There is a crowded light-heavyweight scene in the UK right now, but Anthony Yarde believes he will not only emerge as the pick of the bunch but he is the one people have already heard of.
Yarde looks to avenge his defeat against Lyndon Arthur on Saturday night at the Copper Box in East London. But Arthur is not the only other talented light-heavyweight in Britain right now, as Joshua Buatsi, Callum Johnson, Callum Smith, Craig Richards, Rocky Fielding, Shakan Pitters and new British champion Dan Azeez are all vying for superiority.
“I am easily the biggest name and the biggest draw among any of them – that is not me being cocky, that is just numbers,” Yarde said.
“Globally as well, I am known around the world. That speaks for itself. I’ve done some of that myself by being an exciting fighter. Your name doesn’t get out there for no reason. So, respect to Frank Warren and Tunde Ajayi, we are a team.
“I know Craig very well and Joshua Buatsi and they have done well for themselves, but right now that is none of my focus. It is just this fight.
“We are about to skyrocket from this Saturday onwards.”
Numbers will count for little unless Yarde can gain revenge over Arthur, who beat him almost exactly a year ago behind closed doors.
Arthur claimed a split points decision when they met before, when Yarde was largely outboxed before finally going for it in the final round.
He was shocked when he didn’t get the decision against Arthur, although his view has changed since reviewing the fight, although he still insists it was a close fight. He sees the experience as part of his ring education.
And while the winner is in line for a shot at the winner of the January 15 WBO light-heavyweight title fight between Joe Smith Jr and Johnson, Yarde insists that is far from his mind.
“Everyone knows I am very inexperienced and my time in the ring has been limited,” Yarde said. “Because it was a split decision and close, I got the backlash because it shouldn’t have been close, I should have whacked him out of there.
“It has been a year since then, I have been training and put my mindset back to what it was in the amateurs.
“In my second amateur fight they gave the other guy the decision, but the arena started booing. From that day my mindset was I was going to knock everybody out.”
“In my head I don’t care about it being a world-title eliminator, because I know that subconsciously that played a part in the first fight. I was thinking about the world title, when I should have just been thinking about the fight.”
There has been little bad blood between the pair when they met this week and Yarde believes they both give a good example to youngsters from inner city areas about doing the right things with their lives.
“I came from a certain background, I wouldn’t say I was a perfect child growing up, but I made the right decisions at the right time and I am basically a good person,” Yarde said. “I had a conversation with Pat (Barrett, Arthur’s long-time trainer) and he said Lyndon is like a son to him, he took him and made him stay focused and I think that is the bigger picture.
“People look to me or other people who are doing well, especially as I only started boxing at 19, it shows that you can do different things at different ages. It doesn’t have to be boxing. Just because you have finished school, you don’t have to be a gangman because you think there are no other options.”
However, Yarde says that just because there has been no trash-talking between him and Arthur, that does not mean there won’t be in future fights.
“You never know,” he said. “I’m not an actor, I’m not planning about what I am going to say, I am just being myself.”
Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.