This Saturday rising star Anthony Yarde looks to continue his rise up the world rankings when he takes on Nikola Sjekloca at the Copper Box.
Speaking to The Independent, the 26-year-old is aware there are critics of his opposition but says he’s taking no notice, instead focusing on doing his job and entertaining the fans.
“Look, everybody will have an opinion, when people get an opinion, it can sometimes take a while for them to change their minds. The opponent I am fighting is a two-time World Title challenger. He’s never been knocked out before. It is a serious fight and I need to do my job,” argued ‘The Beast’.
His Serbian opponent has fought several high profile fighters such as Sakio Bika, Callum Smith, Arthur Abraham and Tyron Zeuge. Despite facing a high level of opposition, he has yet to be stopped, so Yarde is looking to be the first man to do just that.
“He’s never been knocked out, that’s what I have on my mind. I really want that knockout. At this moment in my career I am in the entertainment stage. You need to be entertaining, what interests people is knockouts and excitement,” said the Londoner.
Yarde’s trainer Tunde Ajayi echoed his fighter’s statements: “Tell me another professional in boxing with his lack of amateur record. When people make comparisons and say he isn’t fighting anybody, [former foe] Nemesapati went six rounds with Callum Smith. He went six rounds with Anthony Dirrell. Yarde beat him in the third. I don’t see where the criticism is from.
“Sjekloca, the guy that we’re stepping in to face now, has never been stopped and he has previously fought three World Champions along with a world-class fighter in Smith,” added Ajayi.
Watch Yarde attempt to be the first man to knock out Sjekloca this Saturday on the undercard of James DeGale and Lee Selby’s World Title defences, live on BoxNation.