Hot on the heels of Daniel Dubois setting up a meeting with Joe Joyce recently, Frank Warren and Queensbury promotions aim to put the building blocks in place for a mouth watering chief support.
This Saturday night at BT Studios in Stratford Anthony Yarde (19-1, KO18) returns to box on UK shores for the first time since March 2019.
The intention is that he will meet Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight champion, Lyndon Arthur, on the Dubois v Joyce bill hoped for the O2 Arena, London later this year.
The yardstick for Anthony to measure himself against is Arthur’s last opponent, and that is exactly who Yarde faces this weekend in former English champion, Dec Spelman (16-4, KO8).
Spelman faced Arthur a matter of six weeks ago at the BT Sport Studios, and stood up to a heavy barrage from the champion before being outscored by three, four and ten points on the scorecards.
Obviously the aim here is to see if Yarde can halt Spelman inside the schedule, or if he can deal with Spelman more impressively that his mooted next opponent.
Dec has never been stopped in twenty contests so far, so it’s a tall order for the Londoner. The contest is scheduled for ten.
Yarde turned professional in May 2015 and hype built around him as he moved to 18-0.
The hype to most though seemed unfounded, as he went through a series of overmatched opponents who were never likely to test him.
He picked up fringe WBO belts along the way, and manoeuvred his way to the top end of the rankings, leading to a sink or swim shot at WBO champion, Sergey Kovalev in Russia in August last year.
The Ilford-based lion acquitted himself well, troubling the champion on several occasions, but eventually his tank emptied, and Kovalev didnt need a second invitation to close the show, stopping Anthony in eleven rounds.
Yarde was set to return in April at the O2 against Arthur, but the pandemic took hold and the whole show was shelved.
Yarde did return to action in February in anticipation of a meeting with Arthur, stopping Diego Jair Ramirez in two rounds in Spain.
In Spelman, Yarde will face a fighter that comes to win, and will not stop throwing punches in trying to do so.
Scunthorpe based ‘Kid Nytro’ has lost his last two fights, firstly dropping his English belt to Shakan Pitters in September last year, before taking on Arthur in a spirited effort.
Dec is 5-4 in his last nine outings, but has been matched tough, and at the top end of domestic level each time.
Prediction: It would be a statement if Yarde could get the job done early here, and it’s a tough ask against the granite Spelman.
The Arthur fight though was a gruelling one for Dec, and that may have taken a little bit out of him. I think Yarde can crank up the pressure after halfway and score a late stoppage as Spelman begins to tire.
The undercard sees a cracking Middleweight clash at the head of affairs. The vacant IBF European belt is the prize as domestic rivals, Mark Heffron (25-1, KO19) and Denzel Bentley (13-0, KO11) face off in a contest that has been brewing for some time.
Oldham-based Heffron swiftly moved to 21-0 as a professional on a diet of mainly journeymen before running into Liam Williams for the vacant British title in December 2018.
The Welshman was moving up in weight, but dominated to hand Heffron a tenth round stoppage loss.
Heffron has won four straight since, but all against fighters with negative records. He last boxed in February, stopping Ondrej Budera inside a minute.
Bentley represents a dangerous assignment for Heffron, and the Battersea resident has racked up 11 wins via the short route out of 13 victories.
We last saw Denzel in July as he impressively broke down Mick Hall, forcing him to retire after six rounds.
Prediction: This is a tough one to call, but I lean towards the fresher Bentley to overcome some early pressure to halt the brave Heffron in the later rounds.
Ekow Essuman (13-0, KO5) looks to impress on the card as he makes a long awaited debut under the Frank Warren banner.
The Nottingham based Botswanan challenges for the IBF European Welterweight title against Paris’ Cedrick Peynaud (8-7-3, KO4).
Peynaud is best remembered for dropping Conor Benn twice in a six rounder back in December 2017 before being dropped twice himself in a points loss.
The rematch seven months later was a much clearer affair in Benn’s favour. Peynaud was last seen in January, dropping a wide decision to Anass Messaoudi over ten in Belgium.
Essuman is the current English champion, and has made two defences of the belt that he won against Andy Keates in October 2018.
His last contest was in November 2019 at York Hall, stopping Curtis Felix Junior in eight. Essuman should be able to chalk up a clear points win here.
Prospects make up the rest of the card, with Lightweight Mohammad Ali (4-0, KO1) in action as well as Bradford’s Amin Jahanzeb (7-0, KO2) at Featherweight. Josh Frankham makes his debut at Super-Welterweight.