Unbeaten Commonwealth Light-heavyweight champion Lyndon Arthur faces by far the toughest test of his credentials at championship level when he faces Hackney’s former world title challenger Anthony Yarde at The Church House in Westminster, London on Saturday 5th December. The fight will be shown live on BT Sports 1.
The 29-year-old Yarde won some new fans when he travelled to Chelyabinsk, Russia to challenge two-time WBO world Light-heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev in August 2019.
Yarde was given a boxing lesson from the seasoned veteran Kovalev but very nearly turned the tables in the 8th round when he had the champion in dire straits. Kovalev used all his guile and experience to ride out the storm before ending matters in the 11th round, sending an exhausted Yarde to the canvas. Yarde probably learned more about himself in that defeat than in all his previous contests. Even taking the fight in Russia was seen by many as a bad move on the part of Queensberry Promotions boss Frank Warren, but the 68-year-old who can now boast 40-years as a professional boxing promoter, knew enough to know that even a good defeat for his client that far away from home would give the youngster such valuable experience, that it was worth it regarding risk/reward.
The 29-year-old Champion known as “King Arthur” (17-0-0) has yet to face the sort of test that Yarde did against Kovalev so it stands to reason that Yarde should start as a slight favourite.
Yarde also carries more power in his punches than the champion from Manchester who has 12 stoppages from his 17 wins. Both champion and challenger boxed Dec Spelman in their last contest, Arthur successfully defending his crown for the first time with a unanimous decision, and Yarde scoring a 6th round stoppage.
The champion has a dangerous, languid jab that could cause Yarde real problems. Arthur’s style is that of a relaxed, fluid boxer with decent if not devastating power. He can switch to southpaw and back with ease so, Yarde needs to take him very seriously indeed.
It wouldn’t be fair to say that either fighter has the better assortment of opponents on their record while they have been learning their trade but, if you had to then, maybe Yarde has a couple of more seasoned operators on his resume if you leave the Kovalev assignment out of the argument.
Home advantage no longer comes into play now that boxing can only take place in front of limited or no audiences. Both boxers have to live in “The Bubble” in the week before the fight so, there are no advantages or disadvantages for either party.
So, who wins this British 175lb battle that should see the winner move onto bigger things, probably on the European or World stage? Both have looked capable of making the step up but, for me, Yarde will have the edge in power and experience over Arthur and I can see him getting the job done before the final bell. Arthur hasn’t shown any weakness around the whiskers but, Yarde is an exceptionally heavy puncher as he proved against Kovalev.
Prediction: Yarde to win by stoppage.