The WBO has ordered light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev to defend his title against top-ranked Anthony Yarde.
The governing body sent out a letter to both parties indicating that they 30 days from March 13 to secure a fight deal or else a purse bid would be ordered. Should the fight go to a purse bid, the minimum bid would be $300,000. Below is the full letter from the WBO to the promoters of both Kovalev (Kathy Duva) and Yarde (Frank Warren):
March 13th 2019
From: Luis Batista Salas, Esq. Chairman WBO Championship Committee
TO: KATHY DUVA – MAIN EVENTS PROMOTIONS & FRANK WARREN – QUEENSBERRY PROMOTIONS
Re: WBO Light Heavyweight Championship Contest Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde
Please be advised the parties have thirty (30) days upon receipt of this letter to negotiate and reach an agreement regarding the WBO Light Heavyweight Championship Contest between Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde. If an accord is not reached within the time frame set forth herein, a Purse Bid will be ordered pursuant with the WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.
The minimum acceptable bid for the WBO Light Heavyweight Division is $300,000.00 (Three Hundred Thousand Dollars). Any of the parties involved may request a purse bid procedure at any time during the negotiation process.
Luis Batista Salas, Esq.
Cc: Francisco Valcárcel, Esq. (WBO President)
Kovalev won the WBO title for a third time in his career after defeating Eleider Alvarez in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing on ESPN+ card from Frisco, Texas in February. The fight was a title rematch from their August 2018 bout that saw Alvarez knock out Kovalev in Atlantic City to win his first world title. Kovalev was able to successfully defend the WBO title at least once in each of his two previous reigns as champion.
Yarde is a 27-year-old fighter from the United Kingdom who has won all 18 of his fights since making his pro debut back in 2015. Yarde won the WBO European and WBO Intercontinental light heavyweight titles in 2017, making multiple defenses of each title, and is coming off a fifth-round stoppage win over Travis Reeves on March 8.