In an exciting fight, IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) stayed unbeaten with an eighth round knockout of the game Anthony Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) at the OVO Arena in London, England.
Beterbiev came into the eighth round ready to go for the kill after hurting the 31-year-old Yarde in the seventh round. After a few exchanges, Beterbiev landed a sweeping right hook that appeared to stun Yarde. Beterbiev then followed with a looping right hand that knocked Yarde down on his hands and knees.
Looking disoriented, Yarde got to his feet and was taking punishment from Beterbiev when Yarde’s corner chose to have the contest halted. The time of the stoppage was at 2:01 of round eight.
Yarde was so beaten up that he likely would have been finished off even if Beterbiev hadn’t knocked him down in the eighth. Anthony had taken a real beating, and his gas tank was on E.
Heavyweight prospect Moses Itauma (1-0, 1 KOs) looked like 24K gold with a lightning-fast first-round destruction of Marcel Bode (2-2, 1 KO).
The two left-hand shots connected by the 18-year-old Itauma were so powerful that they still knocked out Bode despite hitting his gloves.
Given how pedestrian Bode looked, it was hard to gauge how good Itauma was. Although the left hands that Itauma connected with appeared powerful, they didn’t look on the level of an Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder, or many of the other hard punchers in the division.
Cruiserweight Tommy Fletcher (4-0, 3 KOs) defeated a game but limited journeyman Darryl Sharp (7-97-1, 1 KO) by a six round unanimous decision. The score was 60-54.
The experienced 15-year professional light heavyweight Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna (29-10, 18 KOs) took apart prospect Karol Itauma (9-1, 7 KOs), blasting him out in five rounds in a shocking upset.
In the fifth round, Maderna flattened Itauma with a big right hand. The referee then halted the bout at 1:04 of the fifth. Itauma showed excellent punching power, but his defense was porous, allowing the heavy-handed Argentinian Maderna to nail him at will with right hands to the head.
Itauma shouldn’t have been thrown in with a veteran like the 36-year-old Maderna because this guy had way too much experience, having fought the likes of Artur Beterbiev, Jose Uzcategui and Edwin Rodriguez.
Unbeaten WBA flyweight champion Artem Dalakian (22-0, 15 KOs) won a very questionable 12-round unanimous decision victory over the tough Costa Rican David Jimenez (12-1, 9 KOs), who came into the fight ranked #1.
The 30-year-old Jimenez pushed the fight the entire contest, forcing Dalakian to give ground nonstop. When Jimenez would work his way to the inside, the 35-year-old Dalakian would tie him up.
This was a rinse & repeat process that we saw repeatedly, with Dalakian moving, throwing defensive shots, and then tying up Jimenez to shut down his offense.
The judges scored it 115-113, 115-113, and 116-112, all for Dalakian.
Preview: “Beterbiev – Gvozdyk is one of my favorite kinds of fights. It reminded me a lot; I put it in the category of Chavez-Rosario, where the pressure fighter with timing & technique overcomes the boxer/puncher, who looks like he can outclass the pressure fighter” said Max Kellerman on Max On Boxing.
“Dmitry Bivol, but Chavez can do that to Edwin Rosario. If you get a real slick southpaw like Pernell Whitaker, that’s harder for a guy like Chavez because someone like that can control distance, and stop what’s coming back. He can parry and get out of the way of the shots, and that’s Bivol.
“That’s the one guy with a style where you go that is a classic boxer-puncher in Bivol vs. the classic puncher-boxer, as Larry Merchant used to say in Beterbiev. What do you think the chances are that we see that fight, which ever since Andre Ward retired, it’s been pretty obvious over the last five years, that will one day be for supremacy in the division?” said Kellerman.
“I think you get it [Beterbiev vs. Bivol], but the question is, do you get it this year or next year,” Mark Kriegel said. “I spoke to Bivol’s manager, Vadium Kornilov. Listen, money is important.
“Money means Canelo, and I don’t think you need to take a vow of poverty for this fight. It’s a hell of a fight, but this is a great, legacy fight,” Kriegel said about the Beterbiev – Bivol contest.
“Remember, both of these guys came out of the Russian system, as did Kovalev. They produce great light heavyweights over there. Beterbiev was the star of the program, although he didn’t have Olympic success, and then along comes Bivol.
“They have sparred. I’m told that Beterbiev didn’t consider it sparring. More of an exercise, but you can see the respect that Bivol has for Beterbiev. They both want this fight. I think stylistically, what you say is absolutely true.
“If you like boxing, this is as good a fight as there is, period. One thing about the Gvozdyk [vs. Beterbiev] fight, and I agree with you; Gvozdyk was ahead on all three cards. But you never got the sense that the outcome was in doubt.
“There was some kind of inevitability to it. You don’t see that kind of thing often. Maybe you see it with Canelo-Kovalev. That’s the one I remember,” said Kriegel about the 2019 unification contest between Beterbiev and WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk.
“Right, Gvozdyk was up, but you really didn’t feel like he had a chance to win, and unlike the Whitaker-Chavez thing, because Bivol is not a southpaw and because he’s the naturally smaller fighter; Bivol is more like a super middleweight – light heavy, and Beterbiev is like a light heavyweight – cruiser type.
“It’s just a great, great match-up. I’d also love to see Beterbiev and Canelo because hunting a guy down and finding him is one thing for Canelo, but if a guy comes to him, he’s a supreme counter-puncher. Beterbiev-Canelo reminds me of Toney-Jirov, which is one of the all-time great cruiserweight fights.
“I would love to see one of those. I haven’t heard enough about Beterbiev-Canelo,” said Kellerman.
IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev (18-0, 18 KOs) defends tonight against the huge punching, rejuvenated Anthony Yarde (23-2, 22 KOs) in their mouth-watering bout at the OVO Arena in London, England.
Action for the card will be shown on ESPN+ at 2:30 p.m. ET and will begin a little earlier in the UK at 7:00 p.m. on BT Sport.