Artur Beterbiev maintained his perfect record after a bruising contest against Anthony Yarde
Undefeated Russian fighter Artur Beterbiev retained his WBO, WBC and IBF world light-heavyweight titles with a stoppage win against home hero Anthony Yarde in a back-and-forth battle at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.
Beterbiev, 38, set up the finish in the eighth round with a massive right-hand shot which crumpled Yarde to his knees. The British fighter beat the count but Beterbiev immediately poured on the pressure again, prompting Yarde's corner to call off the fight and spare their man further punishment.
Yarde, 31, had posed a bigger threat than many expected to the all-conquering Beterbiev. Fighting in front of a fiercely partisan crowd, the Londoner enjoyed particular success in a pulsating round five before Beterbiev drew upon all his ring nous to impose himself on the fight.
Beterbiev, who also holds Canadian citizenship and trains in Montreal, said he was satisfied with his night's work against Yarde despite the contest being closer than many had anticipated.
"I can't say I did a bad fight, but if I do again, I want to do better. But I feel good," Beterbiev told BT Sport. "Anthony did [punch hard]. He's young. He has time I think, and I hope he will do well in the future.
"If I'm being honest, every punch he did, for all those punches we prepared, that's why I came back and back, because we knew, we expected those punches," added the Dagestani-born fighter.
Beterbiev handed Yarde a third loss in 26 professional contests.
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The eighth-round finish extended Beterbiev's remarkable 100% stoppage rate against each of the 19 opponents he has faced in professional boxing. The win will also increase the clamor for an all-Russian undisputed light-heavyweight title fight against WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.
Bivol, 32, boasts an undefeated record of 21-0 and famously handed Mexican great Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez a rare loss in their title fight in Las Vegas in May of last year. Bivol followed that up with a dominant decision victory over Mexico's Gilberto Ramirez in Abu Dhabi in November.