'If Yarde can't beat Kovalev, his career is over!' Fury backs Brit to shock Russian for WBO title
Former world heavyweight champion Tyson Fury has backed his fellow Brit Anthony Yarde to beat Sergey Kovalev in Russia when the two clash for the WBO light heavyweight title this weekend, saying Kovalev is “on the slide”.
Undefeated prospect Yarde surprisingly landed a shot at veteran champion Kovalev in his homeland, despite never having fought at world level during his 18-0 career.
Nevertheless, Fury is still picking the 28-year-old to prise the WBO belt from three-time light-heavyweight title Kovalev when they meet at ‘Traktor’ Ice Arena in Chelyabinsk on Saturday, and the Manchester man believes that home advantage for ‘Krusher’ will not be a deciding factor.
“Some people can’t fight off their own soil, me, I can fight anywhere because it’s bred in me. I can fight on a cruise ship or in a swimming pool if it was emptied out. But that’s me, and we’re going to see what Anthony Yarde is made of. I think he’ll do it,” Fury told BT Sport.
“And I think if he can’t beat Kovalev then he should forget about it because where is he going? I’m not saying Kovalev is useless but a good younger man should beat a good older one. I believe he’ll do it and that he’ll be a good little champion.”
Unbeaten Fury, the self-titled ‘lineal heavyweight champion of the world’, himself went abroad to win the title from Wladimir Klitschko in the Ukrainian’s adopted homeland of Germany in November 2015.
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Kovalev has built up a reputation as an elite KO-artist since bludgeoning another British fighter, Nathan Cleverly, in four rounds to first become champion in 2013.
One year later he became Ring magazine ‘Fighter of the Year’ after beating Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins, before dropping a couple of fights back-to-back to Andre Ward.
He won back the title but then lost to Elder Alvarez last year, winning a rematch to become champion a third time but, at 36, some believe the time has come for Kovalev to hand over the baton. Fury believes the heir apparent to the title is Yarde.
“I fancy Anthony Yarde, I really do. I think Kovalev is on the slide, he’s been a very good world champion in his time and he’s done very well, but i think the Andre Ward losses have beat the sh*t out of him really,” the 31-year-old said.
“He lost the fight to [Eleider] Alvarez then came back to beat him but I think a young man will always beat an older one and that’s my motto. I fancy Anthony Yarde to knock him out, not just beat him on points, but stop him, because thats what he’ll have to do in Russia.”