While WBO #1 light heavyweight contender Anthony Yarde is promising to bring fire and brimstone to his unified world title challenge against unified WBC, IBF, WBO champion Artur Beterbiev on Saturday live on ESPN+ in the U.S. and BT Sport in the U.K., don’t just expect him to just charge across the canvas and tear into Beterbiev.
“How often do you see someone just go in there swinging?” asked Yarde.
“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.”