Anthony Yarde vows to beat Kovalev then to face Brit rival Buatsi

Anthony Yarde is happy to wait until he has won a world title before he takes on Joshua Buatsi – with the WBO calling him to face world champion Sergey Kovalev.

 

The WBO No2 ranked light-heavyweight moved to 18-0 after stopping Travis Reeves in five rounds last week – and found himself as mandatory challenger for Kovalev’s title.

 

WBO champ Kovalev and Yarde now have until April 12 to agree terms for the fight until it goes to purse bids.

 

But the Londoner revealed he will only focus on the challenge when it is made official – and insists the world title belt is the target, not Kovalev.

Yarde said: “As a fighter, from the beginning I’ve been fighting what’s in front of me.

 

“I try not to focus on anything that’s not in front of me – for example, the Kovalev fight, that may never even happen.

 

“I’m not focused on who the person is, it’s the world title that is in my sights, and in time I feel like I’m going to get my hands on it.

 

“I’m not a manager, I don’t have a manger or promoter’s license, I’ve just been beating who’s been put in front of me.

“The same thing would happen if it was Kovalev, a tune-up or another world champion in front of me – I have a job to do.

 

“I feel like I have the beating of all the world champions, right now – and with that time will tell.”

 

In 2018 Yarde was offered the chance to challenge Kovalev for the WBO strap – but his management, along with trainer Tunde Ajayi, decided to decline.

 

On reflection the 27-year-old agreed the decision was right, as he was allowed one more year of gaining and building experience in preparation to box at world level consistently.

 

Yarde said: “I was offered the fight in 2018, and my team decided to turn it down – and after we had the conversation I agreed it was the right decision.

 

“At first I jumped at the opportunity, but they explained to me that the challenge wasn’t winning the fight, it was about boxing at world level after that.

 

“We know I’d win the fight, but I needed to gain that experience before fighting at world level consistently and building yourself to have the best possible career.

 

“But other than that it’s a trust factor for them to find the right opponent. I do my job in the background, making sure I’m in the right places, making sure my profile is being built.

 

“It’s a team effort, you have a team for a reason.”

 

Yarde finds himself in a booming 175lb with elite level champions such as Dmitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev and Oleksandr Gvozdyk also holding world titles.

 

While domestically fans have wanted Yarde to face off against the likes of Callum Johnson, Hosea Burton and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Buatsi.

 

But for Yarde, he is willing to wait until he has won a world title until he faces off in a huge domestic showdown with Buatsi – believing fans can sometimes be “very impatient”.

 

Yarde added: “It’s all about making smart business moves.

 

“It’s like people say me and Buatsi should have been fighting three or four fights ago, which makes absolutely no sense.

 

“Look at when Lawrence Okolie and Isaac Chamberlain fought, it was way too early, they both agreed it was a rubbish fight and stunk out the venue.

 

“They both needed more experience being on that particular stage. People are very impatient, but then they moan if the two fighters don’t deliver.

 

“Sometimes you have to wait till both fighters are in their prime, and moved up in level.”

 

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