sport news Fearsome Russian Beterbiev reveals how he turns from a 'fun guy' into an angry ... trends now
Anthony Yarde was sitting a couple of ringside seats away in the hallowed environs of Madison Square Garden last June as we witnessed one of the most savage destructions of a world champion since Iron Mike Tyson at his most fearsome.
The monstrous reputation of Artur Beterbiev had preceded his first bite at the Big Apple but a perfect all-win professional record of knock-outs was no preparation for the devouring of the native New Yorker who was about to become the 18th casualty of his merciless fists.
Joe Smith Jr had himself inflicted the first, career ending stoppage of the legendary Bernard Hopkins en route to winning the WB0 world light heavyweight title.
Artur Beterbiev and Anthony Yarde go head-to-head at the weigh in for Saturday's showdown
It was his misfortune that this should be one the belts Berterbiev is hell-bent on collecting on his way to becoming the undisputed champion of that notoriously ferocious division.
Smith came out with all guns blazing only to be mown down by witheringly accurate fire inside two rounds.
It was akin to watching a prize-ring version of the Charge Of The Light Brigade.
Our English boy Anthony could have been forgiven for covering his eyes, But this Yarde bird grew up amid thuggery aplenty in East London’s gangland streets.
The fearsome Russian insists he's a 'fun guy' who turns into an angry 'beast' for fights
His is a familiar story of turf wars, knives, guns and nights in police cells survived by finding boxing as a pathway to societal reform. Hence he reports himself unafraid by the prospect of confronting the self-professed Beast from the East at Wembley Arena this Saturday night.
We had flown the Atlantic to take stock of Beterbiev live and up close. As we stood to reflect on the carnage just wrought, Yarde calmly confirmed his willingness to go through with this weekend’s challenge for the WBC and IBF titles as well as that newly-won WBO belt.
‘Yes , this guy’s good,’ he said. ‘Very good, Powerful, Dangerous. But he doesn’t scare me. I’ve seen ways for me to beat him. I, too, have the punch to knock anyone out. And he doesn’t have my speed. Honestly, I see him as my opportunity.’
This, in fact, is Yarde’ second world title chance. With similar optimism and strength of nerve he travelled to Russia only to fall just short of upsetting Sergy Kovalev when stopped late while arguably ahead in the scoring.
Unbeaten Beterbiev currently holds the WBC, IBF titles and WBO light-heavyweight belts
The brevity of his amateur career was cited as the root cause of that failure. That remains a nagging factor in