Chelyabinsk, Russia - WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) survived a scare in the eigth round to score a knockout of mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde (18-1, 17 KOs) in the eleventh. (photos by Pavel Tarbachuk).
Kovalev may have now secured a showdown with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, which is targeted for the end of the year.
The action started very fast with both boxers looking to take the lead and land jabs. Yarde had the quicker hands and Kovalev was landing a lot of solid jabs. The second round was also close, with both boxers landing good punches - and Kovalev's jab was still the controlling punch.
The third round was also close, but it was Kovalev who controlled the action with harder shots in the fourth. They were trading shots in the fifth round. Kovalev had the edge with more punches landing.
Yarde changed things around in the seventh as he begun to dig hard to the body and Kovalev was being stung by the shots. Kovalev was in serious trouble in the eight round, as he was rocked and hurt bad by numerous punches.
Kovalev came back in the ninth with his hard jab, because Yarde was exhausted and unable to get things going. Kovalev continued to rally and was battering an exhausted Yarde in the tenth with punches.
Kovalev landed a huge jab in the eleventh that sent Yarde down and out.