Kovalev KOs Yarde to retain WBO LH title

Photos: RCC Boxing Promotions, Pavel Tabarchuk

WBO world light heavyweight champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) scored a hard fought eleventh round KO over previously unbeaten mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs) on Saturday night at the Traktor Sport Palace in Chelyabinsk, Russia. The first four rounds were close. Kovalev clearly won rounds five and six. Yarde came on strong and had Kovalev in trouble from body shots in rounds seven and eight. Kovalev took so much punishment in round eight that trainer Buddy McGirt threatened to stop the fight.
Kovalev Ko Yarde58
The 36-year-old Kovalev responded and proceeded to dominate Yarde in round nine, as the heavily muscled challenger seemed to have left it all in the ring the previous round. Finally, in round eleven Kovalev knocked out the completely gassed Yarde with a hard jab! Time was 2:04.

Is a big money fight against Canelo Alvarez next up for the Krusher?



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  • Good performance by Kovalev. Clearly not the same fighter he was 5 years ago but I’m sure Oscar and Canelo will get a shot at him late this year.

      • Are you being serious? A Guy that started at 147 fighting one of the most devastating punchers in light heavyweight history is NOT a risk? The fuck?

  • What a great fight!

    From my perspective, both came out as winners: Kov showed one more time that he still belongs to the elite in this division. Yarde showed that he could seriously challenge someone as experienced as Kov for at least 8 rounds. He will only get better and there is no shame or real disadvantage in this loss.

    • No, Kovalev is not in the elite of this division anymore and tonight’s fight proved that. If he fights the winner of the Gvozdyk/Beterbiev unification fight he will be brutally retired. I think even zurdo beats him at this point. Bivol out boxes him and stop him late.

    • Yeah I agree, Kov needs to quit while he’s ahead, but I’m sure a big payday against Canelo will delay the inevitable.

  • Yarde had a lot of COCKY on his face when he stepped into the ring but I saw no COCKY when he left the ring and according to the bias announcers, Yarde won the fight.

    • Croswell: Sorry, but this is a completely unwarranted and inaccurate comment.

      Yarde is a confident fighter, which is understandable, considering his record and KO rate. He was clearly ahead in the fight until the 9th round – mostly because of the heavy body shots that worried Kov’s trainer as well as Kov.

      The other argument I read in here, “too much muscle” is also BS because Yarde has a naturally very athletic body and does everything he can to not develop more muscle. In other words, he has been avoiding all muscle building training for years already.

      Why is it so difficult for some people in here to just admit that it was a great fight? Kov is past his prime but still very good. Yarde is not yet at his peak but already very good.

      These are simple facts, but the Yarde bashing comments in here are based on nothing but bias.

      • Yard wasn’t definitely ahead on a scorecards except rounds 7 & 8.
        Sergey was much more skilled and intelligent fighter but again showed the signs of complacency in his defense . Good fight for the both

      • Your right some men don’t like it if there lady friends were making eyes at the fighter when the fight was on. Though I always felt having a muscle bound isn’t a big deal since they usually have a stamina problem.

  • This guy Yarde is a damn good all-around fighter! Kovalev had to dig deep, as all his Championships will be full of motivated and well schooled fighters from here on in! Kovalev proved he is a smart and durable fighter, who can pull the Heavy handed Rabbit out of his hat at any time!!~

  • Once Andre Ward laid the blueprint for beating Kovalev, everyone is using it successfully. The man cannot take body shots which is amazing for professional fighter of his caliber. He was in deep trouble only because of the body shots really. If Yarde had a little bit more staminai he easily wins this fight

  • Yarde was the next “big thing”! He was a bum who had fought nobody and was mandatory for the low rent WBO title. I’m so glad the Russian won. He’s 36 years old but still beat Yarde. I think Yarde’s trainer will eat humble pie and will be never heard of again.

    • Don’t believe the hype, Yarde did nothing to deserve his shot.

      Thought he gave it a go and had some decent success, but still not enough to beat a faded, 36 yrs old Kov.

      Too much body builder, not enough fighter.

  • Anyone gonna talk about how Buddy told Krusher he was gonna stop the fight if he didn’t show anything? Great trainer and kovalev rose to the occasion and handled business. They have a good partnership.

    • That’s clearly not what most Kov backers here want to hear, and hence the Yarde bashing. Kov was lucky to get out of the first 8 rounds, and he deserves credit for turning the fight around from the 9th onward.

      The fight was good because both are good fighters – one is on his way out, the other one on his way up.

        • Kov was in such bad shape that Buddy warned him at the end of round 8 that he would stop the fight if he would get hit with one more hard shot by Yarde.

          • Yes he was in such bad shape that he went out and won the next three rounds and stopped yarde with a jab.Trainers say thing to awaken a fighter sometimes . Dundee told leonard” youre blowing it kd” and he was but then went out and stopped Hearns.It happens frequently in boxing sometimes it works sometimes it doesnt.Clearly Kov is not the same fighter as five years ago mostly his early power doesnt have the same impact it once had and his reflexes have slowed but he had it when he needed it.

    • Yarde was a “nobody” who got a shot at the title! He was beaten by a 36 year old who schooled him. Let’s face it who has Yarde beaten? Nobody!!!!!!!!

      • Agree with what you’re saying.

        Boxing is so full of BS that Yarde actually was mandatory for over a year…..his last opponent was a 35yr old, 3 yrs a pro Electrician!!….Still, if you get given a shot, you’re going to take it (and the money).

        • He got well paid but got beat! He will have another 2 or 3 fights against “nobodies” and then get another “World Title” fight. His trainer was saying he will win, Yarde was saying he will win but he got beat by a 36 year old in the twilight of his career.

      • Really?? All you are saying is that you didn’t see the fight.

        Yarde dominated Kov for 8 rounds, which prompted this reaction from his trainer: “If you take one more big shot like that I’m taking you out of this fight.”

        Kov dug deep and was able to turn around the fight. Good for him, but far from “schooling” anyone. It will take Kov longer to recover from the body shots than Yarde from his KO.

        If Kov is foolish (or greedy) enough to fight Canelo who loves to hit the body, his career will be over. Kov should quit while he is ahead.

        • Don’t compare Yarde & Canelo.
          Yarde is much more closer to a cruiserweight rather than to fight as light heavy, Canelo is natural lightweight.
          Kovalev is bigger , heavier and has longer hands.
          If Kov will be smart in this fight, he can outbox Canelo ( but has no chance to win on points against him due to US judges)

  • Yarde gave it a go, but even against a faded Kov, he didnt have enough.

    Too much muscle, not enough stamina – lose the muscle, or lose more fights at this level.

    Canelo will be licking his lips after watching Sergey, again, hurt badly by body shots.

  • Just checked out the highlights on YouTube. Excellent comeback by Kovalev. If Yarde had one or 2 tough distance or tough fights leading into this he probably would have pulled it off. Giving how poorly Kovalev reacts to body punches I think Canelo beats him.

    • Yes, true, Yarde didn’t have the experience coming into this fight, otherwise he could of pulled it off.

    • Almost exactly the same as Nigel Benn’s ko loss to Michael Watson. Like Benn, Yarde walked into it as Kovalev stepped in with the jab. Pretty much 25 plus stone right on the button

    • Well it was fatigue. Yarde seemed out of gas. The jab just happened to be the next punch that put him down.

  • Why in the world would we want to see an over the hill Kovalev fight Canelo Alvarez? The answer is we don’t, but it will probably happen because it puts money in the promoters pockets, does absolutely nothing for the sport though. Sad the state of boxing today…

  • Kovalev kept touching that left side of Yarde’s jaw for awhile, and a few right hands hit that spot before that final jab did him in. Yarde looked cocky in the 9th, and Kovalev was almost gone in the 8th. But Kovalev didn’t look like he was in that much danger in round 9. Kovalev softened up Yarde from rounds 9 to the finish in the 11th. It was fatigue that got to Yarde as much as Kovalev’s punches. Yarde gave that left side of his face to Kovalev to jab and hit with right hands for awhile leading to the KO. Yarde looks more to believe in his jabs and left hooks more than anything. And his defence wasn’t great.

  • Tunde should be quiet for one whole year. Not another word from him. Ward should find an experience trainer to assist. But Tunde simply talks too much.

  • Anthony Yarde is a FRAUD !!

    No one pussies out the way he did. Getting knocked out by a fucking jab. He wasn’t even man enough to pull a no mas. He had to get knocked the fuck out by a lazy wimpy jab.

    He should be ashamed of himself.

    And if Mr. Cigarettes thinks he is the G.O.A.T, he has another thing coming. He is the weaker of the 4 existing champions. Either one of the other 3 would beat his punk, cigarette smoking, alcohol drinking ass.

    I saw two losers tonight. The fight sucked.

  • Yarde is now done. It wasn’t the jab, it was some serious right hands in Rds 10 and 11 that did him in. He’s Jermaine Taylor post-Pavlik now.

  • Yarde gave a damn good fight considering he came into this fight with only 18 fights and fought Kovalev in his own back yard. Too bad Ward could not fight Kovalev in Russia, would of been a different fights. In fact Kovalev beat Wards arse 1st time around, but got robbed, typical Only In America. All the biased American girl scout fans watch and see that Yarde will come back strong.

  • Yarde is not deserving of a title shot. Lack of amateur experiance showed big time. His shoulder roll is a poor Floyd Mayweather. Yarde had Kovalev basically finished at end of 8th then his laziness and poor cardio in 9th gave the fight away. Too much posing and too few combinations. When he went to Kovalev’s body in the 7 & 8th Kovalev punched back well enough so he survived and Yarde blew his wad.

  • Not a bad matchup which led to a decent but not spectacular fight but I wouldn’t like the chances of either of them vs Beterbiev, Gvozdyk or Bivol. I think Kovalev stays away from all of them and goes for a money fight with Canelo. McGirt is squeezing as much out of Kovalev as there is left (which does not seem to be too much). He is definitely the trainer SK needs now. Yarde needs to spar and also build up his stamina.

  • I thought Yarde performed better than I thought he would. He certainly can hurt you when he hits you. And I also figured that this Kovalev would have to dig down deep to get the win. This is not the invincible Kovalev we got to see for many years, when he was destroying everyone in the division and ruling with an iron fist. This Kovalev is a man that showed he can box and he can jab. His power is still good but not lights out like before. To Yardes credit he hurt the KILLER a few times, and I think he hits harder than most figured. The fight was actually an interesting fight, because both hurt each other, to Kovalevs credit he used his experience to take Yarde into the deep water and then drowned him. I’m not sure how much Kovalev wants the other champs but I think he would have a tough time with Gvozdyk who I.M.O is the toughest of the other champs. The KILLER himself might be thinking of cashing out against Canelo, and I still think he has enough pop to stop Canelo, heaven forbid if it goes the distance, because we know what Delaho has in store for the decision. In the meantime, the KILLER showed that he is still tough enough to hurt other tough fighters.

  • I’m sure Canelo and Oscar will be licking their chops now to take on the Russian who is on the chopping block. Main events should probably cash out with Canelo because if duva puts Kovalev in with the winner of ‘The Nail’ and the Dagestan killer he will be brutally retired. I also think zurdo at this point would beat kovalev with his vicious bodywork and range. The problem is now, because Kovalev looked so poor, Golden boy will not offer him the money he was going to get if he abandoned the
    Yarde fight and took on Canelo in September. However, if Sergei wants to retire a multi-millionaire then he should take whatever Golden boy offers him to fight Canelo in Vegas where he can’t possibly win.

  • Great fight for both fighters; Kovalez proved he’s still relavent and Yarde proved he is a championship fighter. Yarde is a late bloomer to boxing and this fight will serve as a huge learning experience for him. He took the leap from highschool to Harvard tonight and made a very good account of himself. At 28, he isn’t exactly young and he needed to take this fight if he wants to be recognized in the sport. I believe he could be a force in the highly competitive lighthevyweight division within the the year.

  • Gutted for Yarde but hopefully he will come back stronger.

    Yarde did nothing to deserve the shot but he’s gone over to Russia and given a very decent account of himself.
    If a fighter with an undeserved shot gets hammered or runs all night then I agree with folk but Yarde didn’t fall into that category.

  • Such a comedy of comments in this forum,but heres food for thought …..maybe Kovalev used a”Ali verses Foreman” tactic and got the much younger Yarde to tire himself out !

  • I thought Kovalev’s jab would be the difference against his truly unproven opponent. It was, but I have to say Yarde surprised me and also showed that Kovalev is definitely on the downward slide.

    Here’s my advice: grab that Canelo money while you can and even if you catch him with a shot you should still hang it up after that.

    Note: Canelo isn’t a super dangerous fight for Kovalev. I think Canelo will out speed him all night, but I don’t he’ll stop him. Maybe he’ll bang the body enough to make him quit, but it won’t be a life threatening situation. And while I think Canelo would win an easy decision there is a chance Kovalev catches him, so it’s worth a watch and for Kovalev the money won’t get better.

  • Yarde did better than I expected, but for me this fight just slides Kovalev down my list of Light Heavyweights. I would put him behind The Nail, Beterbiev, Bivol and Ramirez at this point. Additionally, I think Canelo will legitimately beat him (probably by Decision if they fight) and shouldn’t need a catch weight. At best that means Kovalev is the 6th best LH in the world and while Yarde had nice moments I personally don’t think he was as close as the corner drama suggested. Only Mcgirt knows for sure, but I think he wanted to tap the inner warrior and succeeded.

    So if Kovalev is 6, then is Yarde 7? I don’t even think he’s that high, but he now deserves to fight a real contender.

    • Good points, Scott!

      I think Kov is at this point anywhere between #4 and 7 in the LH division, and Yarde now somewhere between #8 and 12.

      I am looking fwd to the next Bivol, Ramirez and Gvozdyk fights.

  • Instead of fighting Canelo next I personally would like to see a rematch with Yarde, In the 8th round, The Krusher was staggeringaround and if it had gone on for another 15 seconds, Yarde would have KO’d The Krusher. Kocalev is NO match for Canelo, Canelo would take him within 5 rounds.. Yarde has nothing to be ashamed of he learned alot aobut himself in this fight and grew in may ways…. He’ll be around for a long time….

    • I think Yarde is Joe Smith JR, except he failed to deliver the KO. At 28, he might improve a little, but I think he’ll likely remain a limited power puncher. The Sport needs guys like this, because you never know when the bomb will land.

  • Good fight overall. Jab versatility win the contest for the Krusher. As far as Buddy’s threat in between rounds to stop the fight, I think that corners know that they have “ears” around them that relay information to the opposite corner. I simply looked at it as a little mind game or misinformation to gain an edge. Yarde’s body language in the following round showed the effectiveness of the strategy. Either way, good fight. However, Kovalev has to start planning his departure from the ring. 2 to 3 fights and call it a wrap.

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