The action begins on BT Sport 2 HD from 5pm on Saturday night as The Beast travels to Russia for a maiden title shot against one of the division's most complete fighters.
Kovalev, 36, is fancied by the bookies to retain his WBO light-heavyweight strap in what will be his first appearance in front of a home crowd since 2016 - but hard-hitting Yarde is well capable of causing an upset on foreign soil.
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Kovalev v Yarde: Full undercard
Light heavyweight: Sergey Kovalev v Anthony Yarde
Cruiserweight: Aleksei Papin v Ilunga Makabu
Super-middleweight: Andrey Sirotkin v Azizbek Abdugofurov
Welterweight: Eduard Skavynskyi v Idd Pialari
Middleweight: Meiirim Nursultanov v Artur Osipov
Super-featherweight: Akzhol Sulaimanbek Uulu v Abdulaziz Kunert
Kovalev v Yarde: Fight preview
Hackney hard-hitter Anthony Yarde has been busy since turning professional a little over four years ago.
Having fought just 12 times as an amateur, the 27-year-old turned pro four years ago with little in the way of experience.
But an accelerated education since has seen The Beast race through the light-heavyweight rankings, racking up 18-fight undefeated record boasting 17 monstrous stoppages.
For a man with a combined 30 fights to his name, it could be argued that a world title shot has come too soon – yet ironically, Yarde has been forced to defend himself against taking a patient approach to his learning.
“Everything is timing meaning the right things happen at the right time, things happen when they’re supposed to. I truly believe that. If you look at how my boxing career’s gone, if you look at how my life’s gone. That’s the only logical explanation,” Yarde told Boxing News in October last year.
“Everything is timing. So when the world titles come, they’re coming to stay after all that. It’s not always about rushing. I’m confident in myself and I feel like when it comes I’m going to win and I’m going to stay there. I’ve got a long time. It’s just about being patient.”
But in March, following a comfortable victory over Travis Reeves, Yarde was confirmed as the mandatory challenger to the WBO light-heavyweight throne: his time had arrived.
Reigning champ Sergey Kovalev is the man that now stands between Yarde and a maiden world title; the Russian is one of the division’s most successful fighters having held three different versions of the 178lb belt.
The 36-year-old, nicknamed “Krusher”, is a name familiar to many British fight fans having won his first ever world title on British soil, pulverising Nathan Cleverly in four rounds during a masterclass in 2013.
Since then, Kovalev has gone on to take the scalps of a host of notable names including Bernard Hopkins, Jean Pascal and Eleider Álvarez – beating the latter in a February rematch to bounce back from a shock KO loss in 2018.
There are few doubts over Kovalev’s pedigree but Peacock prospect Yarde will hope that, at eight years his opponent’s junior, the Russian’s best days are beginning to drift behind him.
Speaking to BT Sport recently, lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury backed his countryman to return home with the gold, telling No Filter Boxing: "I fancy Anthony Yarde, I really do.
"I think Kovalev is on the slide, he's been a very good world champion in his time and he's done very well, but I think the Andre Ward losses have beat the s*** out of him really.”
Can the Brit shock the world by crippling the Krusher in Russia? Or will Yarde be sent back to the drawing board? Find out exclusively live on BT Sport.
Kovalev v Yarde: Selected odds
Sergey Kovalev 4/9 v Anthony Yarde 13/8
Odds, courtesy of Bet365, correct at the time of writing.