Return Of The Beast: Anthony Yarde Prepares For Wembley Comeback

'The Beast From The East' returns this Saturday on the Zhang/Joyce II card
17:00, 19 Sep 2023

Anthony Yarde returns to the ring this Saturday on the undercard of Joe Joyce’s heavyweight rematch with WBO ‘interim’ champion Zhilei Zhang. It is the first time Yarde has fought since he lost a WBC, WBO and IBF light heavyweight title challenge to Artur Beterbiev in January.

Yarde went toe-to-toe with the undefeated champion in their Wembley Arena bout. Beterbiev was rocked by the Hackney contender and even suffered a cut in a war of attrition. But the 38-year-old fought through the pain to stop Yarde in the eighth round, retaining his unified belts.

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For Yarde it was second-time unlucky in a world title fight. The 32-year-old first proved he could hang in these scenarios in 2019, when he gave then-WBO champion Sergey Kovalev all he could handle before succumbing in the 11th round. In the eighth, Yarde had the champion on the verge of defeat before ‘Krusher’ fought his way back into the bout. Two world champions hurt by the fists of ‘The Beast from the East’, but no belts to show for it for Yarde.

Yarde has the power to hurt the very best at light heavyweight. Beterbiev and Kovalev are two of the most feared champions of recent years. Both were a razor’s edge away from losing their belts to Yarde. Only two fighters have ever taken the Brit the distance. Journeyman Stanislavs Makarenko lost a four-rounder in Yarde’s second fight. Lyndon Arthur, who just picked up the spurious IBO light heavyweight title, won a split decision against Yarde in 2021. ‘The Beast’ avenged that reverse by stopping Arthur in four rounds in their rematch.

Yarde fights on Saturday against an as-yet unnamed opponent. The fact his opponent hasn’t featured in promotion this late in the day suggests this will probably be a keep-busy fight for Yarde. But it is a bout that will still provide an interesting look at a world class operator. Will the Londoner be able to pick himself up from another bruising defeat and come back stronger? Will the killer instinct that has seen him knock out 22 of his 23 victims still be there in abundance?

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We have seen fighters become gun-shy after stoppage losses in recent years. Anthony Joshua has never truly looked like the same man since Andy Ruiz Jr stopped him in a 2019 upset. Caution has replaced the once-lethal punching that took Joshua to the heavyweight crown. Is that loss of edge partly due to the fact the two-time heavyweight king has been there and done that? Perhaps Yarde will retain his ruthless streak as he is still chasing world titles, rather than looking back on them like ‘AJ’ is doing.

Now is an opportune time for Yarde to re-emerge, with a British light heavyweight super-fight on the horizon. Unbeaten stars Dan Azeez and Joshua Buatsi will face off at the O2 Arena in October. It is the biggest fight of both men’s careers and if he impresses on Saturday, Yarde would surely be at the front of the queue to face the winner. Buatsi in particular is a fight he has spoken about in the past. A fight between ‘The Beast’ and the winner of the O2 clash will surely be in line for a world title shot. 

But before he can worry about the bright lights of that potential box office attraction, Yarde must take care of business. The Beterbiev disappointment must be filed away and the rebuild starts now. Whoever is in the opposite corner on Saturday, the 32-year-old light heavyweight must make a serious statement.

boxing odds*

*18+ | BeGambleAware | Odds Subject To Change

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