You have to feel for Anthony Yarde. To lose an opponent days before a fight is bad enough.
It’s even worse when your biggest rival gets to top the same Royal Albert Hall bill by himself.
Lyndon Arthur was an ‘opponent’ when he met Yarde in December last year. He totally upset the applecart with his shock split-decision victory.
He was brought in to give Yarde a workout after that battling first career loss two years ago against Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light heavyweight title.
Yarde pushed Kovalev hard, giving him plenty of trouble before the late stoppage and was expected to walk through Arthur.
That didn’t happen. Now Commonwealth champion Arthur is the one with a chance to be king.
He is a nice boxer. He injured his right hand in the fight with Yarde, which might explain his reluctance to unload.
He sparred a couple of weeks ago with Anthony Fowler up in Liverpool. Fowler was impressed with what he saw.
Davide Faraci is the perfect opportunity for Arthur to put on a show. Faraci is unbeaten in 15 but should not present too many problems.
It will be painful viewing for Yarde, who has lost a bit of impetus. The defeats hurt and the pandemic has not helped.
Yarde needed the fight with Emin Atra to get the show back on the road and to prove he has what it takes to go all the way.
Yarde needs to show some reliance and demonstrate he can take a punch as well as land one.
Arthur is much more orthodox, with good movement, a great left jab and a decent right hand.
The question is can he mix it at world level. The victory over Yarde was tantalising. The next 18 months will tell.
I want to see explosiveness and excitement as well as a decent boxing brain.
That is why Yarde is box office. He goes for it, knocks people over. Arthur has to deliver some of that.
There are loads of pretty boxers out there but no-one remembers them. He has to make us sit up and take notice.
The victory over Yarde catapulted Arthur to no.1 in the WBO rankings giving him first mandatory shot at the champion Joe Smith.
Of all the belt holders Smith gives Arthur the best chance to complete an astonishing rise.
It should also fuel Yarde’s ambition to get his career back on the rails. Smith was his target too.
Imagine if the next time Yarde and Arthur meet it is for the latter’s world title. That should be all the motivation Yarde needs to come back stronger.
Follow Barry on Twitter at@ClonesCyclone@McGuigans_Gym@CyclonePromo
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