Anthony Yarde’s boxing fitness shot to claim top ranking after Arthur KO

Anthony Yarde brought himself back to the top of the table, the seedings and the rankings, with a spectacular display of front-running towards the night’s title clash. Yarde’s heroics were all the more remarkable,…

Anthony Yarde’s boxing fitness shot to claim top ranking after Arthur KO

Anthony Yarde brought himself back to the top of the table, the seedings and the rankings, with a spectacular display of front-running towards the night’s title clash. Yarde’s heroics were all the more remarkable, given that he sat inside the world rankings’ top 10 in April before being sent crashing out of the competitive boxing world after a farcical split decision defeat to Daniel Dubois at the end of last year.

But following a strong win at the British trials in June and a gallant draw in Glasgow in September, the former Olympic bronze medallist from Great Britain and European super-heavyweight champion is back where he belongs: ranked number four.

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Quick guide Anthony Yarde v Lyndon Arthur Show Hide The contest is billed as an all-British clash. But Yarde is not actually British – he is of Haitian, West Indian and Dutch origin and his one and only victory for Britain came when he was 15 and a junior at London’s Cassius Clay Amateur Boxing Club, a club where a number of his fellow fighters’ fathers are former national champions. Meanwhile, Australia’s Lyndon Arthur comes from an Argentinian background but, at 18, is actually a British citizen.

Anthony Yarde v Lyndon Arthur Photograph: Nathan Benko

The boxing professionals make just three or four public appearances per year but that hasn’t stopped Yarde turning himself into a household name in a matter of months. He has attracted press coverage and now has a large fan base on social media and plenty of broadcasters and pundits keen to talk the man up as a future super-middleweight, above super-heavyweight.

Arthur, a talented but developing talent who defeated European champion Dino Barthelemy in September, had a close-fought split decision loss to the current number two at his weight, Anthony Dirrell in May but showed again that he is a real threat with his third successful defence.

Anthony Yarde v Lyndon Arthur Photograph: Nathan Benko

The 20-year-old from Bristol had shown flashes of promise while preparing for the contest but it was this spectacle that showed just how good the taller Yarde is. No expense has been spared as Yarde looks to add World Boxing Association, World Boxing Organisation and International Boxing Federation belts to the WBO Intercontinental and Euro titles and the vacated British title.

He needed just five rounds to display his devastating power for the first time in four fights and was impressive for the first seven before wearing down his young opponent in the final half of the bout. The fight was due to be contested at the London O2 Arena but under the new International Centre (HC) stadium in front of the audience of more than 4,000 capacity – the kind of ringside capacity that regular super-heavyweight title bouts attract in the UK.

“I wanted it to be in front of the British public, but having to take it to a new arena is a challenge,” Yarde said. “It’s a big ego boost.

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“After my loss at the end of last year I took some time off but it took me back to the gym and that’s when I found myself. I made some mistakes in my previous two fights, like losing focus and not focusing all my attention, so I looked to recover and get back in the gym and prepare for this fight.”

Arthur, whose nickname is Kayfide, looked slightly uncomfortable during the first couple of rounds but enjoyed his five-round lead. He started to take control of the bout around the halfway mark and improved with every round as Yarde took every chance to launch attack. He landed enough power shots to put Arthur on the canvas in the seventh round before a flurry of punches in the final round sealed the victory and the venue as a canvas.

The presence of Arthur as a heavyweight makes Yarde’s number four ranking all the more impressive but he has become a genuine threat to all the leading super-heavyweights at the top of the division.

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