Lyndon Arthur defends his Commonwealth Light Heavyweight title for the second time against Anthony Yarde at Church House, Westminster this Saturday night, live on BT Sport.
The fight was originally scheduled for various Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce undercards, but the contest deservedly gets main event status in its own right now.
Yarde (20-1, 19 KOs), who turned professional in 2015, manoeuvred his way to the top end of the rankings, leading to a fast-tracked shot at then WBO champion, Sergey Kovalev in Russia in August last year.
Yarde acquitted himself well, troubling the champion on several occasions, and could possibly have forced an early conclusion, but eventually his tank emptied, and Kovalev got a second wind, showing his class to stop Yarde in the eleventh round.
The Londoner was set to return in April at the O2 against Arthur (17-0, 12 KOs), but the COVID-19 pandemic put paid to that show, and he shook off the rust by stopping Dec Spelman in six rounds back in September.
Spelman is the yardstick for which both Yarde and Arthur are measured, as Lyndon’s last contest was also against Dec in July.
On that occasion, Arthur defended his Commonwealth belt with a clear win on the cards. Prior to that triumph, Arthur had mainly learnt his craft against the usual experienced continental opposition.
The Manchester man picked up the vacant Commonwealth crown in Leeds in October last year, dropping Emmanuel Anim in the fourth, before overcoming a cut, and his game opponent by a wide decision victory.
Prediction: Yarde starts as a heavy favourite in this one, priced as skinny as 1/9 with some bookmakers, but I think this one isn’t as cut and dry as people may think, much in the mould of last weeks’ Dubois vs Joyce fight.
Lyndon is a tall and awkward Light Heavyweight, but can box well and at 6”2, he possesses a long reach that is difficult to get inside. Yarde relies on his power, and can look laboured if he doesn’t remove his opponent early, and he also ran out of gas against Kovalev, albeit at the highest level.
I’m backing the upset here, and believe Arthur can box his way to a tight points win, possibly via split decision.
Bourke tackles Ramabaletsa
Streatham’s Chris Bourke (8-0, 5 KOs) is a man catching eyes, and the 26 year old Super Bantamweight takes another step up on this card.
Last time out in July, he lifted the vacant Southern Area title with an entertaining points win over the previously unbeaten Ramez Mahmood, and now he goes for the vacant WBC International Silver belt over ten rounds against a man with a deceiving record in Michael Ramabaletsa (18-17, 8 KOs).
The fight was called off at short notice last month due to positive COVID-19 tests returned by members of Ramabaletsa’s camp.
Bourke is a powerful punching product of the Peacock Gym, and has gradually stepped up in class in his last few fights.
Prediction: Ramabaletsa has only been stopped once, and that was over ten years ago, so Bourke will likely have to settle for a win on the cards against a tough opponent whose record is deceiving.
McCann returns against Matos
Big punching Dennis McCann sees action on the bill, as he steps up in class against Portugal’s Pedro Matos (7-3, 1 KO) over eight rounds at Super Bantamweight.
Matos took Sunny Edwards eight rounds before being stopped in April 2019, and is durable.
McCann (7-0, 5 KOs) was last seen stopping usually reliable journeyman Brett Fidoe in two in August.
Prediction: McCann is a big puncher, and will look to make a statement here by stopping Matos early. I think ‘The Menace’ can get rid of Matos within four.
The vacant British and Commonwealth Super Middleweight title clash between Willy Hutchinson (13-0, 9 KOs) and Lennox Clarke (19-1-1, 7 KOs) has been postponed.