WBO world light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) scored an eleventh round knockout of mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday night at the Traktor Sport Palace in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
The early rounds were fought closely between the two men but Kovalev was able to find his rhythm in the fifth and sixth rounds.
Kovalev is widely known to be suspectable to body shots which Yarde did his best to gain an advantage with in the seventh and eighth, looking like a fighter on the verge of being crowned champion, rocking the Russian in his attempts but after unloading an assoertment of shots the Brit finally ran out of gas, Kovalev using his championship experience to dominate proceedings from that point on until a left hand knocked out Yarde with the time at 2:04
Kovalev was magnanimus for the most part in his view on Yarde’s challenge, claiming the Brit will eventually go on to become a World champion.
“You have a great future, believe me, He’s strong. He has IQ, good defence. He does not have enough experience though, because I’m Krusher, I can’t lose anymore. I got it right this time.
“Everything that I do. 100 per cent (he will be a champion), believe me.”
Yarde wasn’t too downbeat on his overall performance, giving his impression on the fight.
“I was just in a fight, I’m not going to keep going on about experience, but I feel it played a part. I hurt him to the body, my corner said go for it, I felt the same way. I’m one of those people, I’m not ashamed or embarrassed.
“I’m very upset, I wasn’t victorious, I did myself justice. Coming out here, 99 per cent of people wouldn’t have done what I did. I’m very ambitious, I’ll be back.
“What got me through was my heart, nobody can knock us, we’re taking the risk, trying to motivate people. I don’t like to get hit, I’ve got a bruised eye, I can feel it. I’m never going to say that was good enough, I’ll go back to the drawing board. Some technical things I’ll work on. We’ll work extremely hard.”
WBC #1 Ilunga Makabu (26-2, 24 KOs) took home a majority decision courtesy of a twelfth round knockdown of the previously unbeaten Aleksei Papin (11-1, 10 KOs).
It came as no surprise to witness a war between two men but more so that the fight went the distance. Makabu finally making the breakthrough to drop Pappin in the final 30 seconds of the contest to seal the win via scores of 113-113, 115-113, 115-113.