Feature | Aug 16 2019

Lyndon Arthur: ‘I’m all for Yarde winning against Kovalev’

Rising British light-heavyweight Lyndon Arthur speaks to Terry Dooley
Lyndon Arthur
Action Images/Reuters/Ed Sykes

MOSTON’S Lydon Arthur has largely flown under the radar as he attempts to make his way towards the top of the British light-heavyweight rankings. The Pat Barrett-trained, Frank Warren-promoted contender meets Ghana’s Emmanuel Anim for the vacant Commonwealth title on October 12 on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s IBF featherweight title defence against Sofiane Takoucht and the 28-year-old firmly believes that he will use the stage to announce himself as an imminent threat in a decent division.

Arthur is jostling for position alongside the likes of Anthony Yarde, Joshua Buatsi, Callum Johnson and other quality domestic operators as he bids to become king. London rival Yarde hopes to steal a march on everyone else by going to Russia and beating WBO holder Sergey Kovalev next Saturday, and he has the complete support of his domestic rival, who will be waiting in the wings for a shot at the title should Yarde bring it back to the UK.

“Someone like Yarde is on his journey,” Arthur told Boxing News. “He is grafting away in his own lane — we are all on our own journey in this sport. If he is getting success in there and using it to support his family then I can only support that as another British boxer even though it is a tough away job for him.”

“Yarde is a hard puncher,” he added. “We don’t know what Kovalev has got left, but, again, Yarde is out there fighting in Russia so it is going to be a hard task, one that is a lot different from being the A-side on those London shows.

Lyndon Arthur on Anthony Yarde
Yarde is in Russia to challenge Kovalev for the WBO light-heavyweight title Action Images

“He has got a good chance, though, because we’ve seen Kovalev has been beaten before and was stopped against Andre Ward. It is a question of how much he has left. I hope Yarde goes out and causes a massive upset as it would be great for British boxing. I’m all for him winning that fight.”

Arthur will be a keen observer on the night. He keeps a close eye on his domestic rivals as well as anyone else that he can learn from. After a limited amateur career and with only 38 rounds in 15 pro fights — all wins with 12 stoppages — he is keen to continue to develop under Barrett as well as taking tips from his peers.

“I watch all the shows,” he said. “I like to keep up with British boxing and also the world fights. I watch a lot of it on YouTube, and I take little bits and baps from people that I like watching for future use. There are good, hard fights out there for me and I’ll be in them eventually.”

Yarde’s decision to travel for his big shot is perceived as either a calculated risk against a faded name or an act of foolishness that will see him come a cropper. Arthur, though, argued that the 28-year-old still has time on his hands and that he has seen first-hand that defeat can be a turning point if you learn from the circumstances that led to it.

Cousin and stablemate Zelfa Barrett lost to Ronnie Clark last year and went on to pick up the Commonwealth super-featherweight title with a decision win over Leon Woodstock in June, a sure sign in Arthur’s mind that adversity can be quickly overcome if you have the right attitude.

“Zelfa is family, I’m following in his footsteps because he’s ahead of me with the titles and fights,” he concluded. “It is good to have someone so close who is ahead of me — I can keep myself on track as I try to catch up to him.

“Zelfa had the loss so I learned from that and the way he bounced back from it with a win over Woodstock, who is a great fighter. Zelfa can give me good advice on stuff that I’ve not done yet.

“Zelfa saw [criticism], he looked at it all and moved on. I am in the gym with him, I know what went wrong and what he could do to fix it so I wasn’t shocked to see him do it so quickly. I believed in him one thousand percent. There’s not too much advice you can give to a fighter or a friend who has been beaten, I guess you just have to be there to support them if and when it happens.”

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