Undefeated knockout artist Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) had to reach deep to defeat Anthony Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) last Saturday night by a seventh round TKO at the OVO Arena in London, England.
IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Beterbiev was supposed to steamroll the powerful but limited Yarde within six rounds, but instead, he was extended until the eighth round before he finally got the 31-year-old British fighter out of there.
You can’t say that Yarde was just trying to survive because he was going to war with Beterbiev, battling him in the trenches every step of the way, and not giving ground after the third.
Yarde wasted energy
With that said, if you were to point to where Yarde made a critical mistake was his decision to move continuously in the first three rounds of the fight, which wasted a lot of his energy.
All that movement took a lot out of Yarde, making him easier for Beterbiev to hit from the fourth round on, and that’s when he started to wear him down with his heavy shots.
“Some people will call this one of the greatest battles we’ve ever seen in the UK. It was an exhausting, thrilling fight with both men never gave an inch to the other man,” said Gareth A. Davies to talkSPORT Boxing after Artur Beterbiev’s eighth round destruction of Anthony Yarde last Saturday night in London, England.
“Beterbiev was pushed & tested by Yarde; he did exactly what he needed to do and was pressurized from the start. Beterbiev has never been pressurized like that in his career,” Gareth continued.
“Artur Beterbiev, in my view, we’ve witnessed a modern great here tonight. He’ll go on. I don’t know how much longer he’ll go on. He’s 38 now, but what Yarde did so brilliantly is he didn’t just counter. Beterbiev has got great footwork; he alternated between double & triple jab and then winging attacks, he played possum at times but was definitely hurt.
Beterbiev caught Yarde in the corners
“Yarde had the perfect game plan, but what he didn’t do was put Beterbiev down because he had chances in that fight. He got caught in the corners and got turned by Beterbiev when he was on top. Twice he got caught in Beterbiev’s corners.
“Was the stoppage right by Tunde Ajayi because people will have opinions about that?
“What he actually went through. I think it was the second or third round; he looked slightly bemused,” Spencer Oliver said about Yarde. “He got caught with a big left hook right at the bell.
“He went back to his corner, and I seen him looking up at James Cook, and he was whispering something to James Cook, and I thought, ‘He’s in big trouble here, but he had to dig deep. Then he picked up the cut, and he kept digging deep and turning it around, and he was having his moments.
“There were times there where Beterbiev was questioning himself as well. That was a first class performance from Anthony Yarde. All he could take a lot of encouragement away from that. He’s still young. He’s lost for the second time, but if you look at the guys that he’s boxed for the world titles.
“He went to Russia and fought Kovalev, who at the time was a pound-for-pound star,” said Oliver.
“The Anthony Yarde that was here tonight would have stopped Kovalev,” said Davies.
“Absolutely,” said Oliver. “That stoppage was absolutely bang on. Listen, let the fighter live to fight another day. I’d rather it two seconds too early than two seconds too late.”
“Beterbiev was zoning in to knock him out,” said Davies about Beterbiev in the process of finishing Yarde off when the bout was stopped in the eighth round.
“I felt the referee was spot on with the stoppage. That, for me, The referee was the one that ultimately stopped the fight,” said Oliver. “The corner didn’t throw the towel in. He jumped up.
“Yeah, Tunde [Ajayi] put his hand up, but other referees could have been a bit hesitant, could have allowed that to go on because of the magnitude of the fight, but it was a perfect stoppage. I’m so glad it was.
“I know there were a few boos and cheers around the arena, but come on. We just witnessed one of the greatest fights we’ve seen in a British ring. That was incredible. The courage that Anthony Yarde showed. He fought him to a standstill there. The courage and determination. That was absolutely insane. That was brilliant, first class,” said Oliver.