Today (Saturday, August 24th) features a big light heavyweight title fight, as WBO champion Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) defends his title against England’s Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs), who is in by far the biggest and toughest fight of his career. The Russian power-puncher recaptured his title from Eleider Alvarez with a unanimous decision win in their February rematch, while Yarde has been consistently knocking out his foes, none of whom is remotely close to the upper echelon of the division. This is Yarde’s chance to show he’s for real, and in enemy territory.
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Bloody Elbow is here to provide you with detailed, round-by-round coverage and running commentary of this matchup from the Traktor Sport Palace in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The ESPN+ broadcast starts at 12:30 PM ET/9:30 AM PT, and the main event should start no later than 3 PM ET/12 PM PT. BT Sport has the broadcast in the United Kingdom, while TSN2 has the fight in Canada.
Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde - WBO light heavyweight title
Round 1 - Yarde and Kovalev both feel each other out with jabs. Good counter left hook by Kovalev. Sergey jabs the body. Another body jab by Kovalev. Goes downstairs again. Left hook lands for Yarde. Right hand to the body and a countershot by Kovalev. More jabs by Kovalev. Yarde misses on the left hook and narrowly on an uppercut. Not a whole lot going on in that round. 10-9 Kovalev.
Round 2 - Kovalev continues to probe with the jab but not landing much. They clinch up and the ref separates them. Stiff jab by Kovalev and Yarde rolls with the right hand. Good body jab by Kovalev. Stiff left by Kovalev stings Yarde. Kovalev lands another jab. Good left hook to the body by Yarde. Short combo by Kovalev but nothing connects cleanly. Jabs to the body again. 20-18 Kovalev.
Round 3 - Another jab upstairs by Kovalev but Yarde responds with a good one. Decent exchange in the center of the ring. Left hook by Kovalev connects. Yarde landed a good shot that backed Kovalev up. One more jab by Kovalev. They each land jabs simultaneously. Right hand to the body by Kovalev. Jab to the head is sharp and on target for the Russian. Yarde with a hard body shot. Anthony misses on the check hook. Jab by Yarde connects. Closer round. 29-28 Kovalev.
Round 4 - Hard jab by Kovalev. Uppercut just clips Yarde. Ugly looking combo by Kovalev and then he clinches up and holds the head. Kovalev with another jab. Good sequence from Kovalev and Yarde felt those punches. Two body blows by Kovalev. This is a more aggressive Kovalev but he eats a left hook. Kovalev sticks the jab in Yarde’s face some more. Big left hand by Kovalev. Clash of heads stops the fight briefly but nothing serious. Best round of the fight for Kovalev. 39-37 Kovalev.
Round 5 - Yarde comes out firing two left hooks and they are both blocked. Kovalev takes a good right hand from Yarde. Anthony runs right into a jab. Then he cracks Kovalev and sends him back. Jab by Kovalev and then he holds after missing with the right hand. A sharp jab snaps Yarde’s head back. Good exchange in the center of the ring from both men but Kovalev is getting the better of it. Overhand right by Kovalev and a jab and a left hook. Yarde is breathing through his mouth. Uppercut for Yarde just misses. Kovalev letting his hands go but Yarde closes out with a big right that Kovalev just absorbs. 49-46 Kovalev.
Round 6 - Not much happening in the first 30 seconds. Body shot and a left upstairs for Kovalev. Jab connects for the champ. Good counter left hook by Kovalev. Yarde’s mouthpiece came out on that shot. Fight is stopped for a moment to put it back in. Yarde is getting chewed up with jabs. Three-punch combo tags Yarde. Kovalev is in a groove. Body shot by Kovalev. Head-body combo from Kovalev and Yarde landed a body shot that might have strayed low. Ref didn’t see or say anything. Yarde miles off on a left hook. Anthony is bleeding from his noise. Right hand by Kovalev. 59-55 Kovalev.
Round 7 - Kovalev eats a left hand but returns with short punches on the inside. Uppercut by Kovalev but Yarde thinks it was on the break. Ref seems to agree. Stinging jab by Kovalev yet again. Right hand lands for Yarde. Another right hand by Kovalev. Yarde going to the body with some success. Hard left hook to Kovalev’s body. Yarde is coming back in this round. Left hook by Kovalev and a right by Yarde. 68-65 Kovalev.
Round 8 - This is now the longest fight of Yarde’s career. Left hook by Kovalev and a two-piece upstairs. Kovalev warned for elbows on the inside. Left hook by Kovalev cracks Yarde but he takes it well. Wild right hand misses from Yarde. Kovalev goes back to Yarde’s body and then lands another jab. Jab and left hook by Kovalev. Yarde pressing forward throwing shots. Action is picking up! Huge jab by Kovalev! Yarde coming back. Right hand by Yarde hurts Kovalev! Yarde with a big left hook! Kovalev holds on! THIS IS YARDE’S CHANCE! Kovalev is wobbled! Then Kovalev racks Yarde! Yarde returns fire and the round ends! 77-75 Kovalev.
Round 9 - Kovalev holds right away. He lands a jab. Kovalev with a solid combo to Yarde’s head. Right hand by Yarde. Body shot from Kovalev. Body shot and a blocked right hand by Kovalev. This fight rules! Right hand to the body by Yarde. Two left hooks by Kovalev and a huge jab by Sergey. Two-punch combo by Kovalev stuns Yarde! Hard jab by Kovalev. Yarde eats another left hand! Body shots by Kovalev! Yarde egging him on. Big right hand by Kovalev. Jab cracks the Brit again. Left hook upstairs and a big round for Sergey! 87-84 Kovalev.
Round 10 - Loud jab by Kovalev that everyone could hear. Kovalev has found a second wind and Yarde has to adjust. Two body shots from Kovalev. And Kovalev stuns Yarde, his hands are down. Kovalev pops Yarde with a jab and connects with a right hand around the guard. Uppercut by Kovalev. Yarde with a right hand but he gets rocked with a combination! Kovalev on the front foot. Jabs him up some more! Left hook lifts Yarde’s leg up. Big jab by Kovalev. right hand by Sergey! Yarde in trouble against the ropes and the bell saves him, as the tape flies off of Kovalev’s glove! 97-93 Kovalev.
Round 11 - Yarde trying to rally. Lands a right hand upstairs. Pouring out the punches and then Kovalev shoves Yarde, who falls down in sheer exhaustion. Slow right hand by Yarde. Left hand by Kovalev. Sergey is picking him apart. Body shot by Kovalev. Short right hand by Kovalev down the middle. Two-punch combo by Yarde moves him back. KOVALEV KNOCKS YARDE DOWN WITH A LEFT HAND! HE WILL NOT GET UP! HE KNOCKED HIM OUT WITH A JAB!
Official result: Sergey Kovalev def. Anthony Yarde by KO at 2:04 of round 11 to remain the WBO light heavyweight champion