Sergey Kovalev knocked out Anthony Yarde on Saturday to retain the WBO light heavyweight title in his first defense since winning back the belt in February.

Kovalev was rocked by heavy punches from the British challenger in the eighth round but Yarde tired, allowing Kovalev to floor him with a left jab in the 11th.

After Yarde’s eighth-round flurry, Kovalev’s trainer Buddy McGirt warned the Russian veteran he would throw in the towel if he kept taking punishment.

It is one month since another Russian fighter trained by McGirt, Maxim Dadashev, died from injuries sustained in the ring. The light welterweight suffered a brain injury against Subriel Matias despite McGirt intervening to stop the fight when Dadashev took heavy punches to the head.

“It’s hard for me now when

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