fight. I’m not sure about his game plan. If his game plan is some crazy thing of letting Artur Beterbiev punch himself out, that is just insane. You’ve got to match him.

“If anything, you have the advantage in the hand speed,” Bellew said of Yarde. “But obviously, Beterbiev is the more destructive puncher out of them. Try to time him coming in. Every time he steps close to you, you should be nailing him hard and coming out at an angle.

“Anthony Yarde has good fight and fast hands, but it’s literally the Mount Everest. It really, really is because this Artur Beterbiev is a problem, he really is. He ain’t going anywhere. He’ll go out on his shield.

“Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s only a matter of time before someone flattens him because he’s there. People thought it was outrageous that I think Canelo beats him. I still think he’d beat him.

“As soon as this fight was mentioned, I thought, ‘Artur Beterbiev is going to knock him out,'” said Ade Oladipo. “If you look at the record, 18 fights, 18 wins, 18 KOs, and I’m thinking, ‘He’s going to put him to sleep.’ As it starts to draw nearer, I’m thinking; something could happen here.

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“I don’t know why and a lot of people think this way. You look at Beterbiev, and you’re right; he does get tagged. He gives you an opportunity. He got hit by Gvozdyk. He got hit by Marcus Browne, and Callum Johnson put him down, but he seems to be able to rally through that,” said Ade.

Artur takes souls

“Someone asked me, ‘What do you mean?’ He out-mans you. He’ll make you kind of question yourself, fight on the back foot, and then he brutally knocks you out,” said Ade. “Joe Smith hasn’t fought since he knocked him out. Gvozdyk has gone into retirement. Marcus Browne hasn’t fought.

“He seems to know how to destroy you, and I’m with you. I feel like, for Anthony Yarde; there’s no point in trying to box on the back foot. You might as well go and just have a straight shootout with him and see what happens,” said Ade.

“He takes souls, mate. He takes your soul literally because he breaks you,” said Bellew about the unbeaten Beterbiev. “That’s the thing with boxing. When you can hit a guy consistently, you’ve got the hope. Once that hope builds up, then he just breaks you, and that’s what he does to fighters.

“It’s okay when you can’t hit a fighter. It’s frustrating, and it breaks your spirit. But once you’re hitting someone consistently, you’re getting reactions out of them, and then all of a sudden, then he turns your lights out. It’s soul-destroying.

“Trust me; I’ve experienced it. His name was Adonis Stevenson. This fellow is a bit of a monster, but he’s also got a very good trainer in Marc Ramsey, I must say. This is someone that knows the game and has been around a long time.

“It’ll be interesting to see what he does because in the Joe Smith fight, he was clinical,” said Bellew about Beterbiev.

Who is Beterbiev’s biggest threat?

“The fight this weekend is in London. It’s good that fighters around the world are coming to London because obviously the atmosphere, and you get paid well as well,” said Ade. “I want to ask you about the light heavyweight division in the UK. There are three names that are on top of the list.

“Buatsi, Yarde and Callum Smith. Who do you think has the best opportunity out of the three against Beterbiev?”  said Ade.

“Callum Smith has the most experience. Maybe not amateur pedigree, but he’s been in huge fights [as a pro]; he’s been in big, big fights. He won the Super Six tournament, and he has the best pedigree name on his record in defeating George Groves.

“So, I’d give Callum the best option, but I do think Buatsi is a problem and a half. I think he’s an old head on young shoulders. The way he fights and the link-up with Vergil Hunter is massive.

“That will help him so, so much when it comes to the bigger fights because Vergil is an amazing trainer; he really is. Callum also has a really good coach in Buddy McGirt. I would have thought that Joe McNally would have been perfect,  but they make these decisions based on the advice they get.

“Yeah, Callum probably stands the best chance looking at it now, but believe you me, Joshua Buatsi is one to watch, he really is, and as I said, his style is evolving all the time. His defensive skillset is really, really good, and it’s improved massively under Vergil Hunter. So he’s one to watch, and Anthony Yarde actually gets his chance, doesn’t he?” said Bellew.

“So many potential undisputed fights in 2023. Fury-Usyk, Jermell Charlo looks like he’ll come back and potentially fight Tim Tszyu,” said Ade.

“We want to see Beterbiev-Bivol; that’s what we want to see because there are good debates about who is the #1 light heavyweight in the world. Do you think we’ll get that fight, and if we do get that fight, who do you think wins?” said Ade.

“Bivol,” said Bellew. “Bivol beats Beterbiev. I made the cardinal sin of not rating him [Bivol] as highly as I should have because he hadn’t shown me what he’s capable of. That’s not on me. That’s on him, to be totally honest.

“When you’re running close fights against the likes of Craig Richards and lackluster fights in Monte Carlo, that’s down to him. I can only judge it on what you show me. That’s all I can do.

“But when you go in there and do what you did to Canelo and then after that, the Ramirez fight. He was fantastic. I rate him massively.  His footwork is exceptional. He moves like a welterweight; he really does. His footwork is exceptional.

“People underestimate his footwork, and it’s very good. That’s why Canelo couldn’t get grips with his in-and-out movements. He’s got a fantastic jab and straight shot skillset. He’s a strong, strong boy and a really, really good fighter.

“So, I just think that he would move and maneuver around Artur Beterbeiv and beat him on points,” said Bellew.

“I’m very split on this because I want to see Yarde do well,” said Ade. “I want to see him do well and win, but I also desperately want to see Bivol-Beterbiev by the end of the year. So good luck to Anthony Yarde.

“It will be tough; it will be big. A world title should be, but again, the selfish part of me does want to see Bivol-Beterbiev.”

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