Sergey Kovalev will defend his WBO light heavyweight title against the unbeaten Anthony Yarde on August 24, 2019, at the Traktor Ice Hockey Arena at Chelyabinsk, Russia.
Sergey Kovalev ( 33-3-1 with 28 knockouts )
Kovalev is the former unified light heavyweight champion who is known as the Krusher for his devastating punching power. His reign at light heavyweight came to an end after back to back losses to the now-retired Andre Ward, the first loss was controversial while the second one a clear knockout defeat. Kovalev reclaimed the belt in 2018 but lost to Eleider Alvarez. However, he bounced back with a strong performance in his rematch with Alvarez to win the WBO belt again.
The 36-year old from Russia is an orthodox fighter who stands 6-0 tall and has a reach of 72 inches. Kovalev has a very high fight IQ and when he is in his element, he picks his spots well and goes to work once he figures out his opponent. He has devastating punching power in both hands and is a very good finisher. The question with him is how much is left in that tank at the age of 36. Kovalev has lost three out of his last six bouts.
Odds were taken from Mybookie as of 8/05/19
Antony Yarde (18-0 with 17 knockouts )
Anthony Yarde is one of the more popular prospects in the United Kingdom right now. Known for his punching power, Yarde has powered his way to 17 knockouts in 18 wins. No opponent has ever gone past seven rounds with this powerful orthodox fighter. He began boxing at a late age and fought only a dozen times in the amateurs before turning professional in 2015.
The 27-year-old Yarde is 6-0 tall and has a reach of 72 inches. The native of Hackney, London in England is coming off a 5th round TKO of American Travis Reeves last March. To retain the WBO intercontinental light heavyweight title. Physically, he looks phenomenal and he’s looked that way in all of his bouts. However, he’s fought fringe contenders and tomato cans. He’s never faced a fighter like Kovalev before and it will be interesting to see how he steps up against a gargantuan challenge like the Krusher.
Sergey Kovalev enters this matchup as the boxing betting favorite despite him not being the once devastating Krusher in his most recent bouts. Sure, Anthony Yarde is undefeated and has an impressive record on paper. But to me, that’s all there is to him: an impressive record on paper. There is so much difference between these two in terms of ring experience and pedigree. Let’s start with the first.
Anthony Yarde fought just 12 times as an amateur while Kovalev has fought over 200 bouts as an amateur. The Krusher fought in many national and international tournaments, facing the likes of Matt Korobov and Artur Beterbiev during his younger years. Yarde cannot say the same nor does he have an amateur background to boast of. Don’t get me wrong. Amateur records don’t matter in the pros. But is’s where a fighter’s basics are nurtured and Kovalev has a gigantic edge there.
In the pros, Yarde’s level of opposition has been very questionable, at the world level at least. Perhaps the only world level win in his resume was against Nikola Sjekloca and to his credit, that was an impressive win. Other than that, he’s faced a list of nobody’s and regional level opponents. On the other hand, Kovalev has faced the best in the business and has come out victorious in most. He fought Andre Ward twice and lost. But he also has wins over Bernard Hopkins, Eleider Alvarez, and Jean Pascal to name a few.
I think Yarde has the potential but at this stage in his career, I don’t think he is ready for a fight of this magnitude against a true all-time great. Sure, we will point to youth and athleticism as a potential advantage for Yarde but let’s not look too far from the 40-year-old Manny Pacquiao outclassing the much younger Keith Thurman. Kovalev is no Pacman, but neither is he over the hill.
Kovalev has his own weaknesses. He doesn’t have the best of chins, he can be hurt with body shots and he has the tendency to fade late in fights. If Yarde can compete with Kovalev in the first six rounds, close the distance in the second half of the fight and get on the inside while trying to hurt his body, no doubt Yarde has a chance to win. But my question is if he can execute the perfect game plan with his lack of experience and quality of opposition.
I think Buddy McGirt is good for Kovalev. He knows that the Krusher is older and he knows his strengths and weaknesses. Kovalev is on the decline for sure but if he can balance the use of his skill and physical strengths, he has more than enough to beat the younger and inexperienced Yarde. I think Kovalev is going to beat Yarde and he will do so with his experience and pedigree. It will be about the old school teaching the young stud a lesson. I’m picking Sergey Kovalev to beat Anthony Yarde on 8.24.19.