Artur Beterbiev v Anthony Yarde
Live on BT Sport
Big fights return to the big smoke
The first major professional boxing show of the year from London will be staged at Wembley Arena on Saturday. The Frank Warren-promoted card sees Russian KO artist Artur Beterbiev take on local fighter Anthony Yarde with three versions of the world light heavyweight title at stake.
Beterbiev is the champion, pre-fight betting favourite on the Betfair Exchange and boasts a 100% KO average from 18 contests. He ranks among the most dangerous and exciting names on the boxing scene and will be a future pound-for-pound star of the sport.
Can Hackney challenger Yarde stop that run and add more titles to GB boxing's impressive collection?
The 'who needs them' club
Beterbiev, 37-year-old Russian-born fighter based in Canada, brings a professional record of 18 wins from as many contests, with all previous bouts ending early. He is one of the most entertaining fighters competing in any weight class today, and his perfect KO average places him firmly in the 'who needs them' category. Artur is a man opponents try to avoid at all costs, as there looks to be no stopping his drive to the top of the division.
Despite his clean record and earth-shattering natural power, Beterbiev isn't yet the number one light heavyweight in the world. That's currently in the possession of Dmitrii Bivol, and that's a match fans want to see this year. But to stand any chance of facing Bivol in a unification bout for huge prizemoney, Beterbiev must beat Yarde and do it in style. Victory is crucial, but so is putting on a show, leaving fans and promoters wanting more.
Due to his form and world championship belts, it's no surprise to see Beterbiev start as the red-hot betting favourite. Backers will find a 19th straight win trading at 1.192/11 on the Exchange. Those looking for more appealing odds should play the method of victory market. Artur by KO/TKO is the obvious choice at 1.331/3, or there's a tempting 7.613/2 available if you fancy him to secure his first points win.
Yarde scores a KO comeback win
Yarde takes on one of the biggest fights of his career, knowing what a win could do for him. His opponent may be the media darling this week after punching his way into contention for the number one spot, but Anthony could gatecrash the party. Snatch victory in London before his adoring fans, and he'll jump the queue, pushing himself into contention for some money-spinning bouts and major titles.
The hard-hitting and energetic Englishman makes the short journey from East London to Wembley with his professional boxing record detailing 23 wins against two defeats, with 22 victories inside the distance, one stoppage loss, and the other on points. The 31-year-old was taken out in round 11 by Sergey Kovalev in Russia for the WBO world title in 2019. The other blot on his copybook was a split decision points loss to Lyndon Arthur two years ago.
Since losing to Arthur, we've watched Yarde win each of his three comeback bouts, including a stunning fourth-round stoppage of Lyndon to level the score. Will he make it four wins on the bounce by claiming a colossal scalp? You can back Yarde to win at 6.86/1 with a KO/TKO 8.415/2 and the points verdict on home soil 21.020/1.
Back Beterbiev's frightening run to continue
This should be a great fight, with Yarde enjoying more success than his critics expect, but Beterbiev is the clear winner of this bout for me. We are seeing something special from this big-punching champion; there's more to come. He's a talented boxer with an extraordinary ring IQ and the ability to set the pace to suit his style.
Back Beterbiev to silence the crowd and stop Yarde late to continue his winning streak. It may not be the result domestic fight fans want, but Artur will gain thousands of new supporters across the UK when they see his exciting style and power up close.