- Sergey Kovalev TKO-11 Anthony Yarde (2:04)
- Ilunga Makabu MD-12 Aleksei Papin (113-113, 115-113, 115-113)
- Evgeny Romanov TKO-1 Dario German Balmaceda (2:33)
Round By Round
SERGEY KOVALEV vs ANTHONY YARDE
Round 1: Kovalev comes out with a couple quick jabs that Yarde slips. Yarde misses on a check hook. Kovalev partially lands his own left hook. Now Yarde lands a jab to the body. Kovalev presses forward and lands a jab to the body. Another jab to the body lands for Kovalev. Yarde misses on a counter right hand and then tries to go to the body with a jab. Right hand partially lands upstairs for Yarde. Jab to the body scores for Kovalev, then one upstairs. Now Kovalev throws a straight right hand to the body at center ring. Yarde scores his own right hand to the body. That was an even-ish round, but I’ll ever so slightly edge it to Kovalev. Kovalev 10-9.
Round 2: Kovalev presses forward with a jab to start the round as Yarde looks to counter with his own. Kovalev throws a jab to the chest as Yarde tries to counter with a right hand. Short right hand partially lands over the top for Kovalev. Clean jab lands upstairs for Kovalev, Yarde paws his nose. Yarde throws a jab that just misses and Kovalev come back with his own. Jab lands clean for Kovalev again at center ring. Three punches come from Kovalev as Yarde ducks underneath. Yarde misses on a counter hook. Better round for Kovalev 10-9, 20-18.
Round 3: Jab lands quickly for Kovalev to start the round. Yarde misses on a counter right. Kovalev blocks a couple of jabs from Yarde as he positions himself back at center ring. Two punches miss for Yarde. Kovalev scores a jab to the body as Yarde tries to time him with a check hook. Jab to the body lands again for Kovalev. Yarde tries a left hook downstairs that makes some contact. Jab lands clean with another straight jab upstairs. Yarde lands a clean jab to the body. Not a lot of clean punching in this round. I think Kovalev edged it with the jab but Yarde is starting to land some. Kovalev 10-9.
Round 4: Kovalev falls short on a punch to start the round. Now Yarde lands a clean right hand to the body. Jab lands to the body for Yarde this time. Uppercut from Kovalev just grazes Yarde’s face. Jab lands to the body again for Yarde. Right hand over the top lands for Kovalev now. Kovalev throws few shots with Yarde against the ropes but he doesn’t land much clean. Jab lands upstairs for Kovalev, then another, then one more. Kovalev misses on a right hand upstairs. Kovalev stole this round back for me with a strong second half. Kovalev 10-9, 40-36.
Round 5: Yarde starts with a couple of left hooks. Left hook-right hand scores well for Yarde. Check hook lands for Yarde, then a right hand to the body. Jab partially lands upstairs for Kovalev. Both fighters fall into a clinch during an exchange. Kovalev lands a clean jab upstairs. Jab and right hand lands upstairs for Kovalev again. Two more jabs land for Kovalev as Yarde might be starting to slow down. Right hand lands clean to the body for Kovalev. Yarde doubles up on a left to the body. Kovalev 10-9.
Round 6: Left hook from Yarde gets caught on Kovalev’s glove. Yarde leaps in with a left hook but doesn’t land it clean. Clean jab lands upstairs for Kovalev and the referee calls a timeout as Yarde lost his mouthpiece. Clean jab snaps Yarde’s head back. Yarde walks into a couple more punches from Kovalev as he’s trying to get more aggressive out of desperation. Yarde can’t cope with Kovalev’s jab and is trying to walk past it into a closer range. Short right hand lands over the top for Kovalev. Yarde misses on a wide left hook lead. Yarde is bleeding pretty good from the nose. Kovalev 10-9, 60-54.
Round 7: Kovalev starts with a left hook that Yarde catches. Now Yarde lands a left hook upstairs. Yarde tries a right uppercut on the inside that doesn’t land so clean. Two body shots land at close range for Yarde. Jab lands again upstairs for Kovalev. Yarde misses on a left hook, right hand combination. Now Yarde lands a right hand on Kovalev and looks to follow it up to the body but misses. Yarde continues to press forward and lands a nice left hook to the body, then another! Kovalev grabs hold as soon as that liver got touched. Another left to the body lands for Yarde, and another, and a third! Kovalev isn’t liking those shots! Kovalev looks a little drained from those punches. Good round for Yarde. Yarde 10-9.
Round 8: Yarde falls short on a jab. Kovalev pops a couple jabs while Yarde covers up. Body shot lands for Yarde again. Right hand downstairs makes contact for Yarde, then another clean left hook to the body and I don’t like Kovalev’s body language. Both fighters trade hooks. Yarde ducks down and throws two more body shots before landing a right hand upstairs. Clean jab lands for Kovalev but Yarde walks through it and lands a good shot of his own and Kovalev grabs hold. Kovalev is looking weak! Right hands come from Yarde who is trying to end this fight right now! Kovalev is basically holding on for dear life! Kovalev is n big trouble, he’s never recovered from those body shots. Yarde looks like he’s on the verge of a stoppage. Yarde 10-9, 74-78.
Round 9: Kovalev’s trainer has threatened to stop this fight is Kovalev doesn’t regain control in this round. Right hand to the body lands for Yarde. Kovalev throws a few shots that clearly don’t have the power they once did. Right hand to the body lands for Kovalev, then a jab. Yarde walks forward and walks into a body shot but beats on his chest as he continues to walk Kovalev down. Jab lands for Kovalev. Another clean jab scores for Kovalev. Right hand and a jab lands for Kovalev again at center ring. Once Yarde stopped pressing and attacking he’s giving Kovalev room to make a stand. Clean jab lands upstairs for Kovalev once again. Yarde is worn out from that last round and barely threw punches here. Kovalev 10-9.
Round 10: Kovalev comes out with a jab that doesn’t land clean. Another sharp jab makes the sweat fly off Yarde’s face. Kovalev goes back down to the body with his jab. Both fighters trade but neither land much clean. Yarde still isn’t punching much and he’s letting Kovalev pick his spots to get off first with both hands. Jab lands upstairs for Kovalev once again. Right hand from Kovalev lands over the top and puts Yarde on the ropes! Right hand lands clean to the body of Yarde. Kovalev steps forward with three punches that lands clean. Yarde is worn out and can only defend himself as Kovalev flurries with Yarde in the corner. Kovalev 10-9, 98-92.
Round 11: Both fighters are trading as Yarde tries to make a stand. Yarde falls to the canvas after Kovalev pushes on him a little — no knockdown. Right hand to the body scores for Yarde. Kovalev is popping his jab at range and then puts in a right hand to follow it up. Hard shots land for Kovalev and Yarde stumbles. Hard jab lands for Kovalev and drops Yarde! It’s over! Yarde can’t get up! Kovalev KO-11.
Today at 12:30 pm ET, it’s a tripleheader from Chelyabinsk, Russia, airing live on ESPN+ in the US and BT Sport 2 in the UK (5 pm UK time), with Sergey Kovalev facing Anthony Yarde in the main event.
Wil Esco will be on the round-by-round call for the main event.
Kovalev, 36, will be defending his WBO light heavyweight title against Yarde, the unbeaten but untested 28-year-old mandatory challenger. It’s a fight that’s fairly tight on the betting lines — though Kovalev has proven a lot more in his career, he’s significantly older, and Yarde does pass the eye test.
The co-feature will see Russian cruiserweight Aleksei Papin, unbeaten at 31, take his own big step up in competition against Ilunga “Junior” Makabu, a well-respected contender who will be defending the WBC “silver” title.
We’ll also see 34-year-old heavyweight Evgeny Romanov in action.
Main Card (ESPN+, 12:30 pm ET)
- Sergey Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KO) vs Anthony Yarde (18-0, 17 KO), light heavyweights, 12 rounds
- Aleksei Papin (11-0, 10 KO) vs Ilunga Makabu (25-2, 24 KO), cruiserweights, 12 rounds
- Evgeny Romanov (13-0, 9 KO) vs Dario German Balmaceda (19-17-2, 13 KO), heavyweights, 10 rounds