Beterbiev vs Yarde: Boxing insiders’ predictions
We are just a day away from the highly anticipated light heavyweight title fight between Artur Beterbiev and Anthony Yarde. For all the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
Everything points to a special night at Wembley Arena. British boxing fans will get an all too rare opportunity to see one of the world’s best fighters in the flesh. The thudding power of the Russian-Canadian champion and explosiveness of his British challenger look certain to be a combustible mix.
Yarde faces a fearsome task. Unbeaten Beterbiev owns three world titles, a perfect professional record and a reputation as the most dangerous, brutal puncher in the sport.
Denzel Bentley – the two-time British champion and world ranked middleweight – took on a feared East European champion back in November and pushed Zhanibek Alimkhanuly all the way. Anthony Crolla knows what it is like to compete and win at the highest level as an underdog. And commentator Andy Clarke is one of the most popular and knowledgeable voices on the British boxing scene.
We posed the trio three key questions about this weekend’s eagerly anticipated fight.
32Red – What is the scale of the task Anthony Yarde faces this weekend?
Denzel – The scale of the task Yarde faces on Saturday? It’s very big. He’s in there with the most dangerous man in the light heavyweight division I think – not necessarily better than Dmitry Bivol but more dangerous – and I think he’s in for a tough night but he looks like he’s worked hard, he looks relaxed and ready for the task. Hopefully he can come through with flying colours.
Anthony – Huge. Huge. If Yarde is to do it on Saturday night, it’s right up there – in my opinion – with one of the great wins by a British fighter in history. I don’t think I’m speaking out of turn there. You’re talking about a formidable champion who’s destroyed everybody he’s been in there with.
Andy – It’s a huge task. When I think back about who the last British fighter was to have this kind of task on their hands, it’s probably Ricky Hatton. Kostya Tszyu was a huge favourite in that fight. Given what Hatton went on to achieve later on, maybe with hindsight it doesn’t look like as big an upset as it was at the time.
I think if Yarde beat Beterbiev it would be a bigger upset because Hatton was more seasoned when he met Tszyu. I think everybody would agree on that. It’s a huge ask and if he were to do it, I think it would be one of the biggest upsets a British fighter has pulled off of all time.
32Red – If you were advising Yarde – or if you can put yourself in his position – how would you suggest he approaches this?
Denzel – It’s easier said than done but if I were Yarde I’d try not to get into a firefight but also not be too negative. I’d try to hold the centre and work off the jab a lot. I’d maybe give it a round or two to see how his power is and see what I’m in there with. Maybe test the power out on the gloves by catching shots and see what he’s like physically and work from there.
And I’d work a lot to the body. I haven’t seen anybody work Beterbiev’s body yet, throw combinations downstairs and come back up upstairs. I think he needs to throw combinations and get out of there. Beterbiev’s gonna keep coming so Anthony needs to have a peak level of conditioning to survive twelve rounds because Beterbiev is relentless.
Anthony – One thing about Beterbiev, everybody only sees power. Look at the Joe Smith fight. Look at his feet, look how he put the shots together. It’s a real tough one but I certainly don’t think he can allow Beterbiev to have any success at all, especially early. A lot of people might criticise it but I do think he’s gotta be cagy early on. In my opinion Yarde does carry the power to hurt Beterbiev. But I believe it’ll be one shot that does it if he is to win.
I’m not saying he puts him out cold but if Beterbiev does get up, he’s not recovered. I believe he’s gotta throw plenty of feints, make Beterbiev fall short and make him over commit. He’ll bring the hooks around really well. Especially that right hook. He’ll chop it down well. If he can make Beterbiev fall short, he can bring that right hand over the top.
Andy – I’d tell him he has to be confident. He has to tread that fine line between being aggressive and proactive and looking to impose himself on the fight but not give anything away. He can’t be gung-ho. Joe Smith Jnr was gung-ho and got decimated in a couple of rounds. You can’t do that at this level against somebody like Beterbiev. It is a fine line but he’s got to look to try and get his respect.
If he can land something nice and sharp on him early just to give him something to think about, that would be ideal so I’d tell him that he’s gotta be confident. He’s got to tell himself that, “I’m the younger, fresher and more explosive fighter. I’m the bigger single punch power boxer in this fight. I’m gonna take it to this old man as much as I can and see if he’s still what he’s always been.”
The age is a question. It will be a factor for Beterbiev at some point – that might not be Saturday night – but it’ll happen at some point because he’s 38.
32Red – What happens on Saturday night?
Denzel – I think the fight ends in a knockout. I don’t necessarily want say which way but I am Team Yarde. I hope he can get the knockout. He does hit hard and Beterbiev has been down before from other big punchers. If Yarde can step on the gas between rounds three and four and try to get him out of there before six then happy days if he can do it. If not, he might have to dig in for the twelve. It’s hard to say which way but I don’t think this fight goes the distance.
Anthony – Listen, Yarde I certainly believe has a puncher’s chance and handled himself well the one time he was at world level before. I believe it’s hard to look past Beterbiev. Not only is he unbelievably heavy handed, he’s got a great boxing brain and moves his feet well. I see an unbelievably exciting four or five rounds. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Yarde have a bit of success and for Beterbiev to feel a shot or two. But I just see Beterbiev landing a little too often and it’s over inside five rounds.
Andy – I’m a painfully logical and rational person. I look at what has happened in real life before a fight to give me the best indication of what is going to happen. All of that tells you that Beterbiev is going to win this fight. But I don’t think it’s going to be straightforward for him.
I would say a stoppage mid to late would be the percentage call on this one. That doesn’t necessarily mean that is what’s going to happen but given the evidence available to me I would imagine there is going to be a stoppage in this fight whichever way it goes and you have to make Beterbiev the favourite to achieve that.
To see all our latest boxing markets, check out 32Red Sport here. If you’re up for a flutter on table games or the slots, be sure to check out our award-winning casino too!