Make that 19.
Light heavyweight titleholder Artur Beterbiev stopped a competitive Anthony Yarde in the eighth round Saturday at OVO Arena Wembley in London, the Russian-Canadian’s 19th knockout in as many fights.
The official time of the stoppage was 2:01.
Beterbiev didn’t have an easy night. Yarde, making his second attempt to win a major belt, used his quick feet to be an elusive target and position himself to land hard, eye-catching shots throughout the fight.
BETERBIEV DOES IT AGAIN
19 fights, 19 knockouts for @ABeterbiev. #BeterbievYarde pic.twitter.com/ZAPwXKH13Y
— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) January 28, 2023
A stalking Beterbiev connected on many of his own heavy shots, particularly when he was able to trap Yarde against the ropes or in a corner. That might’ve worn down the Englishman and contributed to the stoppage.
However, Beterbiev was unable to take full control over what was a competitive fight until the final moments.
Yarde was winning on the cards after seven rounds. One judge gave Beterbiev a 67-66 edge, but the other two had Yarde leading, 68-65 (five rounds to two) and 67-66. Boxing Junkie had Beterbiev leading 67-66.
Of course, the scoring has never mattered in a Beterbiev fight. And it didn’t on this night.
Midway through Round 8 Beterbiev hurt Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) badly with a straight right, forcing him to stumble backward into the ropes. He then landed an overhand right above Yarde’s ear, which put him onto the canvas on all fours.
Yarde was able to get up but he clearly was still hurt and, just as important, he didn’t seem to be interested in continuing. He glanced at his cornermen after he got to his feet, perhaps to say, “HELP!”
The fight resumed for a moment but Yarde’s trainer Tunde Ajayi let referee Steve Gray know that he wanted to save their man from further punishment and the official complied.
Just like that Beterbiev kept his knockout streak intact and retained his three titles.
The humble winner was asked to assess his performance afterward but served up a tongue-in-cheek response: “I hope to one day be a good boxer,” he said with a smile.
Beterbiev is now a step closer to meeting talented countryman Dmitry Bivol – the conqueror of Canelo Alvarez – for all four major titles and recognition as the best light heavyweight in the world.
Beterbiev didn’t want to talk too much about the future after his victory over Yarde but it’s clear what he wants.
“I want Bivol,” he said. “Right now it’s everything. In this fight we have four titles. It’s a really good fight.”
It’s the ultimate fight at 175 pounds.