Not without difficulty, Artur Beterbiev continued his impressive streak of 19 victories by K.-O. stopping Briton Anthony Yarde in the eighth round on Saturday night at Wembley Arena in London.
The 38-year-old Montreal boxer thus retains his three light heavyweight world champion belts (WBC, IBF, WBO).
Yarde proved more resilient than expected, trading blow for blow through a majority of the engagements. The 31-year-old Londoner even seemed to have recovered in the seventh round with a combination that hit the target.
Beterbiev, cut in the left eye by a header, however finished the attack with energy by multiplying the uppercuts while Yarde defended from the corner.
Midway through the eighth, with his usual timing, Beterbiev bent Yarde with a right hook to the face. A second followed seconds later.
Cut to the right eye earlier in the clash, the Briton fell to his knees. He was slow to get to his feet, leaning on the cable in his corner and glancing at his trainer Tunde Ajayi. After the count, referee Steve Gray asked her to step towards him before allowing her to continue the action.
The recovery lasted only a few seconds before Ajayi climbed the stairs to summon the referee to put an end to the duel.
After this K.-O. technique, Beterviev (19-0) dropped to his knees to savor this 19e hard fought victory. Led by trainer Marc Ramsay, who had warned him not to exchange too much at the end of the fourth round, the Quebec clan of the boxer then came to surround the native Russian.
After this mandatory defense, Beterbiev will probably want to face the Russian Dmitrii Bivol (21-0), holder of the WBA belt.
The evening was marked by a surprise among the light heavyweights. Argentinian Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna (29-10) passed the K.-O. in the fifth assault to the undefeated Briton Karol Itauma (9-1), shaken by a right to the head. Maderna, beaten by Beterbiev at the Bell Center in 2016, therefore gets his hands on the vacant WBC international belt.
In his first pro fight, heavyweight Moses Itauma, 18, had more success than his big brother by laying down the Czech Marcel Bode (2-2) in two punches 23 seconds after the sound of the first bell…
The duel between Ukrainian Artem Dalakian (22-0, 15 KOs) and Costa Rican David Jimenez (12-1) was the most interesting of the undercard. Dalakian, who is still training in Kyiv, won by unanimous decision after 12 rounds to retain his WBA world flyweight belt.