Boxing: Yarde 'will be world champion' claims Kovalev
PUBLISHED: 11:00 28 August 2019
Anthony Yarde was beaten - and then boosted - by WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev after a thrilling title battle in Russia on Saturday.
Defeat came when brave Yarde, from Newham's Peacock gym, was stopped in the 11th round but before they left the ring his conqueror was insisting the challenger would be back and win a world title of his own.
"He is a great young fighter - 100 per cent he will be a world champion," said the 36-year-old Russian, who had delighted his home town fans with the win in Chelyabinsk.
Yarde, 28, added: "I came up short today but I will be back a better fighter."
He knows he was close to winning the world title in his 19th pro fight when he hammered home his best punches in the eighth round against a rival who had dominated the early action, landing effective long range jabs.
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Kovalev reeled rubber-legged around the ring after taking heavy hooks, but survived the onslaught and appeared the stronger of the pair in the action that followed.
Yarde, clearly weakened by his all-out effort, was on the receiving end of Kolavev's attacks before walking on to the solid jab in the 11th round that finished the fight.
"I knew I hurt him to the body and my corner said 'go for it' so I went for it - I am not ashamed," added Yarde, who along with trainer Tunde Ajayi had come under fire for taking the title fight after 18 contests.
"I believe I have done myself justice - 95 per cent would not have dared to come, but I am ambitious," he added.
Meanwhile, Yarde's top London rival Joshua Buatsi goes for his 12th straight pro victory when facing Canadian Ryan Ford on the big Matchroom bill at the London 02 Arena on Saturday.
The bill also features world title meetings between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Luke Campbell and Charlie Edwards and Julio Aguilar, plus a heavyweight clash between Hughie Fury and Alexander Povetkin and is on Sky Box Office.