By Chris Williamson
Copper Box Arena, London - In a battle for the WBO European light heavyweight title, Anthony Yarde (14-0, 13 KOs) secured the biggest win of his career with a fourth round stoppage of veteran Nikola Sjekloca (32-5-1, 11 KOs) - who had never been stopped in the past.
Sjekloca, in his last fight, went to a twelve round split draw with former world champion Robert Stieglitz in March. Sjekloca had also gone the full distance in defeats against Callum Smith, Tyron Zeuge, Sakio Bika and Arthur Abraham.
‘The Beast’ started quickly as a series of jabs and sharp right hands bloodied the visitor’s nose in the opening round.
The second round saw Siekloca floored by a heavy right hand in his own corner, before briefly regrouping in the third to force a number of two handed assaults of his own. This was a Yarde under pressure for the first time in his career but it was short-lived.
Normal service was resumed by a relentless Yarde in the fourth as a brutal right uppercut-hook followed by a left hook floored the Montenegrin once again. The visitor rose bravely but the athletic Yarde followed up with a vicious two handed assault which had Sjekloca lurching towards the ropes as referee Steve Gray called an end to the fight.
Onwards and upwards for a rampant Yarde in a light-heavyweight division which has opened up at world level with the retirement of unified ruler Andre Ward earlier this year.
Earlier on, Daniel Dubois ended the year with another sensational stoppage win.
The 20-year-old heavyweight prospect only turned professional back in April but he finished his first calendar year in the paid code as a 6-0 talent with all of his wins coming early.
Dubois, who was a Team GB amateur before inking a deal to turn over under Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotions, is the current WBC Youth and Southern Area champion.
And he dispatched of Dorian Darch, the Welshman who IBF, WBA ‘Super’ and IBO world champion Anthony Joshua got rid of inside two rounds three years ago, in just two rounds at the Copper Box Arena, exclusively live on BT Sport and BoxNation, as part of the supporting cast to the ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ card co-headlined by James DeGale and Lee Selby.