WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev will face off against his hard-hitting mandatory challenger, Anthony Yarde, in a highly anticipated showdown Saturday, Aug. 24 from Traktor Arena in Kovalev’s hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia.
Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KO) is a veteran of 15 world title bouts and has won the light heavyweight world title on three occasions. A former unified champion, he revived his career in February by scoring a wide points win over Eleider Alvarez, the man who’d knocked him out less than six months prior.
In Yarde (18-0, 17 KO), he faces a London native with a giant hand who is taking a giant step up in competition. Yarde has won his last 16 bouts by knockout, most recently stopping Travis Reeves in five rounds in a bout that streamed on ESPN+.
Anthony Yarde believes WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev is a bit nervous about their upcoming fight. In the opinion of Yarde, the veteran was looking for a way out of this mandatory obligation. For Kovalev, there was a very lucrative fight on the table with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, but in order to make that opportunity come together the Russian boxer would have had to pay a very large step-aside fee to Yarde. “The vibration I’m getting is that he doesn’t really want to fight me. He’s thinking ‘this guy has only had 18 professional fights, he only had 12 amateur fights and I’m a future Hall of Famer, I can’t let this kid come and beat me.’ But that’s what’s going to happen,” Yarde told BT Sport.
Kovalev is the most experienced world champion among the current beltholders, and he’s been in world title competition since knocking out Nathan Cleverly and capturing his WBO belt in August 2013 in Cardiff.
Yarde has promised to end the 36-year-old boxer’s career with a knockout. Kovalev has other ideas. The Russian veteran is motivated to punish Yarde for his weeks of trash talk.
“I will show who is the boss here,” Kovalev told BT Sport. “He can say everything he wants, but say and do is two different things. I’m already mad with guys like him. He will pay for everything he posted and said. He’s just a kid, not a lion. A little kitten. Small kitten.”