Sergey Kovalev retains WBO belt against Yarde

WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) survived a rough eighth round to come back to stop mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs) in the 11th round on Saturday night at the Traktor Sport Palace, in Chelyabinsk, Russia. Referee Luis Pabon stopped the fight officially at 2:04 of round 11.

Yarde came close to pulling off a major upset in the eighth round in this drama-filled bout. After being out-boxed in the first seven rounds, Yarde hurt Kovalev and had him on the brink of defeat. It wasn’t to be though. Yarde depleted his gas tank after eight rounds, and Kovalev took over the fight in the ninth and cruised to victory.

In the 11th, Kovalev nailed Yarde with a hard jab to knock him out. By this time in the fight, Yarde was exhausted and hurt from the punishment he’d absorbed in the 10th round. The 28-year-old Yarde had nothing left after round eight. That was the round in which he had hurt Kovalev.

By Barry Holbrook /

Photo Mikey Williams / Top Rank