Anthony Yarde became the first man to stop Dec Spelman, as a string of heavy right hands brought an end to their light-heavyweight ten-rounder at York Hall, in East London, in the sixth round and proved a point to his rival Lyndon Arthur.
Yarde is due to face the unbeaten Arthur next, probably in November, and he was critical in Arthur when he failed to attempt to stop Spelman when they met last month.
While Arthur was content to outbox Spelman, Yarde worked his way into the fight and while Spelman was competitive for five rounds, he had no answer when Yarde upped the pace.
The Arthur fight is listed for October 24, but likely to be put back to November 21 or 28. Whether it will go ahead in front of a crowd, though, will depend on Government advice.
“I’m ready whenever,” Yarde said when asked about an Arthur fight. “We’re hearing about a second wave. “I’m just staying in the gym, staying ready.”
It was Yarde’s second win since losing to Sergey Kovalev for the WBO light-heavyweight title in Russia last summer. But his first since the death of his father and grandmother from COVID-19.
“As everyone knows, I have been through a lot,” Yarde said. “I am not an emotional person, but this win in particular meant a lot.”
“It’s all about experience. Everyone knows I had only 12 amateur fight, this was my 20th professional fight but I’m very inexperienced, I’ve knocked out a lot of my opponents.
“It’s not the fact the fact that I was looking to go longer in this fight, it is the fact that I’m being more patient, looking for my shots, landing better shots, I’m being defensively responsible. I’m just going through the gears.
“Everyone knows I’ve got a lot more to give, when I want to open up I can, but that’s not what it is about, it is about earning in the ring., landing the critical shots, working the jab.”
Yarde took his time to find his way, Spelman outworking him in the first round and Yarde happy to try to counter with the right hand in the second and third rounds.
The fourth was more of the same, Spelman coming forward and pressuring Yarde, but after Yarde’s gumshield fell out midway through the fifth, Yarde upped the pace, whipping in a series of body shots and some clubbing punches round the side of the guard.
Spelman began the sixth round well, but as Yarde stepped in again behind a couple of body punches, he began landing some heavy punches , catching Spelman with a string of hard right hands, the final one dropping Spelman to his knees.
Spelman was up at six, but referee Michael Alexander stopped it, much to Spelman’s annoyance. The official time was 2:46.