Artur Beterbiev took the best shots Anthony Yarde had to offer but still came back with more as he broke down the Londoner’s brave challenge in the eighth round at Wembley Arena in London.

It was a sensational fight and, at times, it seemed both were trying to knock each other out with a single shot. The gallant Yarde had his moments, but even when he looked hurt, Beterbiev had an answer. Yarde had power, Beterbiev had a bit more power and, more importantly, brutal accuracy.

Yarde came through two torrid moments – at the end of the fifth round and in the seventh. But Berterbiev eventually got him. Yarde was battered and by the eighth round, as he was sent to the floor, he was broken. His trainer and friend Tunde Ajayi eventually called an end to save Yarde a finish he did not deserve.

It was Beterbiev’s first fight in the UK since he lost to Oleksandr Usyk in the heavyweight quarter-finals at the London Olympics in 2012. On that trip, he had trained at the TKO gym in London, where he met a young Yarde – there was even a story they might have sparred. Beterbiev did not remember the occasion.

It is hard to fault what the Russian, who lives in Canada, has done as a professional, though. In 18 fights, he has 18 wins, 18 knockouts and three world title belts. If there is any criticism it is that he has not been active enough, as his career has stretched to nearly a decade. But at 38, it would be fair to assume he has passed his peak, as recent injuries might hint.

That was the gamble that Yarde’s promoter Frank Warren took in making this fight. His first world title shot, against Sergey Kovalev in 2019 saw the best and worst of him, as he gave away many early rounds before coming on strong, nearly stopping Kovalev, and then punching himself out as he was stopped himself.

The penny seemed to drop after he never got out of first gear in losing to Lyndon Arthur the next year and he out that right in no uncertain style as he knocked out Arthur in four rounds in a rematch. There was no room for hesitation against Beterbiev.

Yarde began in almost hyperactive style, buzzing and flick a jab, while Beterbiev stalked him. Twice Yarde landed a left hook off the ropes as Beterbiev walked in, then spinning away, but there was an eerie thud to the Russian’s punches - to the first jab he landed, to  body shot just before the end of the first round.

The second was a great round. Yarde had early success with a left hook but, when Yarde was backed into a corner, he took a hard right to the side of the head. Yarde spung into action, exchanging with the champion and getting him to back off, although Beterbiev landed with a good left later in the round.

Beterbiev started to take control in the third round, whacking Yarde with one to the body and landing his jab and left hook well. Every time Yarde missed, he was being made to pay and he was caught by a heavy left hook before the bell.

The Russian went after Yarde at the start of the fourth round, standing close and crunching home left and rights. Backed into the ropes, Yarde punched his way out. At one point, Yarde knocked Beterbiev back across the ring and came in after him, but the Russian had set a trap and met him with a hammer of a right hand. Yarde was doing OK, but Beterbiev was so accurate and finished the round with a peach of an uppercut.

Yarde was starting to look badly banged up but he stood with Beterbiev. When he landed a right, Beterbiev again backed away but was nailed by a left hook. Yarde then landed a better left hook and this time the Russian tried to hold but Beterbiev finished the round well on top as Yarde was pinned in a corner taking heavy punches. The end looked close.

Yarde’s right eye was by now rapidly shutting, while Beterbiev was cut over the left eye. Yarde tried to force the pace in the sixth round and for most of it, Beterbiev let him.

Yarde had most of the seventh round as well, but when Beterbiev managed to pin him in a corner again he unloaded, landing heavy shot after heavy shot, Once again, Yarde found a punch to stay in it, an uppercut, but he looked badly hurt.

The eighth was a round too far, though. A big right hand around the ear staggered Yarde and a follow up right sent him over with a kind of slump that gave away the game that the game was up.

Yarde beat the count but walked back to his corner, rather than towards referee Steve Gray. Badly hurt, he told Gray he wanted to fight on, but, as Beterbiev went for the finish, Ajayi walked up the ringsteps to stop it. The finishing time was 2:01.

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.