Anthony Yarde ‘will face Joe Smith Jr. this year and become world champion’
KO King Anthony Yarde (22-2, 21 KOs) is the no.1 contender for American Joe Smith Jr.’s WBO World Light-Heavyweight title, and that fight is likely to happen this year.
The Ilford man is now on a mission to clean up the 175lb division after knocking out Lyndon Arthur in four rounds last month, getting revenge for a controversial points loss one year earlier.
His trainer Ajayi told Dev Sahni on The Lowdown said: “The longer Anthony has to prepare and get better no one is beating him. I believe this in my heart.
“When the time is right, because everything is timing, Anthony Yarde will beat all the guys in a fashion where he we won’t leave no doubt, just like Lyndon Arthur.”
Yarde’s outspoken trainer added: “I have said it over the years, ‘Tunde Ajayi has never trained a fighter to win on points’. Anthony’s record speaks for it. Anthony is a knockout merchant.
“I didn’t see anything new from Joe Smith Jr in his defence against Steve Geffrard. Anthony Yarde is a different proposition.”
“Like us he has come up the tough way and always had his back against the wall. He is a fighter continually getting better having dethroned some legends of the sport.
“We went up against a legend (Sergey Kovalev) and come up short. Joe Smith came up against one, Bernard Hopkins and knocked him out.
“From my perspective Frank Warren will do what he always does and deliver. The WBO have said Joe Smith has to fight Anthony Yarde next.
“People expect Anthony Yarde to win a World title. Joe Smith talks paydays and Frank can deliver that. Joe Smith isn’t getting the Canelo fight so he has to look at us.”
After just 12 amateur contests and 18 professional fights, in August 2019 Yarde travelled to Sergey Kovalev’s back yard in Chelyabinsk and challenged for the Russian’s WBO World title.
Yarde almost pulled off one of boxing’s greatest upsets in round eight badly hurting the champion, but the Briton’s lack of big fight experience told and he was stopped three rounds later.
Ajayi says: “With experience comes wisdom. We now have the wisdom not only in the fight but out of it in terms of preparation for a World title fight.
“Even stuff like the media obligations. We never had that before Russia. We just went there with nuts and guts and faith in our abilities, but I think we are there now.
“We are going to become World champions. We have the right team. James Cook has been the cement that we needed to solidify the team.
“We’re looking forward to the Joe Smith fight. That is the only fight on my mind at the moment, but we are not frightened by anyone.”