Former English light-heavy champ Dec Spelman previews Artur Beterbiev vs Anthony Yarde
The Battle of the Beasts – Artur and Anthony ready to clash in the capital
Managed by Carl Greaves and trained by Al Oster, former English light-heavyweight champion Dec Spelman (19-6, 9KOs), now campaigning at cruiserweight, breaks down the highly-anticipated unified world title clash between WBC, IBF, WBO light-heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18KO) and hard-hitting mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde (23-2, 22KO) in London.
Both boxers have 40 KOs between them so their fight on January 28 is set to be a fiery exchange between two powerful punchers.
BBN called upon 30-year-old Spelman, known as ‘Kid Nytro’, for his unique viewpoint, as he fought against Yarde at the York Hall in Bethnal Green in June 2020. So who better to offer an insight into the first unified title clash of the year.
From your first-hand personal experience, what does Anthony Yarde do well?
“When I boxed him, he had very good timing. I was well in the fight, and I don’t believe that I got the best version of Yarde, to be honest. He came back off that year out and, to be honest, I felt really comfortable in that fight.
“He is strong, he’s a stiff puncher, but he’s not got one-punch concussive power; he’s nowhere near the biggest puncher I’ve been in with. It’s the timing of his shots and he’s very stiff-handed, and, obviously he can punch, but I think his best asset is his timing, and he keeps relaxed under pressure.
“We’ve never really seen him under that much pressure, even when he got beat against Lyndon he was on the front foot, he dictated really. If you let someone like Beterbiev put you under, you’re gonna get hammered aren’t you.
“What I also found was that once that we started putting punches together – in twos and threes and fours – we did catch him fairly easy. When you’re in with a counter-puncher, you have to play a numbers game.
“If you watch, he has set patterns, he drops to his right all the time. He comes back, drops to his right then to get out of range he jumps. He’s got set patterns that I wouldn’t say are easy to read, but when you’re in there you do notice them. He has got a lot of habits, so they’re [Beterbiev’s team] gonna see things like this.
Beterbiev had a long amateur career, spanning 300 bouts, winning European and World Championships, competing in two Olympics, whereas Yarde fought just 12 times. How much will that education play a part in this fight?
“It’s the depth of experience in the amateurs… so has Yarde seen somebody like Beterbiev before? No, he hasn’t. He’s never been in with anybody like that. Has Beterbiev seen people like Yarde? More than likely, probably 10 times over.
“So to answer that question; Beterbiev, does he have the answers? Probably. But not just that, he’s got a very good team around him.”
How do you rate Yarde’s chances in this fight?
“I like Tunde [Ajayi] as a coach, the odds are stacked against them and they know that; they’re going in there against a pound-for-pound No.1 fighter, but when a guy’s got a punch, he’s got a chance.
“His body shape, his structure; he might be able to outbox him for three or four rounds, possibly, but after that… he’s not built like a boxer is he. I’m not saying he can’t do the rounds, he can, he’s done them before, but that’s the question mark he’s always had over him. It’s that Frank Bruno effect, he looks like a bodybuilder type, and over 12 rounds at a brutal pace that they will set… they don’t just go for the win that team, they go for the kill. And it will come to a point in the fight where he [Beterbiev] will stick it on him whether he’s winning or not.
“With Beterbiev, everyone just looks at his crushing power, but people are underestimating his jab, and although any fighter can adapt, I just think seeing what Kovalev did a few years back, I can just see it happening all over again but even quicker.
“I’ll certainly be rooting for Yarde but it’s a tough ask, isn’t it. But then look at what Callum Johnson did, he stuck it on him… is he gonna do that? I’d like to think he would do that, I think that’s the way he should go out and really just stick it on him.
“At some point he’s gotta have to put it on him, or it’s gonna come down to one of the performances where he’s gonna go in, take a run around, then get stopped anyway.”
Spelman confirmed he is back in training preparing for a big fight in February, with further news to be announced soon.