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Who should Anthony Yarde fight next?

Image: Who should Anthony Yarde fight next?

By Barry Holbrook: Anthony Yarde put on a masterclass performance last Saturday night but unfortunately came up short of the mark against the monster of the light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, losing by an eighth round stoppage at the OVO Arena in London, England.

Although Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) still looked game & fit to continue in the eighth, ready to fight on after being dropped by a punch to the backside of his head by Beterbiev, his corner thought it wise to pull him out rather than let him fight through this rough patch as he’d done many times during the fight.

The slow approach won’t work

Now the question is, where does the 31-year-old former two-time world title challenger Yarde go from here?

What we know is that he can’t afford to take the same slow approach as he did the previous time Yarde fought for a world title in 2019 by fighting pedestrian-level fighters pulled off skidrow to look good against in gimme fights.

It takes too long to get moved up the rankings when fighting exclusively poor opposition, which is what Yarde did for the last four years after his loss to Sergey Kovalev in 2019.

If Yarde’s promoter has him follow the same course as last time, it could mean that he won’t get another world title shot until he’s 35 years old, and he’ll likely be too old by that point to have a realistic chance of capturing the world title.

Who next for Anthony Yarde?

Good options for Yarde for his next fight would be top 5 level fighters like the following:

  • Joe Smith Jr
  • Gilberto Ramirez
  • Dan Azeez
  • Joshua Buatsi
  • Jean Pascal
  • Callum Smith

“I’d like to see Artur Beterbiev in with Bivol now. Bivol holds the other belts. It’s an amazing undisputed title fight that would be, but I’d like to see Anthony Yarde in with Joe Smith or someone like that just to show that he can clean out some of these former champions because I think that’s a four round fight for him,” said Gareth A. Davies to talkSPORT Boxing on who Anthony Yarde should fight next after his knockout loss to Artur Beterbiev last Saturday night.

“We’ve got some amazing fights here as well on British shores that Anthony Yarde can go for,” said Spencer Oliver. “You’ve got your Craig Richards; you’ve got your Dan Azeez, who is looking to go up to the next level. There are big fights out there for him; there really are.”

Yarde’s reputation is enhanced tonight. I was so glad to be here tonight to witness this fight. Anthony Yarde’s stock has gone up. Beterbiev hopefully goes on and fights for the undisputed title,” said Davies.

“You saw that Anthony Yarde started perfectly; he had the perfect game plan. He was waiting for Beterbiev to come in as he was throwing his shots. Like we were saying all week, he was meeting fire with fire. He was letting the left hooks go.

Beterbiev’s flaws exposed

“He maybe had seen the weakness, maybe from the Callum Johnson fight,” said Oliver about Yarde.

“Countering him all the time,” added Davies.

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“Callum Johnson floored him in the second round, and Anthony Yarde was getting success as well. Then Beterbiev started coming back, and Yarde showed tremendous courage through the rounds the way that he was. He was having success.

“Both guys actually went to a very dark place. Both guys bit down on their gumshields. Beterbiev eventually came through. Anthony Yarde, let me say this, Anthony Yarde, on any other night against any other champion on that performance, would be world champion right now,” said Oliver.

“I’m not sure he beats Bivol. Bivol is a different kind of fighter,” said Davies.

“What I’m saying is that was a world class performance that was worthy of winning a world title,” said Oliver about Yarde.

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