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“Contract Dispute” Between Anthony Yarde And Frank Warren Confirmed, WBO Orders Buatsi-Yarde Purse Bid Regardless

Contract Dispute Between Anthony Yarde And Frank Warren Confirmed featured image
Anthony Yarde might not be a Queensberry fighter much longer after the WBO confirmed there was a contractual dispute between the two aforementioned parties. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

British light-heavyweight contender Anthony Yarde has been confirmed to be in a contract dispute with Frank Warren and his promotional outfit of Queensberry Promotions. This revelation came through the World Boxing Organization’s (WBO) letter to the representatives of both Yarde and Joshua Buatsi who several weeks ago had been ordered by the sanctioning body to fight for the WBO interim title in lieu of Artur Beterbiev’s injury that forced him out of his June 1st undisputed 175 lbs bout against Dmitry Bivol.

Speculation rose of a rift between Anthony Yarde (25-3, 24 KO’s) and Frank Warren after the British 175 lbs contender had alleged to be contractually free of Queensberry Promotions; a claim that Warren later denied. With this situation already suggesting there was some sort of contractual dispute, the WBO inadvertently confirmed this to be the case during their standard announcement of the date of purse bid proceedings based on the mandate for Anthony Yarde and Joshua Buatsi (18-0, 13 KO’s) to face each other for the WBO interim title.

On May 8, 2024, this Committee issued a negotiation order for the subject matter bout,The WBO stated in a letter to Buatsi’s and Yarde’s promoters; respectively Boxxer chairman Ben Shalom and Queensberry owner and founder Frank Warren. “This ruling was rendered due to (i) WBO Light Heavyweight Champion, Artur Beterbiev’s confirmed injury; (ii) his recovery period; (iii) ensuring consistent activity in the Light
Heavyweight Division, and (iv) protecting the rights and interests of the remaining contenders in
the relevant weight category.

Accordingly, the parties herein were granted 10 days to negotiate, or purse bid proceedings
would be ordered per WBO Regulations of World Championship Contests.

However, on May 16, 2024, the WBO confirmed receipt of correspondence by Blue Trinity Solicitors, on behalf of Anthony Yarde advising in summary that (i) Queensberry and Anthony Yarde are currently in a
dispute resolution procedure regarding a contractual matter between the parties, and consequently,
(ii) Yarde formally withdrawing from the negotiations ordered and any purse bid proceedings and
the proposed contest, as he is unavailable.

According to the WBO, Yarde and Queensberry are in a “dispute resolution procedure regarding a contractual matter between the parties”, verifying that the two parties are indeed at odds with each other; a matter that has been further complicated by the WBO’s mandate of the Buatsi-Yarde fight.

The letter also revealed that a London-based law firm that Yarde hired by the name of Blue Trinity Solicitors―who are likely involved in resolving Yarde’s contractual dispute with Queensberry―attempted to withdraw Yarde from the ordered fight with Buatsi. However, the WBO swiftly rebuffed the law firm’s attempts, arguing that they only recognized the authority of Queensberry Promotions as Yarde’s representative.

Per our records, Queensberry Promotions is a licensed WBO promoter and was authorized to represent Anthony Yarde,” The WBO informed every party involved, particularly Blue Trinity Solicitors. “Therefore, such promotional outlet was duly notified. Further, all WBO notices and rulings are duly published on our official website and social media platforms for purposes of service as well as allowing all WBO registered members, including promoters the right to participate in all procedures, including purse bid proceedings.

With the WBO completely dismissing the law firm’s authority, the sanctioning body will continue on with its mandate for the Buatsi-Yarde fight and has subsequently ordered the purse bid proceedings to occur on June 7th; with Anthony Yarde being given a 72-hour notice to confirm whether he will participate in the ordered bout. A refusal by Yarde to participate in the WBO-ordered match for the interim title, or a failure to reply to the WBO’s notice, will see Yarde removed from the WBO’s light-heavyweight rankings for an extended period; often lasting over 6 months.

While the WBO’s ruling and notice towards Anthony Yarde could be construed as them piling upon his current issue with Queensberry, the WBO appeared to have been unaware of any conflict between Yarde and his promoters prior to ordering the Buatsi-Yarde match. Even with the knowledge they have now, the sanctioning body does not have the jurisdiction to interfere in their dispute; explaining their decision to commence with purse bid proceedings as standard.

As to the contractual dispute between Anthony Yarde and Frank Warren itself, there has yet to be any indication on what started this conflict other than Yarde proclaiming himself to be a free agent. Neither party has yet revealed what prompted Yarde to seemingly want to force a split with Queensberry Promotions, but given the issue between the two parties, it opens up an avenue for Buatsi’s promoter, Boxxer, to secure the rights to promote the fight; a rare occurrence given Boxxer’s proclivity in pulling their fighters out of purse bids.