Anthony Yarde confirmed what was evident earlier Saturday night, that he gave Artur Beterbiev the most difficult fight of his professional career.

Yarde relayed an exchange he had with Beterbiev following the unbeaten IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion’s eighth-round, technical-knockout win during a post-fight interview with BT Sport.

“That’s what he told me,” Yarde said. “Yeah, he said that to me, he goes, as a professional, he said that’s the hardest fight he’s ever had.”

Beterbiev trailed Yarde on two scorecards entering the eighth round of their main event at OVO Arena Wembley in London. Judges Jun Bae Lim (68-65) and Robin Taylor (67-66) had England’s Yarde ahead through seven rounds of what developed into a very competitive fight. Judge Jerome Lades had Montreal’s Beterbiev in front, 67-66, before the eighth round began.

A right hand by Beterbiev buzzed Yarde just after the midway mark of the eighth round. A stunned Yarde stumbled and a subsequent right hand by Beterbiev, which landed on the back of Yarde’s head, sent the courageous challenger to his gloves and knees.

Yarde took his time, but he beat referee Steve Gray’s count. The Russian-born Beterbiev attacked Yarde as soon as the action resumed, which led Yarde’s trainer, Tunde Ajayi, to instruct Gray to stop their bout.

Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) acknowledged Yarde’s power during the aforementioned post-fight exchange. Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) appeared to get Beterbiev’s attention with a left hook in the fourth round and a straight right in the fifth round.

The 38-year-old Beterbiev, who rocked Yarde several times before he finally dropped the British contender, also suffered a cut above his left eye.

“He goes, yeah, I’m strong,” Yarde said. “He goes now is his time, too much experience. That’s what he said to me. He goes, ‘For future, you.’ So, but again, Kovalev said good things about me. But I don’t care about all that. I’ll be honest with you, I don’t care about what another man – I care about what girls say about me. But I don’t care about what these guys [say]. I’m only joking. I’m only joking, but yeah, it’s just one of them things, isn’t it?”

Though undoubtedly disappointed, the 31-year-old Yarde realizes he was better versus Beterbiev than he was when Sergey Kovalev stopped him in the 11th round of their August 2019 fight for Kovalev’s WBO light heavyweight title in Chelyabinsk, Russia, Kovalev’s hometown. Yarde hurt Kovalev badly in the eighth round of that bout, but he failed to finish off the former champion, later succumbed to fatigue and was stopped by Kovalev’s jab.

“I’m still learning, you know? I felt like this performance was better than the Kovalev one,” Yarde said. “Obviously, [the fight] was a bit shorter. This one was by, you know, a f------ good punch. And I saw it coming, too. I was trying to move out the way. I was like, ‘Too late!’ No, all jokes aside, man, it’s that he’s a very good fighter. He’s tricky as [can be]. That’s why he’s knocked out all these opponents, man.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.