The much-anticipated match-up between three-time light heavyweight champion and current WBO Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) and mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) is a modern-day “Clash of the Titans.” Both fighters have reputations as hard-hitting punchers. Kovalev brings to the table his extensive resume which includes his 15 consecutive world title fights, his ability box as well as punch and his devastating jab. Yarde has an impressive 94% knockout-to-win ratio, a nine-year age advantage and the hubris that accompanies a nearly perfect professional record. These two warriors will square off in Kovalev’s home town of Chelyabinsk, Russia tonight at the Traktor Arena. Below is the scouting report for this exciting match-up:
Experience and power are the two biggest assets for the champion coming into this bout. He also has arguably one of the most effective jabs in boxing when he commits to using it.
The challenger is young, athletic, and just hitting his prime. He has ferocious power in both hands and fights with extreme confidence.
Kovalev needs to tidy up his defense for this bout, Yarde is very heavy-handed and can end the fight with one shot if landed clean.
Yarde is very inexperienced. This will be his toughest fight to date and he has yet see the championship rounds.
Krusher has been competing exclusively in title fights since 2013. This will be his 16th consecutive title fight.
This will be Yarde’s first shot at a world title and by-far the biggest fight of his career. This is just his second time fighting outside of the UK; he will be in legitimate hostile territory for the first time in his young career.
Kovalev has always been known as one of the biggest punchers in the sport. He has knocked down and stopped fighters that have never been stopped; including current Interim WBA titleholder Jean Pascal on two separate occasions.
Anthony has made a name for himself as a power-puncher. He has stopped his last 16 opponents and has quickly established himself as major threat in the light heavyweight division because of it.
Sergey has a quick jab and throws rigorous combinations behind it.
Yarde has good speed and likes to fight at close-range, unleashing vicious shots to both the head and the body.
Although Krusher is known for knocking out his opposition, he has proven numerous times that he has the gas tank to go the distance, including his last fight where he earned a unanimous decision win over Eleider Alvarez to recapture his title.
Anthony’s endurance is still to be determined, he has knocked out 17 of his 18 opponents and has yet to see the eighth round.
Kovalev has a pin-point accurate jab which allows him to deliver thunderous shots behind it.
The challenger does not waste shots; he likes to fight at close-range and deliver as much punishment as his opponents can withstand.
Sergey is an offensive-minded fighter who stays in attack mode from start-to-finish. When he commits to his jab it is very difficult for his opposition to get going offensively.
Up to this point in his career, Yarde has been all power and offense. He has not had to utilize any real defensive tactics other than the shoulder-roll which he has shown in some recent fights.
Kovalev has been stopped twice in his career, most-recently in his first bout with Eleider Alvarez in August of last year.
We are going to find out on August 24th just how durable the challenger’s chin is; he has yet to be in any real danger with any of his previous opposition.
Krusher is not a fighter who is looking for a decision win, he likes to use a sharp jab to create openings and opportunities to break his opponents down both physically and mentally.
Anthony is a strong and heavy-handed fighter who wastes very little time once the first bell rings. He fights with utter confidence and lets his power do the talking.
Chelyabinsk, Russia is where the champion grew up, the crowd will be overwhelmingly pro-Kovalev.
UK fans are loyal so it would be no surprise if some Yarde fans make the trip. However, he should still have a significant disadvantage coming into hostile enemy territory.
Considering Yarde’s power, this may be the closest thing Sergey has seen in his career to fighting a duplicate of himself. That is why this fight is extremely risky by the champion. However, Sergey has taken risks his entire career. He understands that as long as he has the man to beat in the light heavyweight division, he will have a target on his back. He wants to continue to fight the best in the world.
Anthony Yarde has a rare opportunity to prove to the world that he can handle the pressure of fighting the best light heavyweight in his own backyard. He has spent almost his entire career fighting in the UK, so to embrace this fight in the champion’s hometown speaks volumes regarding his confidence and just how badly he wants the title.
Will Yarde be able to handle the presser of fighting outside his comfort zone in the UK?
Will Kovalev be able to handle and stay away from Yarde’s power?
Will Yarde be able to handle going around with Kovalev’s jab, combinations, and power?
Will Kovalav be able to handle the presser of fighting in his hometown for the first time in his career?
READSergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde this Saturday LIVE on ESPN+ & BT Sport
According to Main Events matchmaker, Jolene Mizzone, “This is a great match-up, there is so much to say about both guys and their willingness to move forward with this fight. We all know it was a mandatory, but we have seen guys duck these mandatory fights before. The fact that Kovalev was willing to give a young up-and-coming Yarde the opportunity to fight for his WBO Light Heavyweight Title and Yarde was willing to go into Kovalev’s backyard to fight him, to me that says a lot about the mentality of both fighters. I think this fight will be nothing less than fireworks!”