WBO light-heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1, 29 KOs) showed his class inside and outside of the ring on Saturday night when he dispensed some words of wisdom to beaten mandatory challenger Anthony Yarde (18-1, 17 stoppages) after defeating the Londoner in round 11.

Kovalev came through a torrid eighth round to stop his exhausted challenger with a jab in the penultimate stanza yet he found the time to offer some words of encouragement to his younger rival.

“You’re a great fighter,” he told Yarde. “Hard. You have a great future, believe me. You’re good. He is strong. He has good IQ, good defence and he’s active. Just not enough experience. I won by experience.”

“He will be a champion,” added the Russian, who looked vulnerable in round eight, is 4-3 in his last seven since stepping up against Andre Ward and must now surely turn his attention to a money-spinner against Saul Alvarez.

Anthony Yarde
Yarde must rebuild Action Images/Andrew Couldridge

A victory should be a savoured, especially if it comes against a great fighter, but Tim Bradley has told Fair Game that the criticism that came his way after beating Manny Pacquiao in 2012 almost drove him to the edge.

“After the decision all hell broke loose,” he said. “People laughed at me, people telling me to give back the belt. [They] said that I was a fake champion. It feels like death. I felt like literally like, taking my own life.”

Tim Bradley
Bradley had a tough time after winning a decision over Pacquiao Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Ricky Hatton (45-3, 32 KOs) has revealed that he was almost floored after mistakenly ordering an expensive steak while on holiday in Greece. “The Hitman” is enjoying some downtime in Mykonos and accidentally splashed out on a £835 cut of meat.

The former light-welterweight world Champion and WBA welterweight title-holder posted a photo of his food bill on social media and laughed the cost of the steak off. “Just woke up this morning in a puddle of f****** tears,” he wrote.

He added: “That’s what you get for being a fat greedy little s***. I just ordered it. Didn’t look.”

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Ricky Hatton is long retired

Rev. Sheldon “Sarge” Stoudmire may not be a well-known name in wider boxing circles yet the man known as the “Street Preacher” has received a flood of tributes after being shot and killed while at work last month.

Stoudmire would dress in khakis and preach from his bible on the street of Pittsburgh, and he was a big advocate of boxing’s ability to help turn young lives around. One of his former fighters, Tika Hemingway, approached him on spec one-day and asked him to train her. Stoudmire refused at first, but he relented and turned her into a four-time national champion and a member of Team USA. 

“He was my angel,” she told Triblive. “We read the Bible, talked about God, watched classic boxing films of Sugar Ray Leonard and Muhammad Ali. He would mentor me, he was teaching me about life. He taught me how to put God first and to never give up, and he taught me to treat everyone with respect.”

“Boxing changed my entire life,” she added. “It changed my mindset on everything. It gave me something to strive for. I went from being a troubled teen in and out of Shuman (Juvenile Detention) Center, to travelling all over the world. I went from fighting and going to Shuman, to fighting and getting accolades.”

Stoudmire was gunned down by a 19-year-old in July. His death at the age of 57 came as a shock to a local community that understands and knows that violence and gun crime is a way of life. Gerald Adams, who is now sitting on a murder charge, shot Stoudmire in cold blood after calling at the door of the homeless shelter where he works the a few nights a week.  

“Why do you do that to him, of all people?” asked Hemingway. “The exact person that’s the demographic of people that he was trying to help killed him.”

A former vet, Stoudmire was once an amateur who firmly advocated that boxing was a life-changing sport if you applied yourself to it. Ironically, most of his work was done with the type of young man who shot him, and his friend Lt. Gov. John Fetterman recognised the irony of the way he died. “[He] walked his talk,” he said.

“I’m just struck by the bitter irony that the exact kind of person that he would reach out to and care about and forgive for what happened, that ultimately was the one that took his life. It’s another absolutely senseless tragedy around gun violence.”