Sergey Kovalev overcomes adversity to get the stoppage!
It was “Judgment Day” for WBO light heavyweight mandatory Anthony Yarde as he traveled to Russia for the biggest fight of his career. Sergey Kovalev has been on the world stage many times as he boasts the accolade of three-time champion!
Prior to the fight, one of the most controversial statement made from the two camps came from Team Yarde expressing they did not employ any sparring in their training camp. This was surprising given the 28 year-old only had twelve amateur bouts and eighteen as a professional.
Finding a Rhythm
The early rounds were pretty uneventful as both men looked to find a pattern of mistakes their opponent would manifest for them to exploit.
Yarde started fast early utilizing the check left hook each time Kovalev stepped in with his jab. While had success with it, he would forget to move his head resulting in him repeatedly getting stung by the powerful jab of the champion.
Weary of the facts that the challenger has ridiculous power (94% knockout rate) and nothing to lose, Kovalev stayed poised and avoided becoming careless. As a result, he stayed behind the jab from a distance and to be honest, he didn’t really need to do much else!
Jab, Jab, Jab! By the middle rounds, that check left hook was no longer much of a factor as the challenger started to fatigue. However, he found a “key to victory” that probably should have been apart of his game-plan from the start.
By the seventh round, Yarde started to move forward, still getting hit by the jab but attacking the body of Kovalev. The left hook downstairs was money and it completely changed the demeanor of the champion.
Actually almost in an instance, the pace of the fight changed! Kovalev was no longer in complete control with the jab. He started dropping the left-hand which gave Yarde the opportunity to get closer and land more of his arsenal.
In the eighth round, more body shots allowed the challenger to land a barrage of punches to the head that staggered the champion. While Kovalev kept throwing punches, he was literally on his last leg hoping to stay vertical.
At the sound of the bell, the champion happily took to his stool. Trainer Buddy McGirt expressed that he would not sit around and watch his fighter take too many punches. Remember, McGirt was the trainer for the recently deceased junior welterweight Maxim Dadashev!
As fans were on eggshells waiting to see how the champion would respond to almost being knocked out, what was to come would remind everyone why Kovalev is the champion!
Undeterred by what happened previously, the champ stuck to the game-plan and invited Yarde to apply more pressure. This was the prefect game-plan as the challenger no longer had the stamina to give the same effort he gave in the previous round.
In fact, Yarde was so tired that he couldn’t even brings his gloves up to his head to defend against the jab-straight combination. That would literally wear him down to the point where he looked dead on his feet!
The End is Near
By round eleven, it was only a matter of time. One big punch from the champion and the fight would be over. Halfway into the round, another stiff jab would be the big punch that sent Yarde to the canvas on his back.
It was apparent the referee really didn’t need to count as it looked as if Yarde was relishing in a much needed break!
Eleven rounds in and the Russian gets the knockout victory! At the time of the stoppage, Kovalev only needed to survive the remaining two rounds in order to claim victory as the scorecards read 98-92, 96-93 and 97-94!
As reported numerous times here on 3kingsboxing.com, the champion as a nine-figure fight waiting for him in a mega-clash with middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez. Will he have enough to stop the Mexican star too?
We will see possibly in November or December!
By: EJ Williams