By Alex Fesl: Artur Beterbiev successfully defended his WBO, WBC, and IBF light heavyweight titles with a dominant and exciting performance against competitive Anthony Yarde.
We saw good back-and-forth action from both fighters. Beterbiev showed a controlling yet powerful jab, a thunderous right hand, as well as his usual iron chin. Yarde showed tremendous heart and landed his fair share of heavy right hands.
At the end, Beterbiev’s constant pressure finally caught up with Yarde and ended the fight in the 8th round with a pair of vicious right hands. Quite interestingly, ringside judges had Yarde ahead on two of the three cards with scores 68-65, 67-66, and 67-66 for Beterbiev.
Some key takeaways from the fight below
Beterbiev Continues Dominating the 175lb division. Dominant knockout wins over the highly talented and skilled Anthony
Yarde, Joe Smith, and Marcus Browne show that Beterbiev is arguably the best fighter at light heavyweight.
Some may argue that WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol is the best fighter at light heavyweight. Bivol holds impressive victories over Canelo Alvarez, Zurdo Ramirez, and Joe Smith.
In my opinion, Beterbiev has a more impressive resume and likewise is equally impressive in destroying his competition in each outing. At the end of the day, the only one way to determine the best at light heavyweight is a title unification showdown between Beterbiev and Bivol.
Beterbiev Showed Some Vulnerability
Beterbiev had a nasty cut above his eyelid and considerable damage to his face at the end of the fight. Previously against Marcus Browne, Beterbiev also had a dangerous cut that allowed Browne to have his moments and win some rounds. Are we seeing father time catch up with Beterbiev? Perhaps…
At the same time, Yarde and Browne are both very strong fighters that can hold their own against anyone in the 175 lb division.
Yarde Should Not Have Been Ahead on the Scorecards. On my scorecard, I generously scored two rounds for Yarde. Even in the
two rounds I gave Yarde, Beterbiev applied effective pressure, landed powerful counters, and landed strong lead jabs. I can imagine if the fight was in a different location from London like Las Vegas or New York, the scorecards would probably have favored Beterbiev.
What’s Next For Beterbiev?
The fight that fans want is a title unification super fight with
Dmitry Bivol. That fight does not seem to be happening this year, though.
Bivol is rumored to be fighting Joshua Buatsi in early spring and/or fighting a rematch vs. Canelo Alvarez in September, perhaps at 168 lbs.
If any of those fights become official, Beterbiev is obligated to defend his WBC belt vs. Callum Smith. While those potential matchups are not bad fights, fight fans would much rather see Bivol and Beterbiev fight for all the belts.
Additionally, Beterbiev will likely be 39 years old if a unification fight doesn’t materialize until next year. One can only imagine how long Beterbiev can stay in top form.