Yarde knocked out in round 11 after brave showing in Russia as Kovalev retains light-heavyweight title – The Sun

ANTHONY YARDE was beaten after a heroically brave 11 rounds in Russia against hometown hero Sergey Kovalev.

After almost winning the fight in the eighth, the exhausted Londoner was dropped by a left hand with one round to go and was unable to continue.

After the devastating stoppage loss, Yarde said: "I was just in the fight, I don’t want to keep going on about experience, but it played a part.

"I knew I hurt him to the body, my corner said go for it, so I went for it. I am not ashamed and embarrassed – I am trying to motivate people to go for what you want.

"I believe I have done myself justice, 99 or 95 per cent wouldn’t have dared to come out here, but I am very ambitious.

"I came up short today but I will be back."

Having been comfortably outboxed for the first half of the fight, Yarde began to walk down the champion and overpowered him on the inside.

Despite Kovalev's superior jab and combination punching throughout the first six rounds, the Brit hurt the favourite to the body as the tide began to turn.

In round eight Yarde poured on the pressure rocked the champion's head back and the almighty comeback looked to be on.

After relentless pressure, and massive hooks being launched Kovalev's way, the Russian somehow remained on his feet.

Despite a desperate onslaught of wild punches, the brave challenger gave it all he could but failed to get his man out there.

Yarde's momentum was lost in round nine as he showed fatigue of his own and the right hand down the pipe began to spell the end of the fight.

With the champion in the ascendancy he pushed the 28-year-old Brit back and with both men throwing the left, it was the challenger who was a split second behind.

Yarde was stunned with a left hand as he threw a wide left hook and crashed to the canvas after being beaten to the punch.

Ultimatley, Kovalev's resilience and experience paid off as the WBO light-heavyweight champion now sets his sights on a mega pay-day against Mexican superstar Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in the winter.

For Yarde, he suffers a first loss in 19 fights, but his ambition remains intact.

He said: "What got me through a lot of situations was my heart, but it’s not only me, it’s my whole corner.

"No-one can knock us, we are taking a risk, trying to motivate people.

"I am very ambitious, I am never going to say I was good enough as I didn’t win the fight.

"There are some technical things I need to work on, go back to the drawing board, work harder and learn from the experience.

"I’m not proud as I didn’t win the fight. I’m not that kind of person, I wanted to win the fight, but I went for it."

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