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CRAWFORD KO WIN IN 3RD OVER INDONGO FOR IBF JUNIOR LIGHTWEIGHT TITLE

By Raymundo Dioses

 

Terence Crawford is the new IBF junior-welterweight champion.

The Omaha, Nebraska native started early and scored a dominant knockout win via body-shot against Joseph Indongo in their unification bout that took place at the Pinnacle Bank Arena in Lincoln, Nebraska in front of a crowd of 12,121. 

Crawford, (32-0, 23KO) knocked down Indongo in the second frame and while the defending champion was a game opponent, it was simply too much Crawford in the title bout, who was bolstered by the hometown crowd and an offensive weaponry that has the 29 year old in the sports pound for pound rankings. 

"I'm just blessed to be in this position," said Crawford.

"I have to thank Bob Arum and Top Rank. I'm blessed and humbled to be the undisputed champion of the world. It means everything.”

Indongo, (22-1, 11KO) was felled in the third with a left-hand body shot followed up by a stiff right hand to the midsection.  Referee Jack Reiss counted to ten for the traditional knockout win at 1:38 of round three. 

Indongo was making the third defense of the IBF’s 140 title.  The Namibia, Africa native won the IBF title via 1st round knockout over Eduard Troyanovsky in December 2016 and defended the title in April 2017 against Ricky Burns over 12 rounds with a unanimous decision. 

"We knew the body would be open, being that he swings so wild, and we could catch him in the middle of his punches," Crawford said. "I had tall guys in the training camp, so I was used to it and adapted to it. I feel great. I feel like I hadn't even fought."  

The Midwest favorite fights in and out of a traditional stance, also throwing effectively in a southpaw position; Crawford was fighting left-handed at the time of the final blows thrown in the fight.  His skillset has him ranked No. 6 on ESPN’s pound for pound list. 

Crawford unified all four sanctioning body titles (IBF, WBC, WBA, WBO) at junior-welterweight with the dominant win over Indongo and holds an International Boxing Federation title for the first time in a career that began in 2008.  Crawford is just the second fighter to become the undisputed champion in a division in the four-belt era; the first was former IBF titleholder and future Hall of Fame inductee Bernard Hopkins.  

Alfonso Prepares for USBA Southern Regional Title

Dallas, TX:  Cuban heavyweight and 2008 Olympian Robert Alfonso winds down camp at Maple Avenue Boxing Gym for his upcoming IBF USBA Southern Region title fight vs southpaw Jason Bergman (26-14-2, 17 KOs) of Birmingham. Alabama on August 11th at the Belk Center in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  Alfonso was previously scheduled to to face 2004 USA Olympian Devin Vargas of Toledo, Ohio who withdrew with an injury. 

 

Formerly of Havana, Cuba and now residing in Dallas, TX,  Alfonso (12-0, 5KOs) is a 2 time 2007 and 2008 National Cuban champion and the 2007 gold medalist at the Pan American Games champion in Rio. He was eliminated in the first round of the 2008 Olympic games by Ukrainian Vyacheslav Glazkov. Alfonso is managed by Jay Deas and is a frequent sparring partner to world champion Deontay Wilder.

 

Shields IBF Super Middleweight Champion Via TKO

By: Raymundo Dioses

 

“I worked real hard in the gym, I trained, I ate right, I went to sleep on time, I was real focused… I blocked all negativity. Getting the knockout gave me joy,” said Claressa Shields following her TKO win over Nikki Adler for the International Boxing Federation’s vacant super middleweight title.

Shields, (4-0, 2KO) dominated throughout the contest and displayed dominance in the speed and power departments, finally stopping Adler at 1:34 of round five via referee stoppage. 

“In the first round, I didn’t have any nerves or was nervous. I was ready for a war, and dominate, and knock her out,” said the Detroit native of her opponent.  Shields landed 136 total punches, while Adler reportedly landed only six punches the entire fight. 

“She wouldn’t punch,” Shields said. “I thought she’d be tougher. I thought after I knocked her back, she’d be more aggressive, but she just came in and I must have hurt her real bad because she stopped punching and I was able to dominate after I hurt her in the first round.”

Shields now finds herself the unified super middleweight champion (IBF, WBC) after only four professional fights in a career that started on the undercard of the first Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev fight card for the IBF’s light heavyweight title on November 19, 2016.  Shields is a two-time Olympic Gold Medal winner in the middleweight division and is 22 years of age.

Ward Kovalev II - Recap

By: Raymundo Dioses

 

IBF light heavyweight champion Andre Ward successfully defended his title against Sergey Kovalev at the Mandalay Bay in front of 10,592 fans in a stunning performance that ended with an eighth round TKO in what was Ward's first defense of the title he won from Kovalev last year.

The HBO pay per view event was a rematch of their initial encounter in November 2016, which also was staged in Las Vegas.

In the first fight, Ward was awarded a unanimous decision with 114-113 scores from all three judges. 

At the outset, both fighters landed meaningful punches which delighted the crowd.  Out of the two, Ward was more inclined to use a body attack, which slowly wore down Kovalev throughout the course of the fight.

Referee Tony Weeks warned both fighters to keep the punches clean midway through the bout.  At one point Kovalev turned his back following a flurry of punches leaving Ward perplexed.  The attack from Ward continued and after another flurry, Kovalev was bent over on the ropes, citing a low blow, and referee Weeks had determined Kovalev could no longer defend himself and stopped the match at 2:29 of round eight. 

Ward, (32-0, 16KO) an Oakland, California native, was pleased with the results.  “I’m ecstatic, I’m happy. I didn’t predict a knockout, but I said it could happen. I’ve been boxing a long time and, sometimes, a lot of writers and reporters they don’t take you at your word. If you look at my career and the way I’ve gone about things, I’m pretty matter of fact. I’m pretty straightforward. I don’t say anything unless I mean it. I have a lot of respect for Kovalev. He is a world champion. He’s been on top for a long time. He’s a great fighter; there’s not a lot of people that elite. I’m not going to throw him under the bus even though they did a lot of different things. But I knew the temperament that I was fighting. I don’t want to call him a frontrunner, but if he’s not having his way, he’s got to dig deep. I don’t know if he had the right answers tonight. Obviously, he didn’t because the fight got stopped."

At the time of the stoppage, two of the judges had Ward up, with one judge having Kovalev ahead on his card. 

On the night’s televised undercard, Luis Arias (18-0, 9KO) made a dominant defense of the USBA middleweight title over Arif Magomedov with a TKO win in which Arias knocked down and eventually forced opponent Arif Magomedov's corner to throw in the towel.

A Las Vegas native, Arias threw sharp punches and used a dedicated body attack en route to his fifth round stoppage win.  

 

Sergey Kovalev International Conference Call Recap

By Raymundo Dioses

 

An international conference call was held with the media in advance of next week’s showdown between IBF Light Heavyweight champion Andre Ward and challenger Sergey Kovalev.  The contest is a rematch of their November 17, 2016 IBF title fight in which Ward became the champion by dethroning longtime IBF title holder Kovalev. 

Below are quotes from Kovalev as well as trainer John David Jackson and promoter Kathy Duva regarding the June 17, 2017 match set for the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada live on HBO pay per view. 

 

 

Sergey Kovalev: “This training camp we deleted all my last mistakes and like doing good. Like I think that right now is much better and right now is training camp is going right. Everything is good and we will see June 17.”

“You know, like, everything depends from my preparation how I get the best shape for the fight. And I’m trying to get now in best shape for June 17 and we can see what will happen June 17. I don’t know, like, how exactly the fight is going to be by decision or somebody stop each other. Let’s just see. I don’t have a prediction. I just have one goal to beat Andre Ward and beat all shit from him because he doesn’t deserve the belt and the status of a champion. He now is really high his nose and walking everywhere and don’t see the people around him. I want to put him back in his place.”

“Yes, I feel much better, you know, I am not any nervous about my shape right now because the last – before last fight I couldn’t say before the fight like I came to fight and say I don’t want to fight him because I am not ready. I gone to the fight and walked stairs into the ring, you know, and fought Andre Ward with empty strength. My energy strength was empty one month before the fight. And right now, I understand that I did very great fight in myself with empty strength against who I believed was the best American fighter. You know, and good fighters get in the ring there. But now I feel that this fight is going to be different and much better than last one.”

“I just felt like the most what they give me motivation is haters. When I lost, I used to take a lot of punishment that I lost. In Russia is more than in America, you know. But in America, even in America, boxing fans of Ward text me by Facebook, by Instagram, by social media that I won the fight. And they right now are going to support me in next fight. And right now is my most motivation is haters, haters yes. And I want to disappoint them and team Ward, team of Ward because they right now speaking a lot of bullshit to my side. They say that I this, I this, I this. I don’t care. They will pay inside the ring for everything for what they said. Trust me.”

Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events: “I’m really happy with the 24/7 that just came out. I was just watching it today and I was beginning to see it today online and I would urge anyone who hasn’t seen it to take a look. I think HBO’s work is always the very best; it is always brilliant. People are saying this is the best 24/7 in years and that’s quite a statement when you consider the quality of the work that they do. So, that seems to me to be a great selling tool and hopefully that’s going to have a big impact in the next few days.”

“I believed for a long time that Sergey does his best work when he doesn’t like his opponents, so Ward and his people have done a great deal to ensure that will be the case. So, I’m really happy about that.”

John David Jackson, Trainer of Sergey Kovalev: [On the first fight] “Yes, I watched it; I scored the fight. I had a 9-3 best for us and 8-4 worst for us, but he won the fight. He dominated the first half of the fight. The second half of the fight he didn’t dominate as much as he could have but, you know, what Ward did didn’t really justify him getting the decision outside that. Sergey won the fight hands down. You know, the judges, why they scored it only they know exactly. We can’t dwell on the past. But whatever Ward did to survive those rounds didn’t really merit a victory for him, but he got it and we have to move on with that and just prepare for the second fight. The one thing I will tell the fans is Sergey proved the first half of that fight that he can outbox Ward at Ward’s own game. And I always knew he could. So, he showed that he could so it just adds more to what we need to do for the second fight.”

“Let me answer something first. Honestly, if you look at it, Sergey is not going to have to do much more than what he did because he proved to the fans in the first half of the fight that he can win it at Ward’s own game. Now what he needs to do is be more aggressive and effective in the second half of the fight the way he did in the first half of the fight. But he proved he’s a better fighter, he’s a bigger puncher. You know, for all Ward’s team is claiming how great he was, if that’s his best, then guess what, he’s past his prime because all he did was survive. And in surviving he was given points and awarded I guess the decision that he survived.

[On the possibility of Ward changing his game plan] “They may. Listen, if you’re a fighter and you’re smart, you come in and make adjustments. What adjustments can Ward make? He can be more aggressive. If he does, that works in our favor. Is he going to run more? If he does, that works more in our favor. The best thing he can do, as champion, he needs to prove that he won that first fight outright. Which he didn’t. So, now he needs to be a little more aggressive. How much smarter in the ring can he be than what he would be, would he be a tremendous talent as far as boxing-wise in the ring? So, you can’t get much more brilliant than he is now. He has to be – if they’re going to change his game, he has to be more aggressive, he has to be willing to take more chances to prove that he did beat Sergey the first fight, which he did not. So, there’s not much more than he can do than they did for the first fight.

“He’s good at what he does and that’s surviving and making the fight ugly and win the way he wins. You can’t knock him for that. But can he improve? No, not really. He did the best he could that night and he survived and he was even given points for that. So, if you’re going to make any adjustments, they may be small adjustments, but they’re not going to be adjustments that make him a better, more aggressive, dominating fighter. Then guess what, they need to be playing Russian Roulette and he’s going to get clipped.”

“I never said Andre was a dirty fighter. I said the things that he does, they’re not fan-favorite because he does hold a lot. As far as the inside game, there is no real inside game for him. Look, a true inside fighter doesn’t grab and hold the whole fight. He makes his hands free, he blocks shot and he counters back. That’s not what Andre does, he does hold a lot. But those things work for him and you can’t knock it. If it works and you’re winning and he has fans for it, okay let it be that. Sergey held somewhat himself. Later in the fight, he got fatigued so he did hold a lot. But we’re working on that for the second fight. And this fighter, he can be the best fighter because you have to think about this. When you have the power that Sergey has, tremendous God-given talent, the power that he has, we don’t need him to hold on the inside. If Andre wants to fight on the inside this time, which they may try to fight more on the inside, then he has to do a gamble and the gamble is can he take the body shots that Sergey is going to hit him with?”

“Here is what Ward’s team is going to try to do: they tried to disrupt our team because, at this stage, they know that’s all they really can do. If they have – if they need – if they want to be honest about it, they can say we really didn’t win the first fight but we got the decision. Okay that’s part of boxing. We have to – and our side has to accept that. But now to try to play mind games and try to make different maneuvers to offset our camp, you can’t do that. Our camp is strong. Actually, what they did, and I’m glad they did it, it made us even stronger and become closer and we’re working a whole lot better. So, I need to thank them for doing the things that they thought were going to offset our camp. It made camp better for us. So, I appreciate it. And for them to say that I reached out to them personal, come on, seriously? If you want to say that, fine, I have no problem with that. Come June 17, all the things that Sergey wants and he does to have back his belts, he’s going to get that. He’s going to do what needs to be done and that’s fight inside the ring, not talk, to be the champion and to fight. If Ward really wants to prove that he is the better fighter, then fight. Fight a good, hard fight, not do what you do best and that’s to be – he takes guys and maneuvers them around the ring and wins fights strategically but not in an exciting fashion. For this fight, here, to prove that you deserved the first decision that you got and that you are the champion, fight. Stand in the ring and fight this man and prove that you’re the better fighter and show the fans that, you know, you deserve this fight, this title. So, we’ll see. We’ll see what happens come the 17th. But when all is said and done, Sergey Kovalev’s hand should be raised, he should be world champion once again.”

HBO’s 24/7: Ward/Kovalev II Review

By Raymundo Dioses

 

The newest edition of the Emmy award winning HBO 24/7 franchise opens with the immediate aftermath of Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev I on November 19, 2016.  A dejected yet still upbeat Kovalev walks into his dressing room and throws a wink at the camera while Team Kovalev conjoins and agrees in unison that "they got a gift", in reference to the controversial outcome of the first encounter, a decision win in Ward's favor. 

"Raise your hand if you panicked when I went down," a jovial Ward asks his crew inside his locker room.  "You all didn't think it was over? Be honest now!" Asks Ward in comical tone as the room tells the unified light heavyweight champion that they in fact did not worry when Ward suffered a second round knockdown, the first of his career.  "I appreciate you all, I love you all, thank you," Ward goes on to tell the pro-Ward room.

Back to Kovalev's room the HBO cameras go as Kovalev vents his frustration at losing his belts to Ward, followed up with an embrace from wife and son.  "Did you see how your daddy got robbed?," Kovalev asks his toddler son. Scene shift to the Ward room, who shows the IBF belt to his toddler son. 

The narrator does a lead-in to the rematch, officially set for June 17, 2017, again in Las Vegas, set at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. 

 

BACK TO BIG BEAR STARTS KOVALEV’S ROAD TO REDEMPTION

 

Back to Big Bear Kovalev returns in seek of redemption.  The loss to Ward was a big one, Kovalev's first as a professional and with it, the loss of not only the IBF belt, but also the WBO and WBA straps.  Kovalev takes to the Southern California mountains in pursuit of re-gaining the titles and status lost on November 19, 2016, meanwhile 400 miles north Ward

wraps his hands in Oakland, California and sets the bar high for himself, stating he needs to be better than the first time around. 

A flashback to fight No. I shows fight day footage from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.  Both men stepped into the arena that night full of confidence with Kovalev starting off with a dominant left hand jab that led to an opening rounds knockdown.  "That wasn't the start that I wanted," reflects Ward of the first few frames of the fight.  Expert HBO commentator Jim Lampley chimes in, stating he knew of Kovalev's power and how it could give Ward problems, which it did as Ward fell in round two from a straight right thrown by Kovalev. 

Ward re-grouped with trainer Virgil Hunter in his ear between rounds, yet the onslaught continued from Kovalev, who jabbed and combination punched his way through the mid rounds.  "One mistake that Kovalev is making right now is that he is following Ward around, watching him cut the ring off," states HBO voice Roy Jones Jr., who recounts how Kovalev stepped off the petal in the mid to late rounds, giving Ward the opportunity to come back on the scorecards via body attacks and the fight was still undecided heading into the final frame.  Kovalev had his doubts about getting the decision after the final bell, while Ward threw a glove in the air and knew it was close, yet was grateful for the way he came back in the fight. 

A 114-113 unanimous decision was given by all judges in the favor of Ward in what was the thinnest margin of victory in the career of Ward, which provided his biggest prize since his middleweight title reign. 

"We will decide who is the best in the rematch," states Kovalev as he is shown laying the groundwork for fight II on the streets of Big Bear, California.  Kovalev believes he over-trained for the title defense, backed up by trainer John David Jackson, who noted the fighter would run up to 14 miles a day during his three month training camp.  Kovalev brought in a conditioner and now has more relaxed workouts three times per day.

 

IBF LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION WARD A TRUE FAMILY MAN

 

Ward is seen with his performance coach performing out of the box types of routines in preparation of his first IBF light heavyweight title defense.  A series of weights and band work consist of the training Ward has included into his training camp.  A more intimate side of the new champion is then shown as the fighter is filmed with wife and children inside their home.  Ward gives the smallest of children an exercise command of five pushups for a missed catch of a football, which the four year old does, and then some, pumping out eight in front of his IBF champion father.  "Who's daddy getting ready to fight," asks Ward of his youngest.  "Sergey Kokolev," responds Ward's son. 

 

CAMPS CLOSE, FIGHT NO. 2 LOOMS

 

Kovalev begins training in Big Bear and ends camp in Oxnard, California, where son-of-Kovalev dons mini Krusher-gloves and taps punches off his boxer father.  A rope-skipping session ensues, followed up with mitt-work with trainer Jackson to a James Brown tune.  "Get those belts back," Jackson states while sitting side by side with his fighter, with scene cut to training clips featuring both fighters in preparation for fight II.

Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev II for the IBF light heavyweight title takes place June 17, 2017 live on HBO Pay Per View from the Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, Nevada.