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Anthony Yarde: Kovalev is frustrated that he has to fight me

Anthony Yarde
Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
In his own words Anthony Yarde explains that he's expecting the best of Kovalev even as he heads to Russia full of confidence

I’M A very strong believer in God. I believe God provided us with a universe that you can mould to how you want it. If you plant a seed you get a tree. If you plant an apple seed, you get an apple tree. If you plant a seed of success, you get success.

But you can’t be too specific. You can’t say, I want an apple tree with some plums on it. You plant your seed, you work hard towards it, you nurture it and you get what you want.

You’re not in control of the time, how long it takes or how it comes, you just have to be willing to take what comes with it. For me, that means going out to Russia. You have to be willing to take on challenges and sacrifice.

Are Sergey Kovalev’s best days behind him? I don’t think like that. From what I see, in his last fight he looked sharp. He looked sharper than he has looked in recent years. I feel like he’s still there, I don’t feel like 36 is old at all. I’m sure Floyd Mayweather was 36 when he fought Canelo and for me that’s one of Floyd’s best performances ever. I don’t really look at the age, I just look at him as a human being and I just think about what I’m going to do on the night.

He’s probably going to want to put on a show on home soil so I’m not underestimating him thinking ‘he’s on his way out’ or ‘this is some retirement fight’. I feel like he’s going to prepare himself properly.

The vibration I’m getting is that he doesn’t really want to fight me. He’s thinking ‘this guy has only had 18 professional fights, he only had 12 amateur fights and I’m a future Hall of Famer, I can’t let this kid come and beat me’. But that’s what’s going to happen.

I feel like that’s what’s going to make him nervous. He’s been in with big names before like Andre Ward but there’s no embarrassment if you lose those kind of fights. But I’m just a kid from east London who started boxing at 19 years old and worked his way through the rankings.

Experience in the ring has been minimal because I had 12 amateur fights and 11 of them were knockouts. Now 18 professional fights and 17 knockouts.

Anthony Yarde vs Sergey Kovalev
Anthony Yarde travels to Russia to fight the feared Sergey Kovalev Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

His reaction when he was told he had to fight me was probably frustration. He probably had his eyes on some other people he wanted to fight instead. There was talk of him fighting Canelo and when I saw that I just giggled because it’s just more publicity on our fight. My name’s in the mix now and it shows what’s going to come in the future.

I don’t know how it’s going to go when I’m out there. I’ll just adapt. We have given ourselves enough time to acclimatise, get used to the atmosphere and get the mind right. Then come fight night I will go out there and do the job.

Food wise, I’ll try and find a supermarket and try and find things that don’t look too foreign. I’ll have normal food: tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, chicken and fish.

I’ve heard people say we will be going into a hostile environment over there but I was born in Hackney, and one of the most dangerous moments of my life happened right there. That day guns were pulled out on us by elder guys. The same thing happened to me in south London, I shouldn’t have been there, but then the car just came out of nowhere.

I saw a lot of bad things happen by people I know and to people I know. But it’s very multicultural in east London. I’ve been chased by a group of young black boys, I’ve been chased by a group of young Somalian boys, I’ve been chased by a group of elderly white guys.

But now, I’m on a straight path and when you think about positive things, positive things follow you. When you think negative, that’s what you get. That’s what the universe will give you.

Yarde takes on Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title, on BT Sport 2, Saturday August 24, 5-9pm.

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  • A lot of mumbo-jumbo and irrelevant stuff in this interview – however it’s good to know that Yarde realises that Kovalev isn’t finished yet on the evidence of his last fight under new trainer Buddy McGirt.

    Although Anthony has a wiser and healthier attitude to the fight than his promoter, Frank Warren, IMO he has, at best, a puncher’s chance. I expect Kovalev to find the KO punch at some point – if so it will be interesting to see how Yarde reacts to such a loss.

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