WBO mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde (18-0) will step up to challenge long-standing world champion Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1) for his WBO World Light Heavyweight championship in Chelyabinsk, Russia on August 24, broadcast live and exclusive in the UK on BT Sport.
The 27-year-old now gets the opportunity to take on the most experienced and formidable of the current world champions, with the 36-year-old having clocked up 28 knockouts from his 33 wins. 'Krusher' has operated at world level since parting Nathan Cleverly from his WBO belt in August 2013 in Cardiff.
BBN asked their panel of experts for their view on who wins:
Former British super-bantamweight champion
"Sergey Kovalev will beat Anthony Yarde.
I personally think Yarde has been looked after too much and now that he is stepping up a level he will get found out, and Sergey Kovalev is the man to do it."
Robbie Davies Jr
British & European super-lightweight champion
"I would say Kovalev will have to much experience, there for will chip away at Yarde Till eventually breaking him down for mid to late KO. But Yarde clearly has power and great timing, if he was to land early could turn the script on its head."
"I think it’s too early for Yarde to face Kovalev. In the home town of Kovalev it will be very difficult to beat him.
I think it will be a point decision for Kovalev."
Welsh Area super-lightweight champion
"I appreciate the bravery and belief Yarde and his team have going over there to fight such a fearsome guy as Kovalev. However I feel that Yarde, maybe isn’t overhyped, but hasn’t really been tested and think he will have bitten off a bit more than he can chew and will get beaten up.
Either that or I’m completely wrong, Yarde works his body brilliantly and carries on showing great composure to stop 'Krusher'. Either way I don’t think it goes the distance!"
"Not sure what Kovalev has got left after a 10-year-long career and at the age of 36, but not sure what Yarde has got at world title level. so going to go with Kovalev."
British featherweight champion
"Sergey Kovalev's experience, location and pedigree are just to name a few advantages here.
Yarde has youth, and fair play to him for travelling to Kov's backyard. In boxing you can’t give away all the above well unless he can KO 'Krusher', which I don’t think he can or will!
I highly rate Kov, I fancy him to win by KO, and he can’t lose in Russia on points!
Yarde has to KO Kov to win; very hard task but, again, props for going to his home."
Dillian Whyte's trainer
"Yarde kicks down the door and takes them jewels early doors!
Youth, power and strength, but experience could let him down if Kovolev gets his jab going."
"I feel Anthony Yarde wins due to his youth, freshness, and the hunger to prove he's the best."
“Firstly, full credit to Anthony Yarde for taking such a huge step up to face somebody of Sergey Kovalev’s level. He and his team have rightly come under a lot of criticism for fighting a certain calibre of opponent for so long, whilst continuously talking up Yarde as a top fighter at 175lbs.
Now he gets the opportunity to prove just how good he can be in a mammoth task against Kovalev in Russia. Question marks linger around how much Kovalev has left, but he convincingly avenged his loss to Alvarez and for me he beat Andre Ward in their first fight. This is a once-elite fighter, it is just whether he has still has those sort of performances left in the tank.
I think Yarde will prove himself in Russia without winning. I think he’ll put up a valiant fight, but fall short on the scorecards. Knockdowns for either men wouldn’t surprise me as they can both punch, but I think Kovalev’s experience at the highest level will show here.”
Former Southern Area champion
"I think that Yarde could have done with another couple of fights before taking on Kovalev because I think he’s an absolute beast!
Having said that, he’s coming to the end of his career and it could be the passing of the torch, also you have to take these opportunities when they come up, and get paid well.
Yarde has strength and he can box, the team has a great outlook and mindset and Tunde is a very positive person - Dream it, Believe it, become it!
Yarde - points win."
"Anthony Yarde to win in the later rounds.
Yarde's power, youth and reflexes are gonna' be too much for Sergey to handle."
"I have watched Anthony Yarde's rise and been willing him to do well all through his career.
However, I do feel that the jump up in levels might be a bit of a shock for him.
I am very confident in Frank Warren's ablity to guide a prospect, so his Hall of Fame stature and experience leads me to believe that Yarde has got the game plan and ability to take Kovalev out, but I'm still slightly leaning towards the champion's experience and many years at world title level to outpoint Yarde in a hard-fought fight.
I'm hoping Yarde wins by KO, even though I'm a big fan of Kov and his style. If it goes the other way, then I'm confident 'The Beast from the East' gives a great account of himself and shows he is world level and gets to stay there."
"This is a tough one, Yarde hasn't faced anyone near Kovalev's level, add in the fact he is travelling to Kovalev's home country and you would think all the odds are stacked in Kovalev's favour. But I have a feeling Yarde is going to do it, this could be the break out fight we have all been waiting for from Yarde to really demonstrate what he is all about.
I think he is going to stop Kovalev around the middle rounds."
Boxing Matchmaker / PR
"It's been a long time coming for Anthony Yarde to be involved in a competitive fight, he has been matched extremely well and while building a big profile as one of the biggest prizefighters in U.K. boxing. It’s hard to tell how good he is but if he somehow beats Kovalev it kind of rips up the general consensus of learning fights, going the traditional route etc because he has become mandatory challenger without fighting any top British light heavyweight, unbeaten boxer, boxer in his prime. That’s just my opinion, I expect Kovalev despite being in the last part of his career to have to much skill, power and experience for Yarde.
Kovalev by decision."
"Fair play to Anthony Yarde for travelling to Russia because it really is a huge ask to go over and beat someone like Kovalev in his own backyard. Kovalev isn't the fighter he was before the Andre Ward defeats and he is definitely vulnerable now at the top level, but I just don't think Yarde has the experience to pull this off, just yet.
With all due respect, you can't go from fighting guys at the level of Travis Reeves to Sergey Kovalev, it is just to big of a jump. Added to that, it will be very difficult for Yarde to go over to Russia and win on points so there is a lot stacked against Yarde.
Yarde has the ability to give Kovalev something to think about early on but, I think Kovalev will ultimately win a wide points decision."
Co-Founder of buymyfight.com
"It would be great if Yarde pulls this off but I’m going to have to say Kovalev.
I’ve not seen Yarde tested to pass fair judgement, and only from what I’ve seen I think this could be a step too far, too quick but admirable for taking the fight. Just when it seems the modern day Boxer is more interested in protecting their records, this is another good fight to get made and will only benefit Yarde win, lose or draw."
Three-time Southern Area champion
"I feel Yarde will have success in the early rounds and cause Kovalev problem with hand speed and movement, being the younger, fresher fighter, but I feel Kovalev is well established and well tested at this level and he gets Yarde out of there mid-late rounds - 6-10 by KO/TKO."
"This will be a great fight. For this fight I have to go with Sergey Kovalev. He is not the fighter he was before the two Andre Ward fights, however he still has so much skill and valuable experience at this level.
It will be in Russia as well, however you can’t dismiss the level of heart Yarde is showing by travelling there to beat him.
I will go with Kovalev by decision, however Yarde will have his moments that I believe can make this fight very intriguing."