Yarde Wary Of ‘Unrealistic’ Demands Ahead of Showdown With Buatsi

Anthony Yarde has described as “unrealistic” some of the demands being made in negotiations for his fight with Joshua Buatsi.

The rivals are expected to fight at a venue in London in June, but before they do so not only do two fighters vying to be considered Britain’s finest at light heavyweight need to be satisfied – so, too, do their long-term broadcasters Sky Sports and TNT Sports, and promoters Boxxer and Queensberry Promotions.

So sought-after is their potential showdown that world-title fights involving Caroline Dubois and between Chris Billam-Smith and Richard Riakporhe are awaiting developments ahead of potentially featuring on a high-profile undercard, and the 32-year-old Yarde said: “There’s a lot of back and forth in negotiations. A lot of unrealistic wants and things like that from certain people. 

“We’ll see what happens. I want the fight. He’s saying he wants the fight. It’s about trying to get a fair deal going, and trying to make the fight happen for ourselves and the fans.

“Nothing’s been agreed yet. With the negotiations there’s so much different things being said – hopefully we can finalise something.

“Both of them [Buatsi and his previous opponent Dan Azeez] relatively impressed me [when they fought in February]. They went out there and put on a decent fight for the fans. There was a couple of knockdowns, which was of course entertaining, and two good fighters in the ring. It was a good fight for the fans.

“If it’s a stadium fight and it sells out – icing on the cake. If not, as long as there’s a fantastic crowd, the atmosphere’s great, and it’s a good fight and I win, it’ll be an amazing night.”

Yarde’s fight with Artur Beterbiev, won by the Russian in eight exciting rounds in January 2023, was awarded Fight of the Year by the British Boxing Board of Control, and asked how he believes Buatsi, 31, would have responded to the development, he said: “No one else outside of me and Beterbiev, in that award, matter. Buatsi is still yet to take on the fight of a world title – to take on the challenge of fighting the top guys at world level. For my bravery, I was awarded that.

“It was unexpected. I feel honoured. Beterbiev’s already a legend in the sport, for what he’s accomplished so far. So far in his career he’s openly said I gave him his hardest fight. I had 12 amateur fights; I’ve always taken on the hardest challenges; the best possible challenges I also go for. So it’s an honour, but it’s disappointing that I didn’t actually win the fight I’m getting an award for – but rewatching the fight back as a fan, I can honestly say it’s one of the best fights I’ve seen. 

“The first time I watched it it was a bit emotional. I was like, ‘I was so close’; I was ahead on the scorecards with two of the judges. But he was coming on stronger and I was starting to deteriorate – that’s something for me to get experience from and work on.

“[I get reminded about it] all the time. It’s crazy. Two out of the three fights I get reminded of the most, I’ve lost. They were world-title fights against two Russians [the first was against Sergey Kovalev in Russia in 2019], but I can only take encouragement. I can only take confidence from it. Each time I’m getting better.”

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