Lions in the camp! Lions in the camp! Lions in the camp! It’s Anthony Yarde fight week, so you know what that means lads? More Tunde Ajayi entertainment!
Queensberry: Arthur vs Yarde Predictions & Results
Dec Spelman is possibly the only fan to be watching Saturday night’s action and hope for a double knockout. Beaten black and blue over twelve gruelling rounds by Lyndon Arthur, Spelman was then knocked out on his feet by Anthony Yarde just a couple months later. The results of both fights cannot be compared, mainly due to the lack of recovery time Spelman had before jumping back in the ring against Yarde. Regardless, the skill level between the two Brits is stark. One-time world title challenger, Anthony Yarde, has fought consistently at a European level and stopped many solid contenders (Tony Averlant, Nikola Sjekloca, and Travis Reeves). Lyndon Arthur, on the other hand, had only just made his first considerable step-up beyond journeymen two fights ago.
Frank Warren has put together a pretty good card, with a few prospect watches that are pretty enticing. Muhammad Ali (featherweight) is a former Olympian, and won a string of medals at the AIBA World Championships and European Championships. Karol Itauma is an Olympic Youth gold medallist and an eight-time national champion who is debuting under Fish-Eyes promotions. Last but not least, nineteen-year-old Dennis McCann returns for his third fight of 2020 in a decent challenge against Pedro Matos. Hearn better watch his back, I can hear the Jaws theme from afar.
Light Heavyweight (175)
Commonwealth (British Empire) Light Heavyweight Title
Lyndon Arthur (17-0, 12KO) vs Anthony Yarde (20-1, 19KO)
Lyndon Arthur is a decent prospect, and will remain one after Saturday night, regardless of the result. A heavy underdog, Arthur has the potential to spring a few surprises in the early rounds as Yarde attempts to gauge the range. An imposing 6’2” figure at Light Heavyweight, Arthur plants his feet and fires his jab out from down low to hurt opponents. There are no subtle tippy-tappy shots in Arthur’s locker, when throwing combinations Arthur throws every punch as the potential finisher. An issue which plagued Arthur’s game against the bottom end of the LHW roster was his lack of speed. Concrete feet meant Arthur remained in striking range for the majority of fights, while his clubbing shots were slow to the meet the target. Arthur’s recent successes, especially in the Spelman fight, have stemmed from Arthur’s newfound ability to time his counters. After an extensive time fighting journeymen, their cumulated experience seems to have rubbed off on Arthur. Rolling with punches and firing counter straights and uppercuts, Arthur has evolved his skillset to suggest that he may be able to grow beyond the domestic scene.
Anthony Yarde is fast becoming a man who needs no introduction. An athletic specimen, Yarde’s lack of amateur experience is no longer rearing its ugly head as Yarde has established himself well in the professionals. Despite falling at the final hurdle against Sergey Kovalev, Yarde took the risk by flying out to the champion’s backyard and brought the fight to the Light Heavyweight boogeyman. Gaining more clamour in that loss than any of his previous eighteen career victories, Yarde has since returned with a warm-up in Spain and a six-round dismantling of the already weakened Dec Spelman. While Yarde’s coaching team may be holding back his development into an elite boxer, his athletic skills will allow him to thrive on the periphery of world level. Sitting back on his back-foot, Yarde swivels his body to evade punishment before utilising his insane speed to land combination counters. Of late, Yarde has baited opponent’s even closer into the pocket in order to land his preferred counter uppercut. Perhaps Tunde Ajayi can bring Yarde to a world title, or perhaps Yarde will need another loss to force a drastic camp change?
Predicted Result: Yarde Decision
Arthur has cleaned up a lot of his defensive holes in the past two fights, now holding a tight guard when against the ropes and using his larger frame to lean back from shots at range. As a result, Yarde will struggle early when finding the distance needed to land off of the front-foot. Instead, Yarde should opt to stay on the back-foot and frustrate Arthur into entering the pocket. Yarde has a clear speed differential and it will prove the key divider between the two power punchers when exchanging up-close.
Result: Arthur def. Yarde // Decision (split – 111-117, 115-114, 115-114)
Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Super Bantamweight (122)
vacant WBC International Super Bantamweight Title
Michael Ramabeletsa (18-17, 8KO) vs Chris Bourke (8-0, 5KO)
I am still astounded when I peer over Michael Ramabeletsa’s record. 18-17. It is certainly not a record for the boxing casuals to get excited over. Yet if you dig a little deeper, you will uncover a thirty-nine-year-old who has refused to stop honing his craft and as a result, has hit an unlikely prime during his twilight years. After a torrid time between 2010-2012, during which Ramabeletsa lost six on the trot against domestic fighters and prospects, it looked like the South African’s career was finished. Fighting back, Ramabeletsa embarked on a career as a threatening journeyman across 2013-2018, similar in vein to Heavyweight, Kamil Sokolowski. Suddenly. 17 November 2018. Ramabeletsa shocked everyone when he stopped undefeated prospect Ryan Walker in one round and secured the English Super Bantamweight Title. Thrown in with another prospect straight after, Ramabeletsa secured his second belt on the trot (Central Area Super Featherweight) with a dominant points victory over Joe Eko. Now back at Super Bantamweight, Ramabeletsa will be looking to continue his momentum in securing the biggest belt of his career – the WBC International Super Bantamweight Title.
Cute little story aside, Michael Ramabeletsa is a tight boxer who gives very little away in terms of opportunities for opponents. Patient behind his jab, Ramabeletsa makes up for his lack of footwork by waiting for opponents to lunge in. Out of distance, Ramabeletsa attempts to counter, but more often than not clinches and wears down his counterpart. A wily striker, Ramabeletsa carries surprising power and it is most noticeable with the double body hook thrown in the pocket. Time is not on Ramabeletsa’s side, but his conservative style offers him the best possible chance for a successful end to his career.
Chris Bourke is the prospect that is risking his 0 against the crafty veteran. Having already secured the Southern Area Super Bantamweight Title against Ramez Mahmood, Bourke is a low volume fighter who aims to out-manoeuvre opponents before launching quick blitzes. With his hands low, Bourke slips most incoming damage but isn’t sharp enough yet to make the most of counter opportunities. At the moment, there is little to be excited about Bourke apart from a snappy liver hook which digs just behind the elbow.
Predicted Result: Ramabeletsa Decision
This will be a low-octane fight, with long periods of inactivity as both men wait for the other to lunge and make a mistake. Bourke is the younger, fresher fighter but his sloppy footwork will lead to him getting caught in bad positions along the ropes. Against an experienced veteran such as Ramabeletsa, Bourke’s hands low guard will be his downfall. Bourke’s power may be enough to keep Ramabeletsa from advancing too much, though. Expect a disputed split decision.
Result: Bourke def. Ramabeletsa // TKO Round 2 2:43
Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Rest of the Card
Super Bantamweight (122)
Dennis McCann (7-0, 5KO) vs Pedro Matos (7-3, 1KO)
Baby-faced Dennis McCann is touted as one of the hottest prospects in the Queensberry stable and it is difficult to argue otherwise. At only nineteen, Warren has been careful to keep McCann busy with journeymen during the start of his career. What is impressive, however, has been McCann’s willingness to seek out the kill after he stuns his prey. Constantly reaching out with his jab, McCann is able to mask his offensive footwork expertly. Not content with just hand feints, McCann also utilises the lesser seen footwork feints which constantly force his opponents to think about everything other than McCann’s strikes. There is still a lot to learn about the young lad, but the future is very bright.
Pedro Matos is a tough Super Flyweight but he will up against it when he jumps up two weight classes to Super Bantamweight. Having already been stopped twice down at Super Fly, there is little hope that Matos will be able absorb the greater punishment at Super Bantamweight. Regardless, Matos will continue to move forward with his high guard and look to swang and bang in the pocket.
Predicted Result: McCann TKO Round 3
Dennis McCann is the more natural Super Bantamweight and is the superior boxer technically and athletically. Matos will struggle to get inside the sniping range of McCann and does not have a strong enough guard to stop McCann when he pours on the pressure. Matos is a hearty fighter and will not go down without a fight, but McCann is special and will have little to fear in terms of return fire.
Result: McCann def. Matos // Decision (referee’s scorecard – 80-73)
Winner ✔️ // Method ❌ // Round ❌
Sam Noakes (4-0, 4KO) vs Y (y-y)
Sam Noakes is another fabulous prospect at Lightweight but as his opponent is yet to be announced, I cannot offer any pearls of wisdom. An opponent this late though? Expect a squash match.
Result: 🚫 Fight Cancelled 🚫
Light Heavyweight (175)
Karol Itauma (DEBUT) vs Lewis van Poetsch (9-123-2, 2KO)
Debutant Karol Itauma is only nineteen years old, but he has the potential to be a massive British star in the future. An eight-time national amateur champion, and a Youth Olympic gold medallist, it is surprising that Itauma only picked up the sport just six years ago at thirteen years old. The Slovakian-born LHW beat Ruslan Kolesnikov to win Youth Olympic gold, Kolesnikov being a former European and World Youth champion. During Itauma’s biggest amateur bout, he exhibited an excellent southpaw jab which rooted Kolesnikov and created the opening for his powerful straight left. More pleasing was Itauma’s head movement inside the pocket, able to evade the counter hooks of Kolesnikov by dipping under the shots, before launching himself up into his own barrage. The professional ranks are a completely different game to the amateurs, but Itauma has the athleticism and potential to go far.
Lewis van Poetsch is the perfect test for Itauma during his debut bout. A journeyman who is well aware of his role in the sport and is more than willing to give prospects a thorough four round test. A strong guard and plodding feet, van Poetsch is the consummate journeyman and he will be difficult to take out before the final bell.
Predicted Result: Itauma Decision
Itauma is a fine prospect that should excite British fans. The Light Heavy should be able to ride his way to a comfortable decision in his debut. Van Poetsch did cause an upset against Aaron Michael a couple years back, but Itauma was a polished amateur and should be able to cruise.
Result: Itauma def. van Poetsch // Decision (referee’s scorecard – 40-36)
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Muhammad Ali (1-0) vs Jamie Quinn (7-105-2)
It is a big name that Muhammad Ali has to live up to, albeit at the much lower weight of Featherweight. Sadly, little could be gathered from his debut against Stefan Sashev, who was DQ’ed in the second round after a multitude of foul play. It was a very strange fight and I would recommend you watch it for some lols. Ali was a former Olympian and won a host of amateur medals, however, and we will be able to get a better look at his skillset on Saturday.
Jamie Quinn is another journeyman designed to push a fighter for the allotted rounds. He is a regular on Warren’s shows so don’t expect any shock offensive output from Quinn, as he will want to keep his regular pay packet.
Predicted Result: Ali Decision
A fight which should probably be deemed Ali’s proper debut after the debacle that was his first step into the professional ranks.
Result: Ali def. Quinn // Decision (referee’s scorecard – 60-55)
Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️
Queensberry: Arthur vs Yarde
2020 Boxing Season
Takeaway comments: Bourke shut me up proper, lmao.