Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde explained: What is going on with WBO light-heavyweight title fight?

2 weeks ago
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CONFUSION

This bout was supposed to take place on June 29 in Russia, but that’s no longer happening

Sergey Kovalev’s WBO light-heavyweight title defence against Anthony Yarde is encountering all sorts of problems.

The Russian champion must stage his next fight against the British mandatory challenger, but has so far failed to do so.

Sergey Kovalev previously unified the titles, but now holds the WBO belt alone

Sergey Kovalev previously unified the titles, but now holds the WBO belt alone

Back in March, the WBO first ordered Kovalev to defend against Yarde, prompting a protracted negotiations period between Kathy Duva (Kovalev’s promoter) and Frank Warren (Yarde’s promoter).

With purse bids looming, the teams eventually agreed a deal in April as Russian backers entered the fray and offered to pay the Brit big money to fight on June 29 in the champion’s hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia.

Yarde reportedly signed the contract after all details were finalised in May, however the Russians never officially announced the contest.

As time drew on, worries began to build within the Yarde camp and promoter Warren stated that they were still yet to receive invitation letters which would be needed to secure visas for their visit to the country.

Not long after this, Duva told Russian media that the backers had attempted to postpone the bout to August, however this was rejected by the British team.

Anthony Yarde’s team have admitted to turning down title shots for him before, but are now ready to take the plunge

Getty

Anthony Yarde’s team have admitted to turning down title shots for him before, but are now ready to take the plunge

Warren reportedly then proposed moving the fight to his July 13 show at the O2 Arena alongside Daniel Dubois vs Nathan Gorman, but this idea is said to have been turned down by Kovalev’s camp.

As they could not stage the bout on June 29, the Russians’ deal was scrapped and the WBO have now ordered a new purse bid – effectively putting the fight back to square one.

This bid was supposed to take place today (June 11), though has now been postponed until June 24 to allow the two camps to meet in Las Vegas ahead of Tyson Fury’s fight this weekend and once again try to make a deal.

As things stand, Kovalev vs Yarde doesn’t look likely to take place until September at the earliest. The situation is still very much up in the air.

Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde Timeline

  • March 13: The WBO officially ordered Sergey Kovalev to defend his light-heavyweight world title against Anthony Yarde next. Parties had 30 days (until April 12th) to negotiate, then a purse bid would be called.
  • April 2: After unsuccessful negotiations, the WBO scheduled an early purse bid for Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde on Monday, April 8.
  • April 5: The April 8 purse bid for Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde was postponed by the WBO to allow for negotiations to continue.
  • April 18: WBO president Paco Valcarcel confirmed that the purse bid for Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde was cancelled as the parties agreed terms to fight in Russia.
  • May 11: Anthony Yarde reportedly signed his contract to challenge Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light-heavyweight world title. It was claimed that an official announcement for June 29th in Russia would follow very soon.
  • June 5: Frank Warren reiterated that Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde is signed, but hadn’t been announced by the Russian organisers: “We are waiting for them to come back and tell us what the hell is going on.”
  • June 5: Kathy Duva stated that the Russian organisers of the fight attempted to postpone it until August, but Anthony Yarde’s side didn’t agree to this. They were trying to find a solution.
  • June 7: The WBO scheduled a new purse bid for Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde next Tuesday, June 11th.
  • June 11: The purse bid for Sergey Kovalev vs Anthony Yarde has been postponed as both parties are attempting to agree a new deal. The bid will now take place on Monday, June 24th, if the bout is not agreed beforehand.

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Boxing – talkSPORT

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