Kovalev stopps Yarde, defends title
In the main event in Chelyabinsk, Russia, WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) scored 11th round TKO victory over mandatory challenger and previously unbeaten Anthony Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs).
Kovalev won the early rounds with a slight advantage due to the better work with his front hand. From the fourth round Kovalev only increased advantage, and Yarde only occasionally answered with single shots. In the sixth round a minor bleeding appeared form Yarde's nose.
In the seventh round Yarde went ahead and landed a few shots to the body and to the head, but still, Kovalev looked better in this round.
In the eighth round Yard was able to hurt Kovalev significantly, who just somehow managed to stay on his feet until the end of the round. During the break, Buddy McGirt, Kovalev's coach, said that he would stop the fight, if Kovalev went on missing punches.
In spite of this in the next round Kovalev continued to dominate the Yard, as if nothing had happened, and in the eleventh round landed straight left hand, which sent tired and exhausted Yarde to the canvas and referee Luis Pabon stopped the fight at 2:04.
At the time of stoppage Kovalev was ahead on all three scorecards: 98-92, 97-94, 96-93.
Even before the fight Kovalev's team was in talks about a fight with Saul Alvarez, and most likely in his next fight Sergey will face Canelo.
At the same evening the owner of WBC Silver cruiserweight belt Ilunga Makabu (26-2, 24 KOs) scored a majority decision win over the previously undefeated local fighter Alexei Papin (11-1, 10 KOs). Half a minute before the end of the battle Papin went to the floor, but at the very final bell could significantly hurt Makabu. The scores were: 114-114 and 115-113 twice.