Beterbiev vs Yarde: Artur Beterbiev retains his three world titles after thrilling contest in London

Results and all the reaction as Anthony Yarde took at the unified light heavyweight world champion Artur Beterbiev at Wembley Arena on Saturday night.

By George Mills Published: 29 January 2023 - 12.13am

Artur Beterbiev retained his IBF, WBC and WBO world titles after a pulsating eighth-round knockout victory against Anthony Yarde at Wembley Arena.

The three-belt Russian champion was tested and taken to the wire over the course of a thrilling encounter in the English capital but the 38-year-old eventually triumphed, catching Yarde with a trademark right hand to bring a memorable contest to an end in typically bruising fashion.

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But Yarde, now 23-3, can emerge with his head held high however with two of the ringside judges scoring the hometown fighter ahead on the cards when the fight was stopped.

That will be scant consolation in the short term to Yarde though with the Hackney man having now come up short in two world title contests, following his valiant defeat against Sergey Kovalev in 2019.

Speaking in the immediate aftermath of the fight, undefeated champion Beterbiev stated his ambition to go on and unify all four light-heavyweight belts as he called for a mouthwatering undisputed contest against his countryman and reining WBA champion Dmitry Bivol.

Anthony Yarde boxing against Artur Beterbiev

The fight got off to a flyer with a cracking atmosphere greeting both men as the first bell went at the OVO Arena in Wembley, north London, and it was Yarde who looked the more busy of the two men inside the opening stanza.

Presenting Beterbiev with twitching feints and flicking jabs, Yarde walked the Russian champion onto a nice right hand within the first 90 seconds that looked to fill him with confidence and crank up the volume in the crowd.

The fight caught fire in the second round with the first of what would be many wild exchanges between the two brick-fisted competitors.

Both challenger and champion had moments of success during the flurry, taking turns in drawing gasps from the crowd with winging shots coming within a whisker of one another.

Into the third, the tempo appeared to have cooled slightly during the round as both men seeked to regain their composure - but in the dying seconds, the champion landed a left handed bomb on a squared up Yarde to leave him walking gingerly back to his stool.

Beterbiev roared into the fourth looking for an early finish and looked to only be a significant shot away from downing Yarde but, roared on by an electric atmosphere in the arena, the hometown fighter endured the onslaught and managed to stem the tide with a few timely jabs to back Beterbiev up and buy himself some time.

Yarde's face began to wear the scars of battle in the fifth as he sported a reddening welt under his right eye from which Beterbiev would eventually draw blood.

But that was not before Yarde enjoyed arguably his best moment of the fight though, catching Beterbiev with a barrage of huge shots in the fifth round including a looping overhand right that sent the former Olympian careering backwards.

“Anthony Yarde, against any other light-heavyweight in the world, becomes a world champion tonight”
- George Warren

But as followed the pattern of the evening, just as Beterbiev looked in trouble, he found a way to reverse momentum and force Yarde to absorb heavy damage in the closing moments of the round.

Looking to slow the ageing champion down, Yarde came out targeting the body in the seventh round and found success, ripping huge hooks into Beterbiev's torso to push the champion back.

But once again, just as Yarde looked to capitalise on another good round with a damaging flurry, Beterbiev managed to answer back and force Yarde to ride some stinging shots of his own against the ropes.

It felt as though the pattern for the rest of the fight had been established with both men having proven the ability to take one another's best shots - but that was until Beterbiev landed the shot of the night to finally send Yarde to the canvas.

It was a straight right cross that spun the chin of the challenger and although Yarde beat the count, trainer Tunde Ajayi mercifully rescued his fighter from what could have been a brutal and unsightly end by throwing the towel in moments later.

Reflecting on an incredible night and a brilliant effort from his man, promoter George Warren said: "It was a fight that swung like a pendulum

"Anthony showed what he is, the character he's got. He was winning. He had to go through some tough moments. I'm so proud of him, he's an incredible guy.

"It was a tough fight for both men. Anthony Yarde against any other light-heavyweight in the world, becomes a world champion. With that performance, I don't think anyone else could have lived with him. 

"He was strong, he showed discipline at times, he maybe got carried away at times... but I just think the whole performance, the atmosphere we had in here too. It was so close - but again, just so far."