The past few months have seen a series of fights that seem to make the future of the Light Heavyweight division clearer. A division that even after the retirement of its superstar, Andre Ward, has plenty of compelling plotlines.
First, there is the continued rise of Anthony Yarde. The British prospect cruised to a TKO of game Frenchman Tony Averlant in March. Yarde spent time at Mayweather Boxing Club in Las Vegas and was is even able to bring that Michigan shoulder roll with him into the ring at points during the fight.
Averlant marked a step-up in class for the young fighter from Manchester but, Yarde came through with flying colors showing the ability to go to the body and cut-off the ring even more.
Yarde will likely next fight for the British Light Heavywieght title but, if he has plenty of battle left in him then it might be interesting to see him fight Sullivan Barrera, the skilled Cuban with a suspect chin who was knocked out by Dmitry Bivol earlier this year.
Bivol looked like the future of the division and a fight with Kovalev seems to be likely at some point. But, for now Kovalev seems content to continue to build confidence fights like his upcoming match on August 4 in Atlantic City, New Jersey against Eleider Alvarez.
Another talented fighter in the division is Badou Jack, the Swedish-Gambian fighter has no natural fan base (as boxing was illegal in Sweden from 1970 until 2006). However, he is one of the fight games most talented fighter.
Jack, like Yarde, trained in Las Vegas and in fact, he is based in the city. Jack and Yarde would be an entertaining fight because there is some overlap in their defensive styles that it could make for an interesting fight.
Jack is often called “Jack the Ripper” as in the infamous 19th-century slasher. Jack has mostly made victims of the English, defeating George Groves and fighting to a draw with James Degale in a fight in which he knocked the tooth out of his British opponent.
Yarde would love to be the first British fighter to deal Jack a loss but, for now, Jack seems set to seek a rematch with Adonis Stevenson in a fight that was scored a draw by two of the three judges.
Jack, Barrera, Bivol and Kovalev all await the young Yarde who will fight next in late June at London’s O2 Arena.
Header photo courtesy of Anthony Yarde on Instagram