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Yarde Not Banking On Stadium Showdown With Buatsi

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Anthony Yarde is not relying on a summer fight with Joshua Buatsi.

Perhaps only a fight between Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua would, of those involving only British fighters, prove more popular than a contest between the two light heavyweights from London, but Yarde is ready to consider alternatives if it isn’t made.

Both fighters, their promoters Queensberry Promotions and Boxxer, and their broadcasters TNT Sports and Sky Sports will have to be satisfied before a date – potentially in June at a stadium in London – is announced, but according to Yarde’s trainer and manager Tunde Ajayi, the 32 year old has “many options”. 

“Everyone knows Ant’s never shied away from any challenge,” Ajayi said. “As far as I’m aware it’s with the promoters – if this is the fight [that gets made]. You have to remember Ant has got so many options. The Buatsi fight isn’t the sole option for us. We’ve publicly said we’re ready to fight [Artur] Beterbiev in a rematch. We would’ve fought [Dmitrii] Bivol. There’s [cruiserweight champion] Jai Opetaia – Anthony wants that fight. I know people are running from Jai Opetaia, but Anthony wants that fight. 

“There’s Chris Billam-Smith – a massive fight for the UK fans. A [Sergey] Kovalev rematch – we hear Kovalev’s back in the game. A fight Anthony would love to avenge. Cruiserweight – which one day Ant will inevitably move up to, we’re ready to go up there. Then, obviously, a fight that’s more than five years in the making – Joshua Buatsi versus Anthony Yarde. Or – let’s get it right – Anthony Yarde versus Joshua Buatsi.

“Anthony Yarde is one of the five top pay-per-view fighters in this country. He’s just awaiting that pay-per-view. Buatsi would be that pay-per-view in this country. You could have put Kovalev on pay-per-view – people would have bought it. You certainly could have put Beterbiev on pay-per-view.”

Buatsi, 31, impressed in February when he earned a unanimous decision over Dan Azeez, but he did so a year after Yarde was so impressive in defeat by Artur Beterbiev – the second time, after also being stopped by Sergey Kovalev in 2019, that Yarde has fought at a level beyond that at which Buatsi is proven. Yarde would regardless represent Buatsi’s toughest fight.

“When you go to the heights that Anthony has been to, and not feared it, there is nothing below that that can put fear in you,” Ajayi said. “You’re talking about someone with 19 fights; 19 KOs. You’re talking about Kovalev – a [future International Boxing] Hall of Fame fighter. Anthony has been at that level. Anyone who hasn’t been at that level – there’ll be nothing to be afraid of.

“We’re waiting for a fight. I don’t know nothing about it in terms of the negotiations. All I know is that it’s a fight that, seemingly, both parties want, but I keep on having to reiterate – Anthony Yarde’s career is not [defined] by Joshua Buatsi. Joshua Buatsi basically needs us, and if Joshua Buatsi doesn’t fight us, then he’s going to have to fight Beterbiev, Bivol, [Oleksandr] Gvozdyk, or [Gilberto] Ramirez. So it’s his choice. He’s been offered Bivol before – turned it down. Twice. 

“Let’s leave it down to the promoters. Get the fight done. If the promoters get the fight done I’m quite sure the fighters will deliver. 

“Our goal is always to become champion. If there’s attractive fights… Buatsi’s an attractive fight. Let’s see what happens.”

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