WHILE ANTHONY YARDE is promising to bring fire and brimstone to his unified world title challenge against Artur Beterbiev on January 28, live on BT Sport, he insists he has no intention of neglecting the basics when it comes to doing so.
The big-hitting Londoner has previously stated that planned long-distance travel in fights is not really his thing and that the unbeaten Beterbiev can expect an onslaught at the OVO Arena, Wembley.
However, the 31-year-old light heavyweight contender has never been simply a crash, bang, wallop merchant. There is much more to his game than that. He works off a hurtful jab and picks his spots before detonating any bombs.
So don’t just expect him to just charge across the canvas on his night of destiny in North West London.
“How often do you see someone just go in there swinging?” asked the man with 22 KOs to his name from 23 wins as pro. “All the biggest knockout punchers, like GGG, he didn’t go in just hitting and trying to knock people out, he had a tactical approach.
“He’s got an excellent jab and used to wear down his opponents.
“Mike Tyson. People call him a brawler. Disrespectfully, for years. Only now people are starting to see the more technical side of his boxing and are saying this guy was a masterful counter-puncher.
“Even early in your career when you are fighting people you are ‘meant to beat’, you find prospects struggling with these guys because you don’t just go in and knock someone out. It doesn’t work like that. It is boxing, it is an art.
“You’ve got to pick someone apart and then land the shots. I said this early on, my thing is I am a powerful, accurate puncher. I find the shot and, when I find it and land it, people are going to feel it.”
Yarde has done his best to resist sweeping change to his style as he climbed the levels in the pro ranks. Fighters, quite naturally, adapt their game plans as the danger increases, but the key, according to the Ilford man, is not changing in response to credentials being doubted from the outside.
“It is a mixture because, in my mind, I said I don’t want to run into the unknown. But, at the same time, I don’t want to have somebody else’s career. That is what happens in boxing and people are telling you, you should be doing this, you should be doing that.
“If I listened to everyone that was saying things I would not be where I am today. When I started boxing people said all sorts of things until I would do it.
“It is a compromise, you can’t please everybody, in boxing or any sport, really.
“When Mike Tyson was knocking out everybody, I remember watching one of his fights with the commentary on and they said that people were starting to say he was fighting nobodies. People are always going to have something to say.
“Then when he went 10 rounds they said he was not the real deal, after all. So you can’t win. If you go 10, win every round and don’t get hit, they say the guy you fought was nothing, but he didn’t knock him out like we wanted to see. When you do get the stoppage, some people say you knocked him out too early, ‘what is he learning from that?’.
“He is learning how to knock someone out! That is what he’s doing.
“That is my thing as well, the more I knock people out, the more I have learned how to do it in different ways. That is the way I see it.”
Artur Beterbiev v Anthony Yarde for the WBC, WBO and IBF world light heavyweight titles takes place at the OVO Arena, Wembley on January 28, live on BT Sport. The bumper card also features the WBA world flyweight title fight between unbeaten fighters Artem Dalakian v David Jiminez.
Willy Hutchinson and Karol Itauma fight for the WBO Intercontinental and WBC International light heavyweight titles respectively, with the show also featuring top prospects Charles Frankham, Umar Khan, Sean Noakes, Joshua Frankham, Khalid Ali and Tommy Fletcher.
The show also features the highly-anticipated professional debut of World Youth Champion Moses Itama.