LIVE: Artur Beterbiev – Anthony Yarde ESPN Weigh In
The 175-pound showdown will be shown on BT Sport in the UK and LIVE on ESPN+ in the U.S.
London calls for the light-heavyweight king. WBC, WBO and IBF world champion Artur Beterbiev will defend his belts against big-punching British challenger Anthony Yarde at the OVO Arena Wembley on Saturday, January 28.
The WBO No.1 contender gets his shot at the Montreal-based Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs), boxing’s only world champion with a 100 percent knockout ratio. He will be fighting professionally in the United Kingdom for the first time, with the highly decorated former amateur having fought in London at the 2012 Olympic Games.
Promoted by Frank Warren and Queensberry, in association with Top Rank, this huge 175-pound showdown will be shown exclusively on BT Sport in the UK and streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ in the U.S.
“This will undoubtedly be the biggest challenge of Anthony’s career to date, and we have made sure he will get the best conditions possible by securing him home advantage,” said Yarde’s promoter, Frank Warren of Queensberry. “It is going to be a huge occasion at the OVO Arena Wembley, which is the same venue where Anthony made his professional debut in May 2015.
“Of course, we know a great champion like Beterbiev has no fears of traveling and virtually all of his biggest wins have come outside his now home nation of Canada. Boxing is all about timing, and we are hoping the time is right for Anthony to fulfill his huge potential and pull off what would be one of the biggest wins by a British fighter.
“This is going to be a spectacular show staged in conjunction with our friends at Top Rank, and I am sure it is an event the public will get behind in massive numbers to support Anthony’s attempt to achieve his dream.”
“This is a matchup between two of the most devastating light heavyweight punchers, and I look forward to the great Artur Beterbiev showcasing his prodigious talent for the incredible UK fans,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “Anthony Yarde was ringside for Artur’s last fight, and he certainly does not lack confidence. He is a dangerous fighter, and I know Artur will be switched on for one of the toughest bouts of his illustrious career.”
Beterbiev won his first world title in November 2017 with a 12th-round stoppage of Enrico Koelling and defended his IBF belt on two further occasions – including against Britain’s Callum Johnson – before entering into a unification match against WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk in October 2019. Ukrainian puncher Gvozdyk, who was unbeaten at the time, was stopped in the 10th round. Beterbiev defended his titles against Adam Deines and Marcus Browne ahead of a three-belt unification against WBO champion Joe Smith Jr. in June at Hulu Theater Madison Square Garden, where the American was stopped in two rounds. In the amateur ranks, Beterbiev won silver at the 2007 World Championships before striking gold at the 2009 event. He also won gold medals at the 2006 and 2010 European Championships.
“I never back down from a challenge, and Anthony Yarde is a top contender who asked for this fight. I look forward to fighting in London for the first time since the Olympics,” Beterbiev said. “Yarde called me ‘slow’ after my fight with Joe Smith Jr., but slow and steady wins the race. And on January 28, I will win in London.”
The Wembley event represents a second world title attempt from Yarde (23-2, 22 KOs) who previously travelled to Chelyabinsk, Russia, to take on the long-standing champion Sergey Kovalev, ultimately being stopped in the 11th round after coming close to forcing a finish himself in the eighth round. Yarde’s first title came in fight No. 11 when he knocked out Chris Hobbs in four rounds for the Southern Area belt.
Yarde then fought seven consecutive fights with either the WBO European or Intercontinental belts at stake, or both, as Yarde knocked out each of those foes in seven rounds or less. Post-Kovalev, Yarde continued with fights during the pandemic against Dec Spelman and a domestic dust-up against Lyndon Arthur. Yarde dropped a split decision against his Manchester rival, and after a swift comeback fight in Birmingham, Yarde sought redemption against Arthur. The vintage Yarde returned, and he knocked out Arthur in four rounds to once again earn the WBO No. 1 spot.
“January 28 will be my night,” said Yarde. “My destiny playing out in my home city, and this is what I have been longing for throughout my professional career, which started at Wembley. I won’t make any big predictions for this fight against a strong unified champion in Artur Beterbiev, but what I will say is that I will leave nothing to chance, and I am at my best when I fight fire with fire.”
BETERBIEV SHRUGS OFF YARDE’S USYK ASSISTANCE
ARTUR BETERBIEV OFFERED up a nonchalant response when questioned over his former amateur rival providing some words of advice to his forthcoming opponent Anthony Yarde ahead of the world light heavyweight title clash at the OVO Arena, Wembley on January 28.
British challenger Yarde was perched next to the unified heavyweight champion Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in December while Tyson Fury was quashing the threat of his old rival Derek Chisora.
He claimed the Ukrainian gave him some tips on how to go about taking on the formidable Canadian-based Russian.
Beterbiev was edged out by Usyk at both the 2011 World Championship and the 2012 London Olympics.
“I don’t know,” said the 37-year-old Beterbiev with a chuckle when asked if a few pearls of wisdom from Usyk would help Yarde in his quest to part him from the WBC, WBO and IBF world title belts.
“If it helps him, then good for him. What can Usyk give him?”
It was suggested that Usyk could impart the benefit of experience from fighting him.
“And?” said a still smiling Beterbiev, who was a little bit more forthcoming when it came to explaining why, when he stepped up to light heavyweight, Canelo Alvarez opted to challenge Dmitrii Bivol for one world title belt, rather than himself for two, at the time.
“Why do you think? You need to ask Canelo, not me. How can I answer this one? If it was a fight that came to me I would take it, but I am not dreaming about this fight.”
WORLD FLYWEIGHT TITLE LANDS AT WEMBLEY ON YARDE’S BIG NIGHT
THE WBA WORLD flyweight championship clash between the champion Artem Dalakian from Ukraine and Costa Rican challenger David Jiminez will take place in support of the forthcoming Artur Beterbiev-Anthony Yarde blockbuster at the OVO Arena, Wembley on January 28, live on BT Sport.
Ilford man Yarde challenges for the WBC, WBO and IBF world light heavyweight titles held by the undefeated Montreal resident, who holds a record of 18 wins with all 18 coming via a stoppage.
Dalakian, 35, won his world title belt in February 2018 with a points victory over Brian Viloria and has subsequently made five successful defences. He is unbeaten in 21 professional fights, with 15 of his wins coming via stoppage.
Jiminez, 30, has previously won the WBA Latino title and the WBA Gold world flyweight championship and is unbeaten in 12, with nine KOs.
Also on the bill and in title action against opponents to be confirmed shortly, light heavyweight star in the making Karol Itauma (9-0, 7 KOs) will fight for a first professional belt with the WBC International title being on the line and, also at light heavy, Willy Hutchinson (15-1, 11) will battle for the WBO Intercontinental championship.
A clutch of Queensberry’s top young prospects have secured a spot on the card.
The prospects on parade are 11-times National champion as an amateur, Charles Frankham, who was also a World Youth Championship bronze medallist and winner of gold at the Commonwealth Games and European Championships.
The 23-year-old Charles – known as ‘Boom Boom’ – is currently 6-0 in the professional ranks and making significant improvements under the guidance of new trainer Roger Lee.
Charles’ first cousin, Joshua Frankham, will also feature at Wembley, with the four-times National champion and former England international having his seventh professional fight after illness ruled him out of a November appearance at The O2.
Big-hitting cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher will have his fourth pro fight. The 20-year-old ‘Norfolk Nightmare’ has sent ripples through the division with three mighty knockouts to date, with two of them coming in the first round.
Last time out in November he poleaxed the Czech Jiri Krejci with a punishing left uppercut to close his show at The O2.
The 5-0 featherweight Umar Khan, 20, returns to action after impressing at York Hall in November with a shutout victory over Alexander Taylor, along with the hugely popular Brick Lane southpaw Khalid Ali.
The 4-0 ‘Bengal Tiger’ was last in the ring back in September when he outpointed Dario Borosa via a 60-54 margin at York Hall.
Another welterweight, Sean Noakes, will have his fourth fight as a professional after a successful first year of three four-rounders that resulted in two shutout victories and a second round stoppage for the Maidstone man.
(ESPN+, 2:30 p.m. ET / 11:30 a.m. PT)
• Artur Beterbiev 174.5 lbs vs. Anthony Yarde 174 1/4 lbs
(Beterbiev’s WBC/IBF/WBO Light Heavyweight Titles — 12 Rounds)
Judges: Jerome Lades, Jun Bae Lim and Robin Taylor
Referee: Steve Gray
• Moses Itauma 248 lbs vs. Marcel Bode 220 lbs
(Heavyweight — 4 Rounds)
• Tommy Fletcher 199.4 lbs vs. Darryl Sharp 188.5 lbs
(Cruiserweight — 6 Rounds)
• Karol Itauma 174.1 lbs vs. Ezequiel Maderna 174.7 lbs
(Vacant WBC International Light Heavyweight Title — 10 Rounds)
• Artem Dalakian 111.6 lbs vs. David Jimenez 111.1 lbs
(Dalakian’s WBA Flyweight World Title — 12 Rounds)
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