Kovalev vs Yarde: Sergey Kovalev aims for a successful homecoming on Saturday when he defends the WBO light heavyweight title against Anthony Yarde from Traktor Sport Palace in Kovalev’s hometown of Chelyabinsk, Russia. Welcome to Sporting News’ live coverage of the WBO light heavyweight title fight between Sergey Kovalev and Anthony Yarde.
Kovalev’s (33-3-1, 28 KOs) career looked to be on the downswing after going 2-3 before his February rematch with Eleider Alvarez, who stopped him last August to take the WBO title. The 36-year-old regained his fire with a dominant performance to win by unanimous decision to capture the WBO belt for the third time.
While the fight with Yarde was made official, talks started between Kovalev and unified middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez to fight on Sept. 14. An eight-figure offer was reportedly made, but Kovalev stayed true to his word to return home and face Yarde with a possible Alvarez showdown looming if the “Krusher” comes out unscathed.
Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs) comes in looking to spoil Kovalev’s plans. The Brit enters the biggest fight of his career having finished 16 consecutive opponents, but none of them have been the caliber of Kovalev.
Can Kovalev stay focused and not look ahead to a clash with the face of the sport? If Kovalev doesn’t have locked in, will Yarde be able to seize the moment?
Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde live results, updates
1:47 p.m.: The 11th round appeared to be a close round until Makabu connected on an uppercut, straight left hand followed by another uppercut to to nearly send Papin to the canvas but was saved by the bell. Can Makabu finish Papin off in the final round?
1:39 p.m.: A battle of wills in the ninth round. Makabu and Papin are exhausted but they are trudging forward and aren’t taking a backseat. Who will take control in the championship rounds?
1:35 p.m.: A big test here for Papin. He’s only fought 38 career rounds and never gone past the eighth round and they are in the ninth. Makabu’s taken control of the fight, as he’s pressing forward and controlling the action. Can Papin dig deep and battle within? He has to let his hands go
1:18 p.m.: Good bounce back round for Makabu in the fourth round. He’s staying in range and landing body shots and short uppercuts. Papin needs to figure it out in a hurry as the tide has shifted.
1:10 p.m.: Papin rocks Makabu for the second time in three rounds as a short uppercut rattles Makabu’s head to begin the third. Makabu needs to not be lazy and keep his guard up at all times.
12:56 p.m.: It is time for the co-main event of Kovalev vs. Yarde as Ilunga Makabu takes on Aleksei Papin in cruiserweight action. Makabu (25-2, 24 KOs) comes in having won his last six. The native of Congo has nine knockouts in his last ten fights. Papin (11-0, 10 KOs) has won his last eight inside the distance. Makabu and Papin don’t get paid by the hour as they will be looking for the finish. So don’t blink.
12:49 p.m.: The WBO light heavyweight champion has arrived.