Anthony Yarde gave WBO world light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev a fright before being defeated in an 11th-round stoppage. The 28-year-old British fighter managed to maintain his composure after an early onslaught from the veteran Russian, who was fighting in front of his home fans in the city of Chelyabinsk.
And, having emerged unscathed going into the second half of the bout, Yarde looked on course for a victory in the eighth round when he put Kovalev under sustained pressure. But the 36-year-old survived to the bell and then took full advantage as Yarde was tiring towards the end of the fight to seal the win and made a successful first defence of his WBO strap which he won back from Eleider Álvarez in Texas in February.
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Kovalev will now look to negotiate a lucrative showdown with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in November, while Yarde was satisfied with his own performance despite suffering a first professional defeat. He said: “I hurt him to the body, I thought I should go for it and my corner said so, so we went for it.
“I am not ashamed or embarrassed, I am ambitious and trying to motivate people to go for what you want. “I have done myself justice, even coming out here – 99% of people would not have dared to do what I did. Experience played a big part, he paced himself better.”Copyright © 2020 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.