British light-heavyweight Anthony Yarde will challenge Sergey Kovalev this summer for the Russians world title, according to promoter Bob Arum.
The WBO World Champion was mandated to fight Yarde, 26, last month after the Brit rose to number one in the governing body’s rankings.
However, after Yarde’s team seemingly dismissed the idea of travelling abroad for the bout, hopes were fading as to whether a deal could be struck.
That was until Kovalev’s co-promoter, Bob Arum of Top Rank, suggested that the fight is now all but confirmed. He told Boxing Social:
“Right now the plans are to have the fight in Russia…Frank Warren and Yarde have agreed the terms, and we’re getting an appropriate date in June or July for that fight”
If the fight does indeed go ahead as planned, British fans can look forward to a busy summer of boxing, with Anthony Joshua set to make his U.S debut on June 1, followed by Tyson Fury returning in Vegas a fortnight later.
Questions have been asked as to why Yarde and his team are now open to fighting in Russia after previously ruling out the concept. But as Boxing pundit and historian Spencer Fearon alleges, the financial reward on offer may have been a persuasive factor:
Twitter: I have just heard from a good source that @mranthonyyarde has been offered $4.2m from a Russian billionaire for the… https://t.co/cpLLsWVb7y (@Spencer_Fearon)
For Yarde, it’s also a significant step up in quality, as his last fight, against veteran American Travis Reeves, saw him face a man ranked 29th in the world by BoxRec.
Kovalev meanwhile, currently ranks as the world’s best light-heavyweight, after out-pointing Eleider Alvarez in a February rematch, to reclaim the belt he lost last year.
Prior to that, Kovalev’s only two defeats came against pound for pound star Andre Ward – a sign of the Russians pedigree, and more importantly, experience.
Should the fight take place this summer, Yarde has a chance to become an overnight star of British boxing, as for many, the task of beating the “Krusher” in his own backyard remains an unenviable one.
It could prove to be too much too soon for Yarde, still only 18 fights into a promising career, but if his team have timed this one to perfection, they may catch Kovalev at just the right time, with the champion having just turned 36.
Arum expects an announcement to be made in the next few days, and if that is forthcoming, a blockbuster fight awaits – one that could see Yarde return to Britain as it’s newest boxing world champion.