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Beterbiev continues unprecedented KO streak with Yarde win

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LONDON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 28: Artur Beterbiev celebrates after Tunde Ajayi ( Obscured ) asked the referee to stop the fight, leading to defeat for Anthony Yarde, during the IBF, WBC, WBO World Light Heavyweight Title fight between Artur Beterbiev and Anthony Yarde at OVO Arena Wembley on January 28, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

WBC, WBO and IBF world champion, Artur Beterbiev, proved his status as one of the best boxers in the world with a hard-won but well-deserved victory over British challenger, Anthony Yarde. After a tough and entertaining spectacle, Beterbiev stopped Yarde in the 8th round at the Wembley Arena, London, on January 28th.

It was a tough match for both; even early on while the two were still finding each other out, Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KO’s) and Anthony Yarde (23-3, 22 KO’s) put up an astounding pace throughout the fight where they often switched between pressuring the other, and being the one to be pressured.

The first round saw Yarde establish himself, and despite struggling to deal with Beterbiev’s jabs, he kept a solid pace. Beterbiev countered well – especially with his right hands, but Yarde seemed to be the more active fighter during the round.

The second round saw Beterbiev clearly dominate as he pressured Yarde with endless jabs and maintained excellent defense to block Yarde’s shots or make him miss.

During the third and fouth round, Yarde seemed to gain more traction with his pressure, and even when pushed on the back foot he seemed to do enough to make Beterbiev think twice about coming forward. Beterbiev’s defense proved to be solid during these rounds and with his solid jab he could have solidified winning both rounds and he pressured Yarde effectively, but Yarde’s toughness and movement delayed a real domination of the match. Beterbiev also found relative success putting Yarde on the ropes, and Yarde’s inclination to exchange rather than leave spoke of the beginning signs of what would happen later in the match.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 28: Anthony Yarde punches Artur Beterbiev during the IBF, WBC, WBO World Light Heavyweight Title fight between Artur Beterbiev and Anthony Yarde at OVO Arena Wembley on January 28, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by James Chance/Getty Images)

The fifth round proved to be highly competitive, as the two got in more than their fair share of blows. Beterbiev proved his counterpunching abilities were elite during this round, but failed to stop Yarde in his tracks even with his jabs and powerful rights. Beterbiev finally seemed to gain an edge when he cornered Yarde in the corner late in the round and unleashed a series combinations Yarde could barely deal with, and clearly saw him buzzed.

The sixth round became somewhat of a back and forth that saw Anthony Yarde impress onlookers with handling Beterbiev’s pressure on the back foot. He countered fairly well, but failed to really impact the fight with his punches with seemed a bit too slow and weak to truly hurt Beterbiev. Beterbiev himself was pushed back several times, but proved to be more equipped in this case through his defensive fundamentals.

The seventh saw Beterbiev clearly pull away with a potential victory as he unleashed an onslaught of combinations at Yarde in the corner late in the round, yet Yarde proved his toughness by staying in the fight and unleashing several good punches of his own. The eight round proved to be a decisive victory for the Russian-Canadian when, two minutes into the match, Yarde was feeling the damage and could barely answer the onslaught of combinations Beterbiev unleashed. He was knocked down as a result, after a good right by Beterbiev, and though Yarde beat the count, he could barely hold on for another minute as Beterbiev continued his unstoppable assault. The referee stopped the match after advise from Yarde’s corner, and the bout was ruled a technical knockout win for Beterbiev.

The rest of the event card featured a co-main event between WBA’s world Flyweight champion, Artem Dalakian (22-0, 15 KO’s), and Costa Rican contender David Jimenez (12-1, 9 KO’s). Though highly-competitive and close, Dalakian won by unanimous decision to retain his title. It was a rather typical showcase of a stark contrast between different styles as Dalakian clearly was the better and more skilled boxer, while Jimenez himself did not shy away from using a more cruder brawler-type approach. Despite the differences, both were fundamentally sound, leading to a bout with fewer landed blows than anticipated. Dalakian seemed to edge out with his counterpunching abilities, but Jimenez definitely showed a good account of himself with his endless determination to move forward and finish Dalakian off. The unanimous decision result seemed fair all things considering, when taking into account that Jimenez’ pressure never really had Dalakian in trouble. Though Dalakian was not overly active and aggressive, his efficiency during the fight was plain to see, culminating in another successful defense of his WBA world title.

Heavyweight debutant Moses Itauma (1-0, 1 KO’s) and hopeful Light-Heavyweight contender in his , brother Karol Itauma (9-1, 7 KO’s), also had their respective matches, but with conflicting results. While Moses netted himself one of the fastest KO debuts in the history of the sport by dispatching his opponent in just twenty-three seconds, Karol – who was fighting for the vacant WBC International Light-Heavyweight title – went five rounds with his opponent before being knocked out.

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LONDON, ENGLAND – JANUARY 28: Moses Itauma celebrates after defeating Marcel Bode, during their heavyweight fight, at OVO Arena Wembley on January 28, 2023 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Robison/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

With his nineteenth match culminating in Beterbiev retaining his 100% KO ratio, his match against a worthwhile contender in Anthony Yarde can be regarded as one of the best Light-Heavyweights in the modern era, but with the chance to become undisputed against Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KO’s) still lurking, he will need to beat Bivol to truly cement himself as the best Light-Heavyweight of all time. Similarly, Bivol’s – who is Beterbiev’s direct rival, also Russian and a (WBA) world champion – own legacy hangs in the balance depending on whether he beats Beterbiev or not.

Despite the TKO loss he suffered, Yarde can continue his career with his head held up high, and will have plenty of fights left against the tank against both domestic and international fighters who are considered one of the best in the division, including the likes of Craig Richards (17-3-1, 10 KO’s) and Joe Smith Jr. (28-4, 22 KO’s), who both have proven themselves as contenders, or world champions, in the case of the latter.

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Former WBO Light-Heavyweight world champion, Joe Smith Jr , who also suffered a loss to Beterbiev in 2022, might be Anthony Yarde’s next opponent. (Photo by Mikey Williams/Top Rank Inc via Getty Images)

Beterbiev, meanwhile, has stated his intention to face Dmitry Bivol next for an undisputed bout to unifiy all their titles. Bivol’s last match saw him dispose of his own challenger, Gilberto ‘Zurdo’ Ramirez (44-1, 30 KO’s), in a similarly impressive – albeit different – fashion through a UD victory.