The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t only affected major sports from taking place. It has also affected the lives of people like Anthony Yarde.
A man who has held the WBO European Light-Heavyweight Title, Yarde (19-1) lost both his father (March 27) and grandmother (April 2) a week apart from one another due to the virus. It has been something Yarde will never forget, and he hopes to become stronger as a result of it. The man from Hackney, England is hoping people can learn from this and adhere to social distancing and other guidelines being brought on society, to keep themselves and everyone around them safe.
“I just want people to understand. Don’t do it. Just stay home or keep apart,” Yarde told Daily Mail. “I know I am kind of guilty of it too. When it all got announced that people couldn’t leave their house, I listened because I didn’t want to take any risks, but it doesn’t sink in fully how real it is or can be. Only experience can tell you, I guess, and maybe my experiences can help others.”
Yarde turned professional in 2015 after only twelve amateur fights. He beat Richard Baranyi for the WBO European Light-Heavyweight Title and won the WBO Inter-Continental Light Heavyweight Title against Norbert Nemesapati. Defending the latter title five times, Yarde went on to face Sergey Kovalev for the WBO Light-Heavyweight Title. Back in August, Yarde lost via TKO after round eleven. His dad was in Russia for the fight, and Yarde could have won after hurting Kovalev in the eighth. Momentum didn’t end up on his side, however.
Originally scheduled to fight on April 11, Yarde’s bout with Commonwealth Light-Heavyweight Champion Lyndon Arthur has been rebooked for July 11. Taking place inside The O2 in London, Yarde’s mind will most likely be elsewhere during the fight. However, he believes the sport he competes in is something that can help him cope.
“For me, it has been important to get back focused on boxing,” Yarde went on to say. “I have been going for a lot of bike rides or runs, exercising indoors. I have been watching a lot of comedy films, anything really that keeps your mind off it, but training helps most with that, knowing I have a job to do.”
At 28, Yarde has seen enough to help those in need during tough times. He will use the unfortunate moments in his life, like losing two members of his family, as a way for him to grow as an athlete. Yarde’s goal to succeed for them is something he hopes to accomplish.
“I know where I want to get to in this sport,” Yarde said. “I have to use what has happened now as fuel. I want to make all my family proud, particularly my mum, Sonia. Ninety percent of everything I do is for her, but this has all added to that drive.
“You need to mourn, you need to be upset, to give yourself time to replenish. Then you use it all as fuel to get stronger. I’ll get stronger.”