On Tuesday, the World Boxing Organization (WBO) announced that they will hold a purse bid for Sergey Kovalev’s light heavyweight championship against mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde. The purse bid will be held on Monday, April 8 at 11:00 a.m. at the WBO headquarters in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The minimum acceptable bid for the fight is $300,000.00.
Yarde had earned this mandatory shot at the title by beating Travis Reeves in a fifth-round stoppage back on March 8.
Under the rules of the WBO, if the title fight between the champion and the mandatory challenger is held in the country of origin, residence or nationality of the champion, the champion shall receive 75% of the purse and the challenger shall receive the remaining 25%. If the fight for the title is held in any other country, the champion shall receive 80% of the purse and the challenger shall receive the remaining 20%.
In lamens terms, Anthony Yarde can take this fight, but for him, he’ll receive the short end of the stick in both pay and essentially will have to fight in Kovalev’s native country of Russia. Based on those terms and conditions, it would be highly unlikely this fight will happen. Yarde’s manager Tunde Ajayi responded to Sergey Kovalev’s promoter Kathy Duva in a conversation posted from Michael Benson on Twitter saying:
“Don’t think you can rush Tunde Ajayi. Everything I do is for Yarde so never think I’ll advise him to fight in Russia. No amount of money can make it happen, I don’t care who you spoke to.”
❌?? Anthony Yarde's manager Tunde Ajayi responds to Sergey Kovalev's promoter Kathy Duva: "Don't think you can rush Tunde Ajayi. Everything I do is for Yarde so never think I'll advise him to fight in Russia. No amount of money can make it happen, I don't care who you spoke to."
— Michael Benson (@MichaelBensonn) April 3, 2019
So with Yarde out of the picture for the mandatory title shot at least for the next 12 months, the question now begins who is next for Sergey Kovalev. Per WBO guidelines, if Yarde refuses the terms, he’ll lose his mandatory ranking and the WBO Championship Committee can determine the next available contender, or it can order an Elimination bout with the two best available contenders, and the Kovalev be permitted a voluntary bout. In the land of WBO, the next two ranked opponents are Germany’s Dominic Boesel (28-1. 10 KOs) and Poland’s Robert Parzeczewski (22-1, 15 KOs). Both fighters in terms of opposition are on the same level as Yarde as they have not faced any household names. It would be interesting to see if all of this will finally make way of the unification matchup of Kovalev taking on the IBF champion Dmitry Bivol.
UPDATE: The WBO announced on Friday that the purse bid scheduled for Monday for the mandatory fight between light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev and England’s Anthony Yarde has been postponed for one week to April 15 at the request of Main Events CEO Kathy Duva, Kovalev’s promoter. While I still don’t think this fight is happening, this does buy some time and perhaps pull some strings.
Postponed: PURSE BID – WBO LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION Sergey Kovalev vs. Mandatory Challenger Anthony Yarde: The April 8th purse bid for the WBO Light heavyweight title has been postponed for another week by request of Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva. More details to come.
— WBO (@WorldBoxingOrg) April 5, 2019