Anthony Yarde vs. Nikola Sjekloca – Results
By Marcus Richardson: #5 WBO 175 lb. contender Anthony Yarde (14-0, 13 KOs) picked up his 14th consecutive win as a pro in stopping ring veteran Nikola Sjekloca (32-5-1, 11 KOs) in the 4th round on Saturday night in front of a big crowd at the Copper Box Arena in London, England.
The end came in round 4 after Yarde hurt Sjekloca with a left-right combination that caused him to stagger backwards and hit the deck. Yarde attacked the hurt Sjekloca with big shots after he got back to his feet. Sjekloca backed up to the ropes and was hit with a flurry of shots, which caused the referee Steve Gray to step in and halt the fight. The match was stopped at 1:08 of round 4.
This was by far the toughest match of the 26-year-old Yarde’s 2-year pro career. He took major shots from the 39-year-old Sjekloca during the course of the fight. Yarde finally got comfortable in round 2 in knocking Sjekloca down with a right to the head while backed up against the ropes. Things looked bad for Yarde at the time he scored the knockdown, as Sjekloca was hitting him with some solid shots, and looked like the more powerful of the two fighters.
It was a good performance from Yarde. He showed he could beat a guy with power, who was catching him with big shots. Yarde is going to have to fix his defense before he steps up against WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. If Kovalev is able to tag Yarde with the shots that Sjekloca was hitting him with, it could be over with quickly.
Yarde said it himself that he wasn’t happy with the way he was getting hit so frequently by the 39-year-old Sjekloca. He can’t let himself get hit so frequently when he steps it up a level against Kovalev and the likes of Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev. Yarde won’t last long enough to get his offense untracked if he lets those guys tee off on him the way that Sjekloca was hitting him.
This is the first time in Sjekloca’s 11-year pro career that he’s been knocked out. Sjekloca’s been beaten before by the likes of Callum Smith, Tyron Zeuge, Sabio Bika and Arthur Abraham, but those guys were unable to stop him. It’s a big accomplishment that Yarde was able to knockout Sjekloca. However, those loses came 2 to 4 years ago. Sjekloca has lost a little from his game now that he’s 39, and not the young fighter that he once was.
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