WBO light heavyweight world titleholder Sergey Kovalev will face Anthony Yarde in the main event of a Top Rank Boxing card Saturday at the Traktor Sport Palace in Chelyabinsk, Russia.
Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) won his first 175-pound WBO world title six years ago with a TKO victory in Round 4 against Nathan Cleverly. A year later he added the WBA and IBF belts by defeating the legendary Bernard Hopkins by unanimous decision at the Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.
Kovalev, of Kopeysk, Russia, but now living in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, defended his belts four times -- including twice against Jean Pascal in Montreal -- before suffering two consecutive loses to Andre Ward, a unanimous decision in 2016 and an eighth-round TKO in 2017.
Saturday, 12:30 p.m. ET on ESPN+: Sergey Kovalev vs. Anthony Yarde, 12 rounds, for Kovalev's WBO light heavyweight title.
Kovalev recovered to win back the WBO belt with a TKO victory over Vyacheslav Shabranskyy in Round 2 just five months after the second loss to Ward, but lost it against Colombia's Eleider Alvarez in an upset TKO in 2018. In February Kovalev defeated Alvarez by unanimous decision in the rematch to regain the title.
Yarde (18-0, 17 KOs), nicknamed "The Beast from the East," has a powerful left hand and has won 16 consecutive fights by stoppage, including a fifth-round TKO over Travis Reeves in March.
Yarde, of London, has fought only once outside of England, a TKO victory in Round 1 over Rayford Johnson on the Canelo Alvarez-Liam Smith undercard at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, in 2016.