🇷🇺Sergey Kovalev came through big in front of his hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia Saturday, delivering an 11th round TKO to retain his WBO Light-Heavyweight title over British challenger 🇬🇧Anthony Yarde.
Kovalev put a severely fatigued Yarde down with a stiff jab that rounded out a solid series of shots in the 11th round. Yarde lay looking straight up into the lights as referee Luis Pabon counted him out.
The fight wasn’t without adversity for the 36 year old Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs), who fought through a storm in the eighth round, started off by a right hand by Yarde with about a minute left, followed by a combination that hurt Kovalev to the point he was forced to hold to make it out of the round.
It was at this point the levels that separated the two fighters showed itself. Trainer Buddy McGirt dug into Kovalev in the corner telling him he wanted to see something from him in the ninth after taking so many shots. Yarde appeared tapped out in his corner as his head man Tunde Ajayi attempted to find the words to get him a second wind going, but in the next round he threw few punches, leaving Kovalev to consistently find a home for his jab. You could see the Russian veteran smelled blood in the water and turned the heat up on Yarde from that point on, nearly stopping him in the tenth round.
Kovalev’s jab, experience, stamina, and maybe Trainer, were the difference down the stretch against Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs). Both fighters found themselves in deep waters in the fight, but Kovalev had faced these elements before unlike his opponent who up to this point had went virtually unchallenged.
To Yarde’s credit he showed he does have tools to be competitive and make for good fights in the 175 division, and he was willing to take on the big challenge, but it was just a tremendous leap going from the level of opposition he has faced to fighting for a title in the champions backyard.
Since losing his title to 🇨🇴Eleider Alvarez last year, Sergey Kovalev is now 2-0 in 2019 under new trainer Buddy McGirt. He has won his title back in dominating fashion over Eleider Alvarez, had a homecoming where he handled a rising star in the division, and could close the year out in a mega fight with middleweight cash cow ♛🇲🇽Canelo Alvarez this fall or winter. This fight with Yarde was no walk in the park for Kovalev, so the Canelo fight could be on a short turnaround for him but what a year it would be for the Krusher should it happen.
All judges had Kovalev ahead
Panama’s Julio Cesar Alvarado (97-94) Hungary’s Zoltan Enyedi (96-93) South Africa’s Deon Dwarte (98-92)
Jon Uddin (96-94) Kovalev
Tre Berry III (96-93) Kovalev