After knockout victory over Anthony Yarde, Sergey Kovalev could face Canelo Alvarez next
In the end it was experience and power.
WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev regained his belt by stopping Anthony Yarde in round 11 at Tracktor Arena in Chelyabinsk, Russia Saturday night.
The time was 2:04 seconds into round 11.
Kovalev, eight years older at 36, set the table in the opening stanza by using his long jab. The blow would pay dividends all night.
Yarde walked forward, bobbing slightly and throwing hooks. Kovalev connected with short left while Yarde fired a check hook. Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) stayed busy in round two.
A crisp hook/jab knocked Yarde into the ropes. Yarde was timing Kovalev well with counters. Both fighters threw right hands. Yarde picked up the pace in round three. Kovalev continued to box. Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs) went to the body. He was letting his hands go more. A combination landed, but Kovalev stuck to his game plan.
In round four, Yarde clubbed Kovalev with a left. It appeared his confidence was growing. Kovalev connected with an uppercut. Seconds later a combination knocked Yarde back. Kovalev was busier. Round five began with Yarde landing a solid right. Kovalev snapped Yarde’s head back with two solid jabs. Kovalev let his right go. It landed. Yarde looked tired.
Kovalev, defending his WBO belt for the first time since regaining it from Eleider Alvarez, kept working in round six.
Yarde was backing up. He was throwing one punch at a time. Kovalev clipped Yarde with a three-punch combination. Kovalev’s jab couldn’t miss. Yarde went to the body with well placed hooks in round seven. The blows seemed to bother Kovalev. Yarde’s commitment to the body was real.
Kovalev went back to jabbing in round eight, but Yarde landed a solid combination. A number of solid rights to the head connected. Momentarily, the fight had changed. After the onslaught, Kovalev staggered back to his corner.
But he wasn’t done.
Kovalev trained Buddy McGirt told Kovalev he would stop the fight if he didn’t “show him something” in round nine. Kovalev did-landing solid combinations from distance. Yarde looked surprised. Kovalev connected with another one-two. Kovalev kept up the pace in round 10 by boxing and punching. He landed a solid uppercut. He strafed Yarde with numerous blows at the bell as the English fighter staggered. Nothing was coming back from Yarde.
With two rounds to go, Kovalev appeared to be back in control. Yarde was very tired, but came out punching. Kovalev stayed calm and kept working. A hard-straight left put the exhausted Yarde on his back. He barely moved as the referee counted him out.