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Yarde was ahead of Beterbiev on 2 scorecards at time of stoppage

Image: Yarde was ahead of Beterbiev on 2 scorecards at time of stoppage

By Dan Ambrose: Artur Beterbiev (19-0, 19 KOs) was losing the fight to Anthony Yarde (23-3, 22 KOs) through seven rounds before coming on in the eighth round to stop him, thus retaining his IBF, WBC & WBO light heavyweight titles in a tougher than expected match on Saturday night at the OVO Arena in London, England.

The scores were: 68-65, 67-66 for the challenger Yarde, and 67-66 for Beterbiev. Boxing News 24 had Beterbiev ahead 68-65 after seven rounds. Yarde wasn’t consistent enough with his offense to give him more than two rounds. He would only sporadically go on the attack and was mostly under fire from Beterbiev.

Looking at the 68-65 score turned in by judge Jun Bae Lim, it’s difficult to understand. This judge had Yarde up 5-2 after seven rounds.

All you can say is that it’s a good thing for Beterbiev that he took the judges out of play because if it had gone to the cards, we might have seen a controversial decision or, at the very least, a split decision.

With the way that Yarde was crumbling by the fifth round, it was obvious that he wasn’t going to go the distance with Beterbiev.

Yarde was getting royally hammered by Beterbiev, particularly at the start & end of each round. Beterbiev had a pattern where he would go after Yarde and do serious damage to the overmatched fighter.

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The 31-year-old Yarde did land many nice shots in the fight, cut Beterbiev, and stunned him several times but not enough for him to be at his mercy.

You can second guess Yarde’s decision to use a lot of movement in the first three rounds, trying to evade the pressure from Beterbiev.

Yarde should have discovered during training camp that he lacked the stamina to move for 12 rounds to escape Beterbiev because he was carrying way too much muscle to stay on the move for long without it negatively impacting his game.

Although Yarde had his moments in rounds 4, 5 & 6, one got the sense that he was wilting under the pace that Beterbiev was setting. When Yarde would have success in which he landed big shots and backed Beterbiev against the ropes, it was fleeting.

Beterbiev would quickly spin around Yarde and start working him over on the ropes with punches to the head & body. In rounds 4, 5 & 7, Beterbiev unloaded on Yarde when he trapped him against the ropes.

Both fighters were bleeding in the sixth from cuts. Yarde had his best round in the sixth after the cuts occurred, and he appeared to be motivated after seeing blood from Beterbiev’s left eye.

In the eighth round, Beterbiev wound up with a tremendous right hand that connected to the face of Yarde, snapping his head back, and causing his legs to shudder.

Beterbiev then landed another right hand that caught Yarde clean, dropping him to his knees on the canvas.  For all intents and purposes, the fight was basically over at that point because Yarde was out of it, seemingly not knowing what was going on.

Surprisingly, the referee Steve Gray allowed Yarde to continue when it was obvious that he was out on his feet. Beterbiev landed a few more shots before the referee stepped in and stopped the contest.

What was interesting it Yarde started protesting the stoppage because he was clearly badly hurt and would have been poleaxed by Beterbiev if the referee hadn’t stopped the bout.

With the cut that Beterbiev sustained over his left eye, he’ll need some time for that to head. It’s a good thing that his undisputed clash with WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol isn’t expected to happen until late this year or early 2024 because Beterbiev’s cut will need time to heal before he’s ready to begin training.

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