The Friday Faceup

World title challenger Anthony Yarde (right) fixes gaze on elite Russian world champion Artur Beterbiev at this afternoon’s weigh-in.

The weigh-in’s done and we’ve a fantastic fight ON for tomorrow night at the OVO Wembley Arena, London.

The unified world light-heavyweight title is on the line between undefeated Russian champion Artur Beterbiev and local challenger Anthony Yarde. It’s a match-up with great promise and intrigue, but what can we expect in terms of an outcome ?

Beterbiev is clearly the more experienced and intimidating of the two. His 300+ amateur fight pedigree and 100% KO record as a pro has earned him the favourite tag with the oddsmakers. Anthony Yarde though is a ‘live’ opponent with an excellent KO record and only two defeats, once at world level.

Yarde is the more chiselled of the two being alluded to by Beterbiev as “a bodybuilder”. The Russian having more of a boxer’s physique.

The Londoner can win this fight if he jumps on Beterbiev from the opening bell and lands one of his strong punches, and then follow’s up with regularity, caution and speed.  However, weighing all factors up we don’t see this happening and think that could ultimately be his potential undoing. Beterbiev will be expecting this, and having faced all sorts of styles and intense starts in his lengthy amateur career we see him much too shrewd to fall for it.

Yarde would be better to be more circumspect and use the early rounds to feel his way in, but also carefully offload his heavy shots when the opportunity allows, paying particular attention to counters and in retreat. We expect Yarde, bouyed by passionate home support and understandable nervousness having been stopped before and in with a known puncher to fire things up early. We expect him to mix it up, but, whatever he presents to the champion, him to withstand the early onslaughts.

Artur Beterbiev is 38 years old but still at his peak. Many pre-fight parallels have been made with Ricky Hatton’s victory over Kostya Tszyu in June 2005, but we see this more like Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovokin’s victory over Kell Brook in September 2016. One where class and experience told going down the stretch.

We expect Beterbiev’s class to lead to a systematic unravelling of the challenger, and Yarde’s outstanding physique to be part of the Londoner’s undoing. Muscles like his result in lactic acid reducing stamina, ala Frank Bruno, and we expect him to eventually burn out after nine rounds. There may be knockdowns but we expect Beterbiev to continue to enhance his KO percentage with the referee coming to Yarde’s rescue midway through round 10.

It will though be exciting for as long as it lasts and Yarde’s reputation will be enhanced during defeat.

At today’s weigh-in both fighters checked in at 12st, 6lbs (174lbs) with the champion being 4oz heavier. Both being inside the 175lb championship weight limit.

The event has a second world title fight at flyweight between Ukrainian champion Artem Dalakian and Costa Rico’s David Jiminez, plus a number of British prospects at other weights, including an appearance by the Itauma brothers. Younger brother Moses makes his debut at heavyweight.

It is co-promoted by Queensberry and Top Rank and will be shown live on BT Sport 1 from 7pm in the UK and on ESPN+ in the USA.

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