Lyndon Arthur came in with the Commonwealth light heavyweight title and an underdog tag from the oddsmakers, but he left with the belt and a big win over Anthony Yarde today in London.
Arthur nicked past Yarde on split decision scores, two cards of 115-114 going his way, and a third (rather absurdly) going 117-111 to Yarde. Bad Left Hook had the fight even, 114-114, with Arthur opening up an early lead, but Yarde coming on a bit stronger late in the bout.
There wasn’t much action in this one, which didn’t suit Yarde (20-2, 19 KO) very well, as Arthur (18-0, 12 KO) was able to jab his way to the tight victory, as he kept Yarde rather easily at range a lot of the time, with the confident 29-year-old Yarde failing to cut off the ring well, and not finding the higher pace that did trouble Arthur when Yarde was occasionally able to force it.
Yarde was flabbergasted after the fight, insisting he’d won and refusing to hear suggestions from interviewer Steve Bunce that maybe he could have been busier in some rounds, which were fair; it’s also fair that Yarde would be understandably upset in the moment, so we’ll see how he responds in the days and weeks to come. We also saw, for instance, Shannon Courtenay lose a close one to Rachel Ball in August and seem to focus her blame on others at first, but when we heard from her this weekend after a return win, it was clear she’d rededicated herself and decided to get on with her career and be the best she can be.
For the 29-year-old Arthur, this is a big, big win, and puts him really only behind Callum Johnson and Joshua Buatsi on the British 175-pound scene, and even then, not far. Yarde is a former world title challenger who gave Sergey Kovalev a decent scrap; flawed as he is, he has some name value and came with a bit of credibility here, and was, again, the clear betting favorite. Arthur may not have that eye-popping, elite tier skill or style, but he is a very good domestic/European-level light heavyweight, and he was able to further expose the limitations of Yarde’s game in a frankly rather predictable way. Yarde had his successes, maybe had an argument to nick the fight, but all in all Arthur and his team probably couldn’t have drawn this up a whole lot better.
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