August 24: Kovalev-Yarde Headlines Special Afternoon of Boxing on ESPN+ – WBO light heavyweight championship showdown to stream LIVE from Russia beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET/9:30 a.m. PT
ANTHONY YARDE WILL challenge long-standing world champion Sergey Kovalev for his WBO World Light Heavyweight championship in Chelyabinsk, Russia on August 24. The fight will be broadcast live and exclusive in the UK on BT Sport and ESPN+ in the US
Yarde, 18-0 with 17 Kos, has again accepted the delayed mission of heading into the home nation of the world champion known as Krusher in order to fulfil the first part of his dream of holding multiple world title belts and ruling the division for years to come.
The 27-year-old now gets the opportunity to take on the most experienced and formidable of the current world champions, with the 36-year-old having clocked up 28 Kos from his 33 wins. Kovalev has operated in world title competition since parting Nathan Cleverly from his WBO belt in August 2013 in Cardiff.
“This is my time now and I am going to show the world what I am all about,” said the challenger, the self-styled Beast from the East of London. “Waiting for my time to come around could have been a frustration but we turned it into a positive and I am even more ready to seize the moment.
“Everything has fallen perfectly into place for me, this will be my coronation as world champion and I am going to realise my dream by beating the most decorated of the current world title holders.
“I am more than happy to achieve my goal in Russia and I think it is only right that a great world champion such as Kovalev is given the opportunity to defend in his home country. He has earned that right.
“What I know is that on August 24 another world title belt will be under British ownership and I will have done it the hard way, one that nobody will be able to question.
“My promoter and my manager have made all the right moves to get me into this position and I thank Frank Warren and Tunde Ajayi for creating this opportunity for me. They have done their part and it is now up to me to deliver.”
Frank Warren said the self-belief of his light heavyweight star was the key to accepting a mandatory challenge on away territory.
“It is a fantastic opportunity for Anthony and he has earned his shot by working his way to the No.1 spot in the rankings,” said the promoter. “He has showed what he is all about by being prepared to go into Kovalev’s back yard and it demonstrates the confidence he has in his own ability.
“Everybody knows Kovalev is a tremendous puncher and a fearsome presence in the ring. It is something we first saw over here when he fought Nathan Cleverly and he has continued to operate at the very highest level.
“Anthony possesses tremendous self-belief and we back him to come away with the spoils but, whatever does happen in the fight, it is one that he will take a lot of valuable experience from.”
Yarde’s trainer-manager Tunde Ajayi added: “We’re here now! It’s been stage by stage, it’s been calculated and everything is timing, which I have said from the start.
“The time is now and we are about to shock the world. I cannot remember a fighter with so little experience going over to another man’s back yard to take on a great champion, so I don’t want to hear any excuses when Anthony knocks him out.
“I know that is going to happen.”