Returning to the ring after his ‘oh so nearly’ world title bout against Sergey Kovalev, Anthony Yarde will be eager to make quick work of Dec Spelman and place himself back in title contention.

Queensberry: Yarde vs Spelman Predictions & Results

Anthony Yarde has had a difficult 2020, to say the least. Losing both his father and grandmother to COVID-19, Yarde has made it clear that the recent losses will only be used to motivate himself. For the first eighteen fights of his career, Yarde was written off as another protected Frank Warren hype job. Regularly matched up with underwhelming European opposition, Yarde was criticised for his brash confidence outside of the ring. Then, out of seemingly nowhere, Yarde flipped the script when he risked it all by entering WBO world champion, Sergey Kovalev’s, backyard. Despite ultimately falling short, Yarde performed far better than many critics had imagined. Patiently boxing through the first six rounds, Yarde found his rhythm before almost finishing the Russian in front of a partisan crowd. Poor corner work by Tunde Ajayi, calling upon Yarde to expend everything in the eighth round, left his man without anything left in the tank to go to the cards.

Yarde is looking to reposition himself within the WBO rankings with a win over domestic rival, Dec Spelman. On paper, Spelman looks terribly overmatched. Context is therefore necessary to understand this fight as a stepping stone for Yarde on his pandemic-induced comeback. Spelman is a rugged, scrappy fighter who will make it ugly for Yarde early on. Spelman, however, is not on a level to seriously challenge the chin or heart of Yarde.

Perhaps the best fight of the card is an extra cheeky European Middleweight scrap between Mark Herron and Denzel Bentley. Heffron was emphatically stopped by Liam Williams in the tenth, following a long and heated pre-fight build-up. Exposed for his padded record, Heffron has refused to step up a level again since his stoppage loss until now. Denzel Bentley is a hard-hitting, undefeated domestic Middleweight coming off the biggest win of his career against Mick Hall. Neither man is destined for a world title, but it should be a very entertaining scrap under their European ceiling.

Yarde knocked out in round 11 after brave showing in Russia as Kovalev  retains light-heavyweight title
Anthony Yarde proved many doubters wrong by going into the backyard of Russian Light-Heavyweight boogeyman, Sergey Kovalev, and giving him a testing fight for eleven rounds, 24 August 2019.

Main Event

Light Heavyweight (175)

Anthony Yarde (19-1, 18KO) vs Dec Spelman (16-4, 8KO)

Hated by many for his outspoken personality, Yarde is far better than many critics would have you believe. Yarde possesses an exceptional athletic build that allows him to launch lengthy combinations, a sight quite rare in the cumbersome Light Heavyweight division. Flat-footed for the most part, Yarde makes up for him immobility with an active defence. Adopting a Philly shell guard, Yarde slips most shots effectively, if a little too explosively. It is hard to gauge Yarde’s gas tank as he has cruised to decisions against weak opposition, whilst only stopped the once after a brutal early pace had been set.

Yarde finds himself in a difficult situation on Saturday night. Win by knockout, and Spelman was horrendously overmatched. Win by decision, and Yarde has cemented his status as ‘king of the domestic scene’ with nowhere else to go. If Yarde is to win by stoppage, as is expected, it would show that he is still mentally sound since his crushing loss in Russia.

Regardless of all that has been said, Dec Spelman still has a chance to secure a surprise win. Light Heavyweight is a division located in the sweet spot between the technicalities of the lower division alongside the power of the bigger boys. By no means a power puncher, Spelman has had enough sting to stop eight opponents before (granted, at a regional level). Important for Spelman is to bite down on his mouthpiece and dive headfirst into the fire. Quite literally, headfirst. Spelman’s chances of winning reside solely on his ability to make this fight as ugly as possible. Dirty boxing on the inside, regular clinching, and dragging Yarde deep into the later rounds may create an avenue for victory.

Predicted Result: Yarde TKO Round 6

Spelman enters the ring just a month after his brutal twelve round war with the hard-hitting Lyndon Arthur. Without the proper time to recover, Yarde should be able to stop Spelman early and restart his ascent to another crack at the world title.

Lyndon Arthur vs Dec Spelman - Results & Post-Fight Review
Dec Spelman ground out a gritty yet unsuccessful performance against Lyndon Arthur during his bid for the Commonwealth Title, 31 July 2020.

Result: Yarde def. Spelman // TKO Round 6 2:42

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Co-Main Event

IBF European Welterweight Title

Welterweight (147)

Cedrick Peynaud (8-7-3, 4KO) vs Ekow Essuman (13-0, 5KO)

Cedrick Peynaud holds a deceptive record and it showed during his two bouts against Matchroom prospect, Connor Benn. Drafted in as a fall-man, Peynaud almost ended Benn’s career before it had started to rise off the ground. Dropping Benn twice in the first round, Peynaud looked immense on the front-foot – cutting off the ring effectively and strangling Benn onto the ropes. By the third round, however, Peynaud’s limited abilities were highlighted. Peynaud’s pressure gradually declined and he allowed a still dazed Benn to clutch back a (dubious) points victory. Beaten comfortably by Benn in the rematch, and since having dropped a ten-round decision to another prospect in Anass Messaoudi, Peynaud looks destined to follow a similar pattern against Essuman.

English Welterweight champion, Ekow Essuman, should prove far too far wily on the front foot to be caught out by an early Peynaud blitz. Happy to sit down on the front foot early, Essuman should be able to plod his way to victory. A majority decision over Tyrone Nurse in just his tenth fight, and most recently an eighth-round TKO of the undefeated Curtis Felix Jr., illuminates the strength of Essuman. Perhaps at fault for throwing loopy hooks, Essuman’s money shots are delivered in the straight form. Essuman has the skill and tenacity to push Peynaud onto the back foot and keep him there for the majority of the fight.

Predicted Result: Essuman Decision

Essuman is the vastly superior boxer and should be able to exploit the skill differential in the later rounds as Peynaud’s gas tank flails.

Taylor vs McCaskill: Conor Benn knocked down twice but hits back to  out-point Cedrick Peynaud - More Radio
Cedrick Peynaud dropped Matchroom’s hot prospect, Connor Benn, twice in the first round during their first bout, 13 December 2017.

Result: Essuman def. Peynaud // Decision (unanimous – 98-93, 98-92, 100-90)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Main Card

vacant IBF European Middleweight Title

Middleweight (160)

Mark Heffron (25-1, 19KO) vs Denzel Bentley (13-0, 11KO)

Mark Heffron is not a terrible fighter. Disregarding his padded record, Heffron has a lovely jab which forms the base of his offence. Often feinting to the body, Heffron uses a circular loopy feint as bait before launching a strike which jolts an opponent’s head back seemingly out of thin air. Heffron’s ability to gauge distance further builds on his jabbing strength. As his feet are always beneath him and it allows him to torque weighty power into his jabs. Unfortunately, Heffron lacks the power to stray further from the British level. A lack of defensive aptitude (adopting a high guard whilst rooted in the ground) highlights the lack of pressure and experience that Heffron has faced whilst boxing his many journeymen. Exposed by Liam Williams back in 2018, Heffron has struggled to gain any clamour since.

Denzel Bentley lacks the amateur pedigree required to rise the rankings fast, yet to his credit, seems to progressing rapidly. Slapping shots, Bentley struggles with his fundamentals and as such loses most of his potential power. Despite this, Bentley is a fabulous athlete with a strong chin. Overwhelming the workmanlike Mick Hall just a month ago, Bentley returns for the biggest test of his career. Heffron may be a thoroughly underwhelming boxer if viewed through the lens of his record, but he still has polished striking fundamentals. Unless Bentley can apply pressure upon Heffron from the start and overwhelm him over the length of the contest, Bentley may find himself outworked by a jab.

Predicted Result: Bentley Decision

Bentley will need to settle down with a pace that can last the contest, but Bentleys work-rate will allow his rounds to be more clearly scored in his favour by the judges. Close fight between two fighters with clear limitations.

Result: Unanimous Draw (95-95, 95-95, 95-95)

Winner ❌ // Method ❌ // Round ✔️

Lightweight (135)

Mohammad Bilal Ali (4-0, 1KO) vs Ed Harrison (1-4)

Mohammad Bilal Ali is trained under Tunde Ajayi, the same man as the main event fighter, Anthony Yarde. Starting his career off slowly, Ali is accruing boxing experience at the lowest levels of the professional ranks in the same vein as campmate Yarde. Electric on the outside, Ali needs to vastly improve his inside game. Roughed up at times whilst in-fighting with journeyman, Jamie Speight, Ali has the time to develop his defensive workings.

Ed Harrison may well turn out to be a solid journeyman. Despite losing four of five, Harrison has already managed one big surprise in his career. Decisively beating the undefeated (5-0), Liam Gaynor, Harrison will be looking to spring another surprise. Fleet-footed, Harrison largely avoids most incoming damage by speedily backing up. If Harrison could learn to exit the pocket laterally, he could avoid danger whilst also creating opportunities for counter striking.

Predicted Result: Ali Decision

Ali should prove far too technical on the outside for Harrison’s one-note defence.

Result: Harrison def. Bilal Ali (Referee’s Card: 39-37)

Winner ❌ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Featherweight (126)

Amin Jahanzeb (7-0) vs TBA LMR: Jamie Quinn (7-103-2)

Another fighter under the management of Tunde Ajayi, Jahanzeb is a flashy fighter who fights in a style reminiscent of Prince Naz. Hands low, weaving in and out of range at will, baiting opponents onto a powerful straight, Jahanzeb has enjoyed his time learning the ropes. A last minute replacement fight won’t earn him any valuable experience, but it will showcase his exciting skill set to a terrestrial audience.

Predicted Result: Jahanzeb Decision

Buy into the Jahanzeb hype train for now, Queensberry are crying out for a fighter with flair.

Result: Jahanzeb def. Quinn (Referee’s Card: 60-54)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Super Welterweight (154)

Joshua Frankham (DEBUT) vs Kevin McCauley (15-207-12, 14KO)

Cousin of the Gypsy King (Tyson Fury) and four-time national champion, Joshua Frankham is expected to make his debut with a bang. At only twenty year of age, Graham enters the pro ranks with 31 amateur wins and only six defeats.

Kevin McCauley is the consummate professional journeyman. A record that is filled with former and current world title challengers: Liam Smith, Frankie Gavin, etc. McCauley will look to challenge Frankham, but Frankham should be able to trump a fighter used to losing.

Predicted Result: Frankham Decision

Respect fighters like McCauley, they provide the necessary foundation for the future world champions.

Result: Frankham def. McCauley (Referee’s Card: 40-36)

Winner ✔️ // Method ✔️ // Round ✔️

Prediction Accuracy

Queensberry: Yarde vs Spelman

Winner: 4/6

Method: 5/6

Round: 6/6

2020 Boxing Season

Winner: 16/22

Method: 19/22

Round: 17/22

Takeaway comments: Ed Harrison exploited Ali’s weak inside game, it’s just a necessary learning curve.

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