Sergey Kovalev returns to his home town of Chelyabinsk, Russia, for a defense of his WBO light heavyweight title against undefeated challenger Anthony Yarde on Saturday.
For those in the United States looking to watch, the fight (card starts at 12:30 p.m. ET) won’t be on regular cable TV, but you can watch it right here via ESPN+, the digital streaming service from ESPN that has exclusive coverage of Top Rank fights (including Lomachenko vs Campbell on Aug 31), all the 30-for-30 documentaries and additional original content all for $4.99 per month.
You can sign up for ESPN+ right here, and you can then watch Kovalev vs Yarde live on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone (Android and iPhone compatible), tablet, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, or other streaming device via the ESPN app.
Kovalev vs Yarde Preview
While Kovalev was long considered one of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world, he has lost three times–the first three defeats of his professional career–in the last three years. The first two came at the hands of Andre Ward in 2016 and ’17, and the third was a surprising seventh-round KO against Eleider Alvarez last August.
“Krusher” got revenge for the latter, however, as he defeated Alvarez via unanimous decision in February to reclaim the WBO world light heavyweight title.
While he may not be the same boxer he was five years ago, knocking out pretty much everyone in his path, Kovalev–who is ranked first in BoxRec’s light heavyweight rankings and second in ESPN’s–is still plenty dangerous.
The win over Alvarez came after hiring veteran trainer Buddy McGirt and strength coach Teddy Cruz, who appear set to revive Kovalev’s career. The 36-year-old has aspirations of claiming all the world title belts at light heavyweight, and he sees Yarde as a mere obstacle in obtaining that goal.
“[Yarde] calls himself a lion but, to me, he is a cub. He is still young. I will get rid of his baby fur so he runs away back home,” Kovalev said. “He has a good knockout rate, he thinks that he’ll knock me out. But on Saturday we’ll show everybody what will be.
“The plan is to have all the belts and become an absolute champion. We have four champions in our division and it would be great to decide who is the strongest.”
Yarde indeed has a good knockout rate. Of his 18 professional fights thus far, the 28-year-old has finished 17 of them early. The only exception was the second fight of his career against Stanislavs Makarenko, which was only four rounds but still saw Makarenko hit the canvas in the second.
So, while he has yet to face someone close to Kovalev’s caliber, and he’ll be on the “road,” Yarde has the power to go from underdog to world titlist with one punch. And he’s not too concerned about his relative lack of experience.
“This is a fight of experience and youth,” he said. “Experience plays a part but how you perform on the night is what matters.
“I’m going to focus on myself, be the best I can be and get the knockout victory, because that’s what I feel I need to do to win the fight.”
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