Artur Beterbiev fought through adversity to stop Anthony Yarde in the eighth round of one of the best fights you are likely to see this year. The Russian retained his WBC, IBF, and WBO titles in London yet was down on the scorecards at the time of the stoppage.

Right from the start, Beterbiev came forward looking to land with bad intentions but was met with stark resistance from Yarde, who repeatedly caught his man coming in with a snappy check left hook as the Russian stepped off to the right.

Beterbiev continued to force Yarde backwards in the second, thudding home an overhand right which seemed to stagger the Brit ever so slightly. However, Yarde responded well with a firm left uppercut.

At times, he found himself stuck in the corners and against the ropes in the opening two but began making his way back to the centre of the ring in the third as he established his lead jab to good effect.

Beterbiev’s legs instantly stiffened, and the champion began to back up for the first time in the fight. However, he came back well and landed a nasty left hook of his own which shook up Yarde to close out the round.

At the halfway mark, both men began to show signs of fatigue, understandable given the relentless pacing of the first half of the contest. Yarde took the role of aggressor with the pace visibly slowing in the sixth, benefitting his explosive style as he was given more time to load up his shots.

A sharp start from Yarde in the seventh was nearly undone when Beterbiev crashed home a vicious flurry at the death but Yarde responded with a crunching left uppercut that snapped back his adversary’s head.

In round eight, both men took a momentary breather giving Beterbiev time to set up a thunderous right hand that floored Yarde. The brave challenger made his way to his feet but was hit with another big shot as the towel came in from his corner.

Post-fight Beterbiev called out WBA champion Dmitry Bivol, who holds the final piece of the undisputed 175lb puzzle.