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Artur Beterbiev wears down Anthony Yarde to win light-heavyweight classic

Beterbiev wears down Yarde to win light-heavyweight classic
© Reuters
Anthony Yarde pushes Artur Beterbiev to the limit in a light-heavyweight classic before being stopped by the IBF, WBC and WBO champion in the eighth round in London.

Artur Beterbiev has retained his IBF, WBC and WBO light-heavyweight titles by stopping Anthony Yarde in the eighth round of a brutal fight at Wembley Arena.

Both men went into Saturday's clash boasting intimidating knockout records, Beterbiev's CV a perfect one from 18 fights and Yarde managing to post stoppage victories in 22 of his 25 outings.

There were times in the fight when Yarde, a massive underdog in the bout, looked capable of stopping his opponent, who was seven years his elder.

However, Beterbiev could not be halted in his tracks, withstanding numerous big shots from Yarde before closing the show with a chopping right hand.

During the early stages, both men combined a level of caution with recognising the need to land respect-earning shots, something which was being achieved.

In rounds three and four, there were signs that Yarde was on the brink of being stopped, yet he showed remarkable resolve to enter the middle third of the fight while attempting to remain on the front foot.

Anthony Yarde during fight with Artur Beterbiev on January 28, 2023.© Reuters

The Englishman seemed to make a breakthrough in the fifth, landing a huge right which undoubtedly got Beterbiev's attention, yet the Canadian fighter ended the round pummeling Yarde in the corner.

Power punches were prioritised by each fighter, there being little tact with their approaches, and it ensured that this fight will sit high on the list of most entertaining world title showdowns come the end of the year.

Nevertheless, despite the competitiveness and the fact that Yarde was ahead on two of three judges' scorecards, there was little surprise when Beterbiev made sure that his 100% knockout record was extended.

The 38-year-old landed a crushing right hand, starting the process of Yarde being felled and eventually being pulled out of the fight after barely making the count and preparing to withstand a barrage from Beterbiev with little defence.

Just like trainer Tunde Ajayi deserves respect for making the correct call for his fighter, Yarde's stock will grow on the back of arguably a career-best performance given the quality in the opposite corner.

That said, Beterbiev will now move on to try to become undisputed at 175lbs, potentially fighting mandatory challenger Callum Smith before eyeing a showdown with WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.

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