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Artur Beterbiev beats Anthony Yarde in bruising eight-round battle to defend light-heavyweight titles

Fearsome WBO, WBC and IBF light-heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev went to war with Anthony Yarde in London; Yarde hurt Beterbiev in an impressive challenge but ultimately the champion prevailed with a stoppage victory in the eighth round

Artur Beterbiev meets Anthony Yarde in the centre of the ring
Image: Artur Beterbiev meets Anthony Yarde in the centre of the ring

Artur Beterbiev defended his unified WBC, WBO and IBF light-heavyweight titles with an eight-round stoppage victory over Anthony Yarde at London's Wembley Arena.

This world title fight was a tremendous, bruising battle.

Boxing in his hometown the challenger started brightly, moving lightly on his feet as he sought to catch Beterbiev (19-0) with his left hook and the occasional hard right.

Beterbiev hurts Yarde with his right
Image: Beterbiev hurts Yarde with his right

The champion was aggressive throughout, marching in and looking to land heavy punches. But Yarde (23-3) disrupted him, landing on occasions as Beterbiev came forward.

Yarde was fighting hard, setting a pace. He opened up in the second round and leapt forward with a fine right uppercut.

Just at the end of the third round, Beterbiev hurt Yarde with a left hook. The champion sensed his advantage and blasted solid punches through in the fourth.

But just as it looked like Yarde was in trouble in the fifth round, he punched his way out of it. A big right forced Beterbiev to hold for a moment.

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The 38-year-old champion began to look tired and picked up a cut.

Yarde landed a ferocious left hook and banged his right in, connecting with explosive force. But Beterbiev turned him back, trapped him on the ropes and sent vicious combinations into his body.

In the eighth round, Beterbiev found the finishing shots. He stunned Yarde with a short right and put him down with a hook. Yarde rose but he was badly hurt and the referee stepped in to end it at 2:01.

Beterbiev's impressive professional record now stands at 19 wins and 19 knockouts and he had words of encouragement for Yarde after the fight.

"I can't say I did a bad fight, but if I do again, I want to do better. But I feel good, " he told BT Sport. "Anthony did (punch hard). Anthony is 31, he's young. He has time I think, and I hope he will do well in the future.

"If I'm being honest, every punch he did, for all those punches we prepared, that's why I came back and back, because we knew, we expected those punches."

Beterbiev celebrates his stoppage victory over Yarde
Image: Beterbiev celebrates his stoppage victory over Yarde

Exciting heavyweight prospect Moses Itauma, a world and European youth champion as an amateur, made his professional debut on the undercard.

The southpaw made short work of Marcel Bode, stopping him in 23 seconds after lining up two hefty left crosses to blast the Czech off his feet.

Previously on the bill, his older brother Karol Itauma suffered a shock upset loss. Argentina's Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna tagged the young southpaw with straight rights before he finally dropped him with a brutal cross in the fifth round.

It left Itauma on the canvas and he was counted out at 1:04.

Artem Dalakian remained undefeated as he defended his WBA world flyweight title with a unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten challenger David Jimenez.

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