ANTHONY YARDE TOOK onboard a tough lesson in just his second amateur fight that should serve him well when he enters into what is likely to be hostile territory at the Traktor Sport Palace in Chelyabinsk on Saturday evening.
The Beast has now landed in the East to take on Sergey Kovalev with the WBO world light heavyweight title at stake and will face off with the Krusher at 11am this morning (UK time) at their first and final press conference.
It is obviously a tall order against the six footer known as Krusher, especially with the fight taking place on his home patch, but Yarde is anything but overawed. Becoming world champion by knocking out an elite champion, after bludgeoning his way to mandatory position, he views as his destiny and what he imagined for himself all along.
“I’m just excited – very, very excited,” said the 28-year-old just prior to departure. “It has been sinking in but, at the same time, when you really believe something you wouldn’t act all surprised if you really believed it in the first place.
“I had an epiphany – I don’t know if that is the right word – that I was meant to be a boxer. I feel like I got very excited back then because I saw it all happening. I saw myself becoming a world champion, I saw myself getting into the rankings, knocking out a lot of people and it has all happened.
“In the beginning it is surreal and a bit scary and when it is all happening you are thinking ‘wow’ because when I first started people were telling me it was impossible.”
Right from near enough the beginning when Yarde laced up the gloves and pulled on a vest, he discovered he needed to force the issue when he got into the ring. The option of styling it out quickly became a non-starter.
It is a mindset he will need to employ again in the Kingdom of Krusher on Saturday.
“In the short space of time I was an amateur I learned a lot with the main thing being just to do you,” he explained. “My coach at the time told me to take my time because if I knocked people out then I would get no fights.
“The one time I did go the distance they took it as me showboating and they gave the other guy the decision even though he knew he didn’t win and tried to give me his medal afterwards.
“I learned a lot from that fight and much of it was to do what your intuition tells you to do. Don’t go out there and play about.
“After that fight, which was my second, I knocked out everybody. I was like a lion when it sees meat in every other fight I had.”
Sergey Kovalev v Anthony Yarde for the WBO world light heavyweight title is live and exclusive on BT Sport 2 from 5pm on Saturday