Fight Previews

Can Yarde Take Down Kovalev in Russia?

Kovalev vs. Yarde

The next WBO Light Heavyweight title fight is set for this Saturday, August 24, 2019 at the Traktor Sport Palace in Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Top sportsbooks like Bovada have Sergey Kovalev, the reigning WBO Light Heavyweight champ as a -200 favorite.

However, Anthony Yarde is a short underdog at just +160. When we look at this matchup from a betting odds perspective, these odds fall right into ‘upset territory.’

The Fighters

Anthony Yarde is a 28-year-old British boxer with impressive punching power. How impressive? Well, he has a 94.5 percent knockout-to-win ratio. Yarde has been so brutalizing in the ring that he has either won by KO, TKO, or corner stoppage in 17 of his 18 professional bouts–including 16 straight.

Although he did obtain the Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight title, this is the first true championship fight on his resume. Furthermore, he’ll have to face Sergey Kovalev a long way from home and in the hostile territory of Russia.

As far as character is concerned, Yarde has plenty. He stated that he is happy to face Kovalev in Russia, and that Kovalev is a grand champion who has earned the right to defend his title in his backyard.

Even though this is the biggest fight of Yarde’s career, he doesn’t seem phased by the pressure. Moreover, he seems to be graciously humble, yet determined to get the job done against whoever, wherever.

Sergey Kovalev is one of the most decorated Light Heavyweights ever. That said, he is aging and has taken three losses since 2016. Granted, two of those losses were to Andre Ward, and one was to the tough Venezuelan, Eleider Alvarez, which he redeemed himself from in the rematch to win by unanimous decision.

Will the champ’s age make him vulnerable to the younger fighter’s speed and exceptional power?

The Matchup

The biggest questions surrounding this fight revolve around experience, ring IQ and age. Kovalev is at the beneficial end of two of these factors, while Yarde snags the third. When it comes to assessing Anthony Yarde, the question one must ponder is … is he ready for this? Yes. He has a plethora of impressive victories. But against whom?

He has to travel to Russia’s innards to face a vastly more experienced fighter on his home turf. That right there, is a tough ask. Although one can reasonably argue that Yarde, at this point, is the more physically impressive fighter, he is going to have to overcome Kovalev’s fight IQ. On top of this, Kovalev is not the smaller fighter. The two are equal in height, but Kovalev has a slight reach advantage.

Also, let’s not forget that the Krusher has more knockouts than Yarde has professional fights. So, even though Sergey is sliding because of age, he is by no means without power. Although it would be uber-impressive to see the Brit go into Russia and take the win home, it’s tough to know if it’s something he can do just yet. This is the fight where we see how good of a boxer he actually is, not just how powerful he is.

Will Yarde be able to slip punches against a worthy foe?

All in all, look for Sergey Kovalev to retain his WBO title. But, this will be an exciting fight. It’s hard to image Kovalev simply going in and mowing Yarde down easily. This could even be a fight that is competitive enough to warrant a rematch.

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