Anthony Yarde feels his stock rose in the wake of Artur Beterbiev’s vicious beatdown of Callum Smith.
Yarde, London, England, arguably gave Beterbiev, the IBF, WBC, WBO light heavyweight champion from Russia, the toughest outing in the ring in recent memory. The two went toe to toe in one of the more entertaining fights of 2023, but Beterbiev pulled away late, stopping Yarde in the eighth round. Yarde, however, was leading on two scorecards.
Yarde could not help but compare his performance to that of his countryman, Smith, who was stopped by Beterbeiv in seven rounds last month at Centre Videotron in Quebec City, Canada, Beterbiev’s adopted home. Unlike Yarde, Smith offered little resistance to the Russian mauler, who has defeated all 20 of his career opponents inside the distance.
Yarde, who takes on Marko Nikolic next week at Copper box Arena in London, feels he is now on the cusp of yet another “big fight” later this year, possibly against the winner of Joshua Buatsi vs. Dan Azeez this weekend at Wembley Arena, Smith, or even cruiserweight titlist Chris Billam-Smith.
The 32-year-old Yarde (24-3, 23 KOs) has come up short twice in title fights, one against Beterbiev, and the other against Sergey Kovalev in 2019.
“For myself, I feel like I’m in a very, very good position for big fights,” Yarde told a group of reporters during a recent media appearance. “Buatsi is one of them big fights. Callum Smith now again—that’s another big fight. The difference with someone like Callum Smith, he’s fought world champions. He’s fought the biggest name in boxing. He fought Canelo. Beterbiev walked through him. That gave me a lot of credit. I feel like that’s another potential big fight.
“I feel like, to be honest with you, even this cruiserweight thing, that Chris Billam-Smith, people have been talking about that. Again, everybody knows me. I don’t shy away from facts. That’s just not how I’m built. If the fights make sense, we can make it happen. I don’t call out nobody. I never ever called out nobody. But all the attention was on Yarde and Buatsi, so I said it on camera, I said it on Sky Sports, they were talking about the fight, so I said, yeah.’ If he (Buatsi) wins the fight, hopefully he and me can get it crackin'”.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.