Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 28 KOs) proved to be too much for Anthony Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs) as he handed the Brit his first loss and retained his WBO light heavyweight title, winning by KO in the eleventh round.
Any fears that this would be too big of a step-up for Yarde were proved wrong in the first round as the Brit showed off his speed and aggression on the front foot. Despite this, Kovalev did an excellent job of using his left-hand jab on the counter.
Yarde walked into a hard left hand at the start of the fifth round, however “The Beast from the East” fired back with some heavy punches of his own. Kovalev’s success continued to stem from his jab as the Russian avoided Yarde’s power punches, slipping them to land counters of his own.
In the eighth round, the pace of the fight dramatically changed as Yarde stunned Kovalev and desperately tried to walk him down as the round drew to a close. Kovalev barely survived, with the referee almost stopping the fight had Kovalev absorbed any more punishment.
After surviving an onslaught in the eighth, Kovalev rebounded in the ninth by putting Yarde on he backfoot and landing heavy combinations off his jab. It was much the same in the tenth, with the Russian crowd celebrating as if Kovalev had won the fight as he walked back to his corner. With Yarde completely exhausted, Kovalev turned up the pressure and knocked Anthony out with a jab, the same punch Yarde could not defend all night.
Official result: Sergey Kovalev def. Anthony Yarde by KO, 2:04 of Round 11