Anthony Yarde has his second shot at light-heavyweight gold when he meets feared Artur Beterbiev in London on Saturday night.
The London challenger is the underdog against the heavy-handed Russian, as he was when Yarde challenged Sergey Kovalev in his previous title attempt in Russia back in 2019.
“I think everything is just different,” Yarde said, about how he feels this time around. “He’s not Kovalev, Kovalev was years ago, almost four years ago, it’s a completely different situation, venue, time… I’m a completely different person in all aspects. I’ve matured. I feel fantastic.”
While coach Tunde Ajayi admitted hard lessons were learned in Russia, Yarde is more thoughtful and acknowledges that it’s helped him become the man and fighter he has become.
“It’s experience,” Yarde added. “It’s all just building blocks, to build me as a person.”
Some have talked about this being Yarde’s time and his destiny but there’s no question he’s the underdog at the Wembley Arena. The build-up has been cordial but the fight could be explosive. Beterbiev has knocked out all 18 men he has faced while Yarde has stopped 22 of his 23 foes.
“There’s no respect once you’re in that ring,” Yarde continued. “We respect each other now and after the fight there’s going to be respect. That’s when you know a fight is going to be serious, when there’s two people in there that respect each other and with the styles we have…”
Yarde was typically respectful at the media workouts on Wednesday, but he made time for TV and media outlets and was in relaxed form while giving the champion his credit.
“He’s a world champion, he’s the current unified world champion,” said Yarde. “If you look at what he’s accomplished so far, it’s amazing, and that’s what amps me up. So, again, I beat him, I deserve some respect.
“He’s never been in a situation where he’s lost. But for me, it’s all about me. That’s the way I am. That’s the way I operate. It’s about me and my legacy. He’s just the person with the belts.”
And Yarde is the person with homefield advantage and he will have the fans behind him, unlike the’previous title chance in Russia.
“I just feel like this one feels right. This one feels better. [The Sergey Kovalev fight] didn’t. All that matters is when we get in that ring. Everything that’s said before is all he said, she said possibilities and things like that. When we get in the ring, that’s when we’ll see. I’m ready. I just feel like it’s that time.”