'I'm ready for anything': Anthony Yarde interview
As he prepares for a showdown with Commonwealth light-heavyweight champion Lyndon Arthur, Anthony Yarde reflects on his defeat against Sergey Kovalev and much more...
Anthony Yarde dared to be great when he stepped into the ring with the experienced, dangerous and then WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev last August.
With only 12 amateur fights and a reputation for knocking out opponents , the 'Beast from the East' lost but lost with honour and in taking himself out of his comfort zone he showed the world exactly why he deserves a place among the elite.
With the recent announcement of a huge domestic showdown with Commonwealth light-heavyweight champ Lyndon Arthur on 11 April, BM spoke to Yarde about why and how this fight has come about, his clash with Kovalev and much more...
BM: What are your thoughts on your bout with Lyndon. After a world title fight, why head back down the domestic route?
AY: To be honest I haven’t seen too much of him. To me he is just another fighter that is standing in my way. I have seen my name mentioned by him but to be fair there are a lot of fighters that mention me. It’s part of the game. Fighters call each other out to get those fights made. I don’t see me fighting for the Commonwealth title as a setback. I won the Southern Area title. If a good fight is presented to me and my team, regardless of what we are fighting for, we will take it. I want to fight the best and I want to test myself in every fight with good prospects.
BM: You recently came off a win in a six-rounder in Madrid. The fight was kept under wraps. What was the reason for this?
AY: I had been out the ring since the Kovalev fight. Taking time out for any fighter is always good as you have time to reflect and think about what you want to do next. I took the fight in Spain more for myself. I didn’t want a fuss. I just wanted to get back in the ring and ease myself back in slowly. We had also been told that there could be an opportunity to fight in a final eliminator for the world title, so in order for me to qualify, I had to come back off a win. I needed to get rid of the ring rust. Sometimes fights like this don’t need the media attention. I knew why I was doing it and I only needed my team there. I just take each fight as it comes and if it’s a chance to fight for a world title again, then it doesn’t matter who it is or where I’m fighting. I have a job to do.
BM: What was the biggest thing you learned after the Kovalev fight? What was the experience like?
AY: I learned that I’m mentally strong to deal with anything. We knew we were taking a risk when we accepted the fight. But with great risk comes great reward. Kovalev is a tough fighter. Strong and experienced and even at his age, he showed he still had what it takes to compete at that level. I am not the type to brag. In life we have to take these chances. It's life changing for me, my family and my team. I wasn’t the only one that learned. We all learned from that fight. I am proud of what I did. I went to his back yard and won over a lot of fans. That fight has been a positive thing for me.
BM: If you could choose any other sport other than boxing, what would you have taken up and why?
AY: I would love to have been a footballer. I’m a massive Arsenal fan so playing football like most kids when they were growing up was something we all use to dream about. Another sport I would have loved to taken up professionally is basketball. I watch it a lot and have gone down to watch current UK Champions London Lions a few times. The problem with basketball in the UK is that it’s not promoted enough and doesn’t get as much coverage like it does in America or even Europe.
BM: What are we likely to see from the 'Beast from the East' this year? Another world title shot?
AY: I tend to focus on one task at a time. I've got the fight with Lyndon approaching, so my energy is on training hard for that fight. Once I have taken care of business, me and my team will sit down and discuss next steps. I never look beyond what’s coming up. I am always training and my mind is always focused. I'm ready for anything.