Yarde not feeling hangover from Beterbiev

Anthony Yarde has dismissed the prospect of him carrying the scars of his brutal fight with Artur Beterbiev into Saturday’s with Marko Nikolic.

The date with Nikolic, at London’s Copper Box Arena, represents his second fight since he enhanced his reputation by so admirably risking trading with Beterbiev for seven rounds until being rescued by his corner.

In September he stopped the lightly regarded Jorge Silva, but at a time when Yarde is targeting Joshua Buatsi and Buatsi has spoken of his desire to fight Yarde, and having seen Callum Smith lose convincingly to Beterbiev and how few fighters have recovered from defeat by the Russian, the 32 year old is adamant that the experience has allowed him to improve.

Yarde improved after his defeat by Sergey Kovalev in the same way he did his defeat by Lyndon Arthur, which he avenged, and of his challenge for the IBF, WBA and WBC light heavyweight titles said: “I can see why that would happen to a lot of people, because [Beterbiev] takes away their soul – he beats them up for however many rounds they last. But I don’t think that was the case with me and him – we was going toe-to-toe, so if anything that gave me a lot of confidence. I didn’t have any effects or anything like that after the fight – I didn’t feel messed up. I went on a little holiday and got straight [back] into training.

“I’ve felt good. I didn’t take anymore punishment than he did in that fight, other than the shot he caught me with to finish the fight. He looked fantastic against Smith – walked through him. 

“I fought in September, and I got that guy out of there relatively easy. It’s about being active. That’s been to my detriment in the past – sometimes you get caught up in the hype of trying to please fans and you can’t please fans and be as active as I want to be [because of the calibre of opposition I’d repeatedly have to fight]. If I could I’d fight five times in a year, and hopefully at the end of that year have a world-title fight. I’d feel more prepared. 

“I get so much criticism about trying to get experience, and then when the big fights come I take them – it’s like I’m caught in between. Sometimes I go back and forth with my promotional team and management ‘cause I just wanna fight. ‘I need the big fights as well, but in the mean time I just need a fight.’”

Serbia’s Nikolic, 34, îs even more of an underdog than was Smith before his defeat last month by Beterbiev, who is course to fight his fellow Russian Dmitrii Bivol for the undisputed title on June 1.

“Depending how Smith approached the fight, I thought he might have been dangerous for maybe three rounds,” Yarde continued. “He’s got a good left hook – Beterbiev has been hit with left hooks before, [including] by Callum Johnson, and wobbled a couple of times by me with left hooks. He’s been hit with left hooks before – I thought that was Smith’s best chance. 

“But early on in that fight, I think it was the body shot – Beterbiev hit Smith with a lead right hand to the body, off of Smith throwing a combination, and when they both stepped back Beterbiev – he throws a surprise right to the body – he’s landed it and the fight was never the same, and that happened the first round. 

“After that Smith [laughs] – it’s not even funny – got hit with a body shot and said, ‘Fuck that’, and started being very cautious of what Beterbiev was doing, and that’s why the fight panned out the way it did.

"Other than the shot that he put me on the canvas with, he didn’t really land any hard shots. He landed an uppercut as well. He got me in the corner and he threw a flurry and a hard uppercut – other than them two shots, it was like a normal fight, because we was trading, and when your adrenaline is going and you’re both getting the better of each other at different points… he seemed human, until the end. The difference between me and him was he showed his experience in some of the fight; he knew when to step off; when to take a little breather; all things like that. That’s all things I’m learning."