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Anthony Yarde sets up Lyndon Arthur clash with sixth-round knockout of Dec Spelman

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Former world title challenger Anthony Yarde 20-1 (19) stopped former English champion Dec ‘Kid Nytro’ Spelman 16-5 (8) in the sixth round at York Hall in Bethnal Green, London on Saturday night.

It was the second win for Yarde following his lone defeat to then-WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in Russia in August last year.

The 29-year-old Yarde got off to a slow start but picked up the pace from the fourth round on. In the sixth round he started hammering home hard shots and had Spelman, 28, on the backfoot.

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A series of solid blows saw Spelman take a knee and although he beat the count, referee Michael Alexander decided he had seen enough. The official time of the stoppage was 2:42.

It was the first time Spelman had been stopped in his six-year, 21 fight pro career.

Spelman protested the stoppage but the result seemed academic at that stage with Yarde coming on strong.

Yarde admitted he still had a lot to work on in the gym.

“This win meant a lot. I was sharp, everyone knew about last year with the Kovalev fight, everyone knows my ambition,” Yarde said after the fight.

“I’m still inexperienced. I’m being more patient, being defensively responsible. When I want to open up I can, but it’s about learning in the ring — working the jab, getting back into defensive position after the shots.”

Earlier this year Yarde was slated to face Lyndon Arthur 17-0 (12) – who Spelman lost a 12-round unanimous decision to in a Commonwealth title bid in July – before the global coronavirus pandemic forced the postponement of the fight.

That bout is now expected to go ahead on a date to be announced.

“I’m ready to fight whenever,” Yarde said. “Obviously (coronavirus) has impacted everything and we’re hearing about a second wave. I’m just staying in the gym, staying ready.”

In the main support bout Mark ‘Kid Dynamite’ Heffron 25-1-1 (19) and Denzel Bentley 13-0-1 (11) battled to a rare unanimous draw in their 10-round British middleweight title eliminator.

Switch-hitter Bentley, 25, scored the only knockdown of the bout when he set up a beautifully timed left cross from the southpaw stance in the second round.

The 28-year-old Heffron from Lancashire wasn’t hurt and continued to have success when Bentley drifted backwards into the corners, but the awkward Londoner would land his own hard shots in spots that made the fight difficult to score definitely.

All three judges had the bout 95-95. A rematch now looks likely.

“I thought I won it, but my first time doing ten rounds, I fell asleep in the middle of the fight a little bit,” Bentley said.

“I think I managed to draw it back towards the end and I thought the knockdown would push me on to win it by a round or two.

“I thought I landed the cleaner shots and moved when I needed to.”

Not surprisingly, Heffron disagreed.

“One hundred percent I won it,” said Heffron, who has only ever lost to Liam Williams. “The only round he won was the one where he caught me. I outworked him for every round.”

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