By Kenneth Friedman: Anthony Yarde and his trainer Tunde Ajayi didn’t do any sparring in preparation for Saturday’s title challenge against WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in Russia. They don’t believe sparring is necessary to be successful in the sport. Ajayi recently shocked Boxing fans when he revealed that he’s his sparring partner.
Can Yarde beat a world class fighter with his unorthodox training methods?
On Saturday night, we’ll see if Yarde’s unusual training methods will lead him to victory over Kovalev. If Yarde gets obliterated by Kovalev, as many believe will be the case, there will be a stampede of fans calling for him to sack Ajayi. In Boxing, it’s important for top level fighters to get high quality sparring in order to prepare them for what they’ll be dealing with inside the ring.
Yarde lacking in experience and sparring
In Yarde’s situation, he’s lacking in this area. Moreover, he’s deficient in experience against top tier fighters. Yarde has never fought a world class contender before during his career. Further, Yarde and his trainer Ajayi could be in for a shock on Saturday. Yarde has been doing things backwards his entire career, and we’ll see what the end result of that is when he shares the ring with Kovalev.
“I am his best sparring partner because I believe, like in the old Kung Fu movies, that the teacher is the trainer of the student,” said Ajayi to thesun.co.uk.
#LIONSINTHECAMP it’s a mentality!
— Anthony Yarde (@thebeastyarde) August 21, 2019
Can Yarde succeed without preparation?
Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) isn’t the first elite fighter that didn’t spar. Former two division world champion Sergio Martinez didn’t spar, and he was quite successful during his career. Martinez had massive experience, and he had the benefit of an amateur career. Yarde’s amateur career consisted of 12 fights, and in the pros, he’s been matched against strictly substandard opposition. The type of guys that Yarde has fought are fighters that would prepare him to face a journeyman level fighter.
“I sometimes look on YouTube and see people label videos ‘Anthony Yarde sparring his trainer Ade’ but that is not sparring, that’s just practice,” said Yarde to thesun.com.uk. “We practice getting attacked, countering and attacking your opponent back, in intelligent ways. Everyone has their own methods, when Muhammad Ali was coming through I am sure people said he leaned back too far, had his chin too high and dropped his hands too low,” said Yarde.
Yarde comparing himself to Muhammad Ali is a little strange, because those two are different fighters. Ali won an Olympic gold medal in 1960, and he was a highly decorated amateur. He didn’t cut corners by not sparring, and he didn’t turn professional in a hurry the way that Yarde did.
Anthony Yarde: My life changes on Saturday
“I’m just ready to fight now to be honest,” said Yarde to BT Sport. “110%, I’m ready to go. I’m always focused, but I’m going to be extra focused now. Come Saturday night, my life changes. Chill out,” said Yarde when asked what he plans on doing before he faces Kovalev on Saturday. “I’m going to eat some food, get plenty of water, and rehydrate. Come Saturday night, I’m going to demonstrate. It’s a normal fight. I take every fight serious. It’s going to be the same procedure. Everyone is going to see on Saturday night. I’m one of those fighters that rises to the occasion,” said Yarde.