Home Boxing News Artur Beterbiev scores come-from-behind KO of Anthony Yarde to keep hopes of...

Artur Beterbiev scores come-from-behind KO of Anthony Yarde to keep hopes of Dmitry Bivol clash alive

Artur Beterbiev and Anthony Yarde. Photo credit: James Chance/Getty Images

Unified light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev 19-0 (19) retained his WBC, WBO and IBF titles with an eighth-round knockout of Anthony Yarde 23-3 (22) at Wembley Arena in London, England on Saturday night but he had to walk through fire to do it.

The 38-year-old Canadian-based Russian had his hands full until the time of the stoppage at the 2:01 mark and was trailling on two of the judge’s scorecards 65-68, 66-67 while leading on the third 67-66 when the bout was halted.

Englishman Yarde, 31, was busy early on in the bout, taking the fight up to the champion for the first three rounds. But things turned around in the fourth when Beterbiev started landing his signature power shots.

Yarde battled back in a seesaw fifth round and was able to make effective use of his right uppercut. The two-way action continued in the sixth and seventh frames with both boxers showing damage to their faces from the war.

Yarde appeared to be slowing down late in the rounds and Beterbiev capitalised in the eighth, slamming home a right hand to the head that sent the challenger reeling across the ring. Beterbiev did not let his opponent off the hook, bludgeoning him to the canvas.

Although referee Steve Gray allowed the bout to continue, it took mere seconds for Yarde’s corner to call a quit to proceedings when their fighter was about to be belted by Beterbiev again.

Beterbiev said he wasn’t surprised that Yarde charged at him early in the contest and said that was exactly what they expected to happen.

“Every fight is different,” he said. “Different feelings, different preparations. I can’t say I did a bad fight, but if I do it again, I want to do better.”

Beterbiev’s promoter Bob Arum was pleased with the result.

“That was one of the great light heavyweight battles I’ve had the privilege of watching,” the Top Rank chairman said. “Artur Beterbiev is a true master of his craft. I favor him over anyone in the division.”

The victory for Beterbiev keeps hopes alive for a four belt unification bout with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol 21-0 (11), who is promoted by Arum’s rival Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing.

“I want Bivol,” Beterbiev said. “Right now, it’s everything. In that fight, we’ll have four belts. It’s really good fight, I think.”

That bout may not happen until 2024. Bivol, 32, is considering moving down to 168-pound for a rematch with undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 58-2-2 (39) for a rematch in September following his unanimous decision victory over the Mexican superstar last May.

Bivol’s manager insists they are keen on a Beterbiev fight.

“Competition wise, we will see Bivol vs Beterbiev as one of the biggest fights that can happen,” Vadim Kornilov said to ESPN. “Let’s make it happen.”

Here’s hoping they can.