Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde Preview Aug. 24th
WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev will be defending his title against unbeaten Anthony Yarde of London, England in his homeland of Russia this Saturday, August 24th. The 12-round bout can be seen live in America on ESPN+ and on TSN 3 in Canada. British fans can catch it on BT Sport 2. Kovalev reclaimed his belt in February when be beat Eleider Alvarez by unanimous decision in a rematch in February. Alvarez stopped Kovalev in the seventh round to take the title six months earlier with the Russian ahead on all three judges’ scorecards. Yarde last fought in March when he stopped Travis Reeves in the fifth round.
Kovalev vs Yarde
- Anthony Yarde +140
- Sergey Kovalev -170
Kovalev is also a former WBA and IBF champ who regained the vacant WBO title by stopping Vyacheslav Sharbranskyy in the second round in November, 2017 and then stopped Igor Mikhalkin in the seventh round in March, 2018. The champ is now 36 years old and has lost three of his last six bouts. He lost his titles to Andre Ward by a highly-controversial unanimous decision by scores of 114-113 across the board in November, 2016. He then lost by premature stoppage in the eighth round of their rematch seven months later.
Kovalev still has an impressive impressive mark of 33-3-1 though along with 28 Kos to his name and has fought 162 rounds since turning pro in 2009. His draw came against Grover Young via a technical two-round decision in 2011 when Young couldn’t continue after an accidental foul. There’s no doubt the Russian’s career is on the downswing though and he’s been stopped in two of his three defeats. He possesses a 72.5-inch reach and stands 6-feet tall.
In the past, Kovalev was basically regarded as a KO artist with a 76 per cent knockout ratio and has enough power in his fists to drop opponents with both body and head shots. However, he’s a good offensive boxer who used to have a pretty good defence and a solid chin. However, he didn’t press the action like he usually does when he fought Ward and showed his opponent too much respect. Kovalev likes to establish his snapping jab and usually punches in flurries rather than depending on one big shot.
He’s beaten the likes of Alvarez, Isaac Chilemba, Jean Pascal (twice), Bernard Hopkins, Blake Caparello, Gabriel Campillo, Darnell Boone and Nathan Cleverly. Kovalev’s a good boxer/puncher, but can get frustrated in the ring by an elite boxer, which is what happened to some extent when he faced Ward. He’s also been distracted in the past by his questionable out-of-the-ring antics and they could come back to haunt him here.
As for Yarde, Alvarez, he’s 27 years old and owns a perfect record of 18-0 with 17 Kos. He’s the same height as Kovalev but has an unlisted reach. He also carries a lot of power in his fists with a current knockout ratio of 94 per cent. However, he’s fought a steady diet of limited opponents up to now and will be taking a gigantic leap in class this Saturday. He turned pro back in 2015 and has boxed just 51 rounds since. He had a short amateur career with a mark of 11-1 with 11 Kos.
Since turning pro, Yarde has captured the English Southern Area and and WBO European Light Heavyweight Titles as well as the WBO Inter-Continental Crown, which he still owns and has defended five times. His list of opponents is far from impressive up to now though as he’s beaten the likes of Walter Gabriel Sequeira, Dariusz Zek, Tony Averlant, Nikola Sjekloca, Norbert Nemesapati, Richard Baranyi and Ferenc Albert.
Kovalev is an underrated boxer but his chin is now suspect and Yarde’s biggest weapon is his power. This could lead to an interesting fight if Kovalev can’t handle the young man’s heaviest shots. Yarde also has speed and youth on his side and this isn’t going to be an easy fight for the champion. Kovalev needs to get off to a fast start and be aggressive and not hold back on his punches. He needs to hit and hurt Yarde early and often to test his chin and make him think twice about attacking. This could go either way but with Kovalev fighting at home and Yarde being relatively inexperienced at this level I’ll go with Kovalev in a tossup.
A close call but I’ll go with Kovalev’s experience.
Play: Kovalev -170 @ BetOnline.ag
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