Lethal light-heavy Anthony Yarde claims that he has the perfect ally in his corner on his quest to title contention; the Lord Almighty himself!
The powerfully put together 5ft 11in Ilford demolition man made a spectacular entry to the profession last year, splattering three of his four victims inside four minutes.
‘I’m a strong believer that every good attribute is given from God and he’s blessed me with a lot of natural raw power,’ contends the hammer fisted Hackney born hope who commences his 2016 campaign in a four rounder against Slovakia’s unbeaten Robert Kertesz at the York Hall on Friday.
‘But it’s more my speed, accuracy and precision that allows me to stand out. Too many powerful young fighters telegraph their shots which make them easy to block.
‘I used to putt the shot and the explosive hip rotation required for that is very similar to the movement needed to get maximum force into your punches. I was also a sub 11 second 100metres sprinter and the fast twitch muscles required for that certainly supplements my punch power.’
Debuting last May, the 24 year old’s combustible fists have limited him to just eight rounds of action in his four starts.
‘My amateur team always claimed I’d be far better suited to the pros and I’m really loving it,’ claims the former QPR trialist.
‘My second fight I broke my right hand so had to outbox the guy. I got lots of plaudits for my skills that night but, I’m not going to lie, I really wanted the knockout.’
In boxing, nothing sells better than a genuine kayo kick and naturally Yarde’s trail of terror has caused quite a commotion among the capital’s fight fans.
‘We’re getting there,’ he quips.
‘I’m still relatively new to the sport so I’m happy enough to stay quiet and humble at this stage of my career and dedicate myself to learning my craft in the gymnasium. Some young pros have a few stoppages and get too big for their boots. I try not to let the attention distract me.’
Despite icing 11 of 12 opponents during a short-lived amateur career under ex ABA champion Tony Cesay at the Omnibus ABC in London’s East End, the Tunde Ajayi schooled powerhouse is aware that he’ll need to acquire some nous to supplement the knockouts if he’s to advance up the ladder.
‘I learned very quickly that boxing is not just a fight. There’s so much skill and science involved,’ acknowledges Anthony, a bright and pensive character away from the violent profession he inhabits.
‘Tunde’s a master. He preaches lots of movement and my defence has improved beyond recognition since I joined the pros. He’s also hot on relaxation. As a result, I can complete rounds far more easily when sparring.
‘Sparring good quality, experienced pros has certainly accelerated my development. In the past I’ve worked with Ovill McKenzie and for this fight I’ve sparred Tony Conquest and Tom Baker but I never like to put out (publicly) how it’s been going.’
Following a barren spell, the British 175lb class is once again upwardly mobile due to the emergence of a number of fine young talents such as Hosea Burton, Miles Shinkwin, Frank Buglioni, Tom Baker and Callum Johnson. Yarde knows that a productive 2016 could earn him an invitation to the ball.
‘Last year, I had four fights. In 2016 I’d like a minimum of six and be finishing the year at eight round level,’ he says.
‘Performing regularly provides something to focus on and is important for mental development. I want to get used to being inside the ring. A day will come when opponents are more durable and I need to build up confidence. It takes time.
‘Light-heavyweight is definitely a division on the rise and I’d like to be a part of it. I don’t really study other so called rivals. I just focus on getting myself right. In time, I feel I’ve got the qualities to make a major impact.
‘I’ll just keep working hard and building slowly. Long term, my ambition is to buy myself a house…..and one for my mum. She deserves it!’
Yarde’s two most recent victims – Manchester’s Curtis Gargano and Hungary’s Tamas Danko – capitulated in 100 and 95 seconds respectively. So does he intend chasing an even fleeter finish on Friday?!
‘Obviously it’d be nice but I won’t come out swinging wildly,’ he concludes.
‘I’d like another knockout but I’ll not look for it. I’ve the confidence that if I land clean my power will take care of business but I take pride in doing the job correctly.
‘That said, the York Hall was the one place where I had to go the distance as a pro so it’s quite important that I address that.
‘Fans need to keep a look out for me because I’m different. No other light-heavyweight prospect has my technical ability or speed. I invite fans to enjoy my journey and join me on it.’