The much-discussed deal for WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev to face mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde is close, according to Mike Coppinger, who reports that the fight will take place on June 29 in Russia, and will be on an ESPN outlet in the United States.
Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KO) lost the WBO title to Eleider Alvarez in a big upset last August, knocked out in the seventh round. But he hired a new trainer in James “Buddy” McGirt and marched into February’s rematch with a lot of confidence, regaining the title by outboxing Alvarez over 12 rounds in Texas.
The 36-year-old Kovalev is no doubt in the latter stages of his career, but he remains a top 175-pound fighter, and will be an absolutely enormous step up for Yarde (18-0, 17 KO), a 27-year-old British prospect who most recently fought on March 8 at Royal Albert Hall, stopping journeyman Travis Reeves in the fifth round.
The fight would also be Yarde’s first outside of the United Kingdom, and Kovalev’s first in Russia since his 2016 win over Isaac Chilemba in Ekaterinburg, which was only Kovalev’s third pro fight in his home country.