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Artur Beterbiev vs. Anthony Yarde – final press conference for Saturday’s clash in London, England

Image: Artur Beterbiev vs. Anthony Yarde - final press conference for Saturday's clash in London, England

By Craig Daly: IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde met today for their final press conference ahead of their highly anticipated match at this Saturday night at the OVO Arena in London, England. This important event begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+.

Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) must win to get the chance to face WBA 175-lb champion Dmitry Bivol for the undisputed championship, perhaps late this year or, more likely, in the first quarter of 2024.

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Yarde (23-2, 22 KOs) could be the spoiler here if he can catch Beterbiev with one of his big shots early and then take him out with a flurry of shots. I say, ‘Early’ because, realistically, that’s the only chance Yarde has of winning.

If Yarde tries biding his time, hoping to hang around long enough to catch the two-time Olympian Beterbiev in the second half of the contest, it’ll be too late because he’ll either be knocked out or too punch drunk by then to go for the KO.

“I feel good. I hope on January 28, I will change a little bit,” said Beterbiev. “I said he looks like a bodybuilder because of his muscles. I don’t have this muscle, and I didn’t say it to mean anything bad. I said it because he looks strong.”

“Here are fighters today that are known for their power. I think, pound for pound, the biggest puncher in boxing today is [Beterbiev],” said Top Rank promoter Bob Arum about IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev during Thursday’s final press conference.

“That depends a lot on Anthony,” said Arum when asked how he sees the Beterbiev vs. Yarde fight playing out. “If Anthony is going to go out and fight Artur like Joe Smith did, then the fight will end early. If he boxes a little bit with Artur, the fight will end in the late to middle rounds.”

You won’t get too many people arguing that Arum is wrong about Beterbiev taking Yarde out if he goes after him early, but it’s really Anthony’s only chance of winning.

It doesn’t make sense for Yarde to hope that Beterbiev will tire out from continually punching him in the head and then take advantage of his fatigue late in the fight. Beterbiev hits too hard, and Yarde’s punch resistance & stamina don’t measure up.

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