News

Kovalev, Ward Arrive in Vegas

 

By: Raymundo Dioses

IBF Light Heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev and challenger Andre Ward have both arrived in Las Vegas for their highly anticipated showdown set for November 19, 2016.

The HBO pay-per-view event will take place at the newly opened T-Mobile Arena.  The Kovalev-Ward bout represents the second ever boxing match to be held in the arena, with the first taking place in May 2016 between Canelo Alvarez and Amir Khan.

Kovalev-Ward pits two undefeated fighters against each other in a fight not just for the IBF title; the winner is fighting for #1 pound for pound supremacy in the sport. 

Kovalev will be fighting in Nevada for the third time and Ward for the first time. 

The nights working officials were recently announced. 

Robert Byrd was assigned as the referee for the bout.

The three judges will be Burt Clements and Glenn Trowbridge, both from Nevada, and New York's John McKaie.

Convention 2017 Airline Discount

SAVE UP TO 20% ON TRAVEL WITH THE STAR ALLIANCE NETWORK

The Star Alliance member airlines are pleased to be appointed as the Official Airline Network for IBF Convention 2017.

 

To obtain the Star Alliance Conventions Plus discounts please visit Conventions Plus online bookingtool: http://conventionsplusbookings.staralliance.com/trips/StarHome.aspx?meetingcode=UA22S17

 

Registered Event participants plus one accompanying person travelling to the Event qualify for a discount of up to 20%, depending on fare and class of travel booked.

 

The participating airlines for this Event are: ANA, Adria Airways, Aegean Airlines, Air Canada, Air China, Air India, Air New Zealand, Asiana Airlines, Avianca, Croatia Airlines, EVA Airways, EgyptAir, Ethiopian

Airlines, LOT Polish Airlines, Scandinavian Airlines, Shenzhen Airlines, Singapore Airlines, South African Airways, TAP Portugal, THAI, Turkish Airlines, United.

 

Discounts are offered on most published business and economy class fares, excluding website/internet fares, senior and youth fares, group fares and Star Alliance Round the World fares.

 

The following Star Alliance airlines are offering special discounts for travel to/from Japan: Special Offers for Japan are available from : Turkish Airlines.

 

To obtain these discounts for travel to/from Japan please contact the respective Star Alliance member airlines’ booking office. Contact details can be found on http://www.staralliance.com/convention-delegates

under “Conventions Plus Booking Contacts”. Please quote the following Event code UA22S17 for ticket reservation.

 

HBO Special Kovalev Ward - My Fight

 

By: Raymundo Dioses

“I was born to fight,” are the first words strewn from the HBO special My Fight: Kovalev/Ward as International Boxing Federation titleholder Sergey Kovalev is shown walking in front of a scenic array of clouds in Big Bear, California and then out on the Chelyabinsk, Russia horizon, reflecting on his life in the sport that took him from the Eastern part of the world to the West’s United States of America.

“My life has always been a fight,” a serene Andre Ward quips as 55thand Market St. signs are shown, an ode to his roots in his native Oakland, California. “I think the hardest part of my life is having to deal with setbacks,” says Ward, who flashes his 2004 Olympic Gold Medal to the HBO cameras. 

Both fighters are shown working out in clips as the HBO’s excellent voice over talent Liev Schrieber defines a fighter as a person who only knows only one way to make sense of the world; who comprehends pain as a singular gauge of truth; who’s approach to his pursuit is categorically inseparable from his identity; that man is a fighter.

The shot deadpans into a black screen and then My Fight: Kovalev-Ward pops out in contrasting bold white lettering.  

Ward looks across the beautiful Northern California ocean view as it’s relayed that the son of an African mother and a white father first had difficulties growing up bi-racial in Oakland, being seen as black to the white community, and not black enough to the black community.  Wards father Frank, a former amateur fighter, raised Ward and his brother Jonathan in his formative years. 

Ward looked to Frank as a Superman type figure, and at age 9 Frank walked Andre into a Hayward, California gym, which served as the future champion’s first exposure to the sport.  Ward walks in and greets ‘Joe’, gym owner Joe Olivarez and touches the first heavy bag he ever hit; a rugged and weathered old school leather bound item which is now autographed and hanging near the front of the gym. 

“This is where I met Virg,” recalls Ward in speaking of longtime trainer Virgil Hunter, who explains to the HBO camera that Ward had a wisdom most kids didn’t have at his age.  Hunter guided Ward through a stellar amateur career leading up to the 2004 Olympic Games, which was targeted by the young fighter and his trainer as a goal.

At was at this point where Ward describes himself as being forced to grow up early, as his parents’ drug addictions came to light, forcing Ward and his brother out of their home and into the home of trainer Hunter.  Hunter sought to make Ward and his brother feel safe and secure.  Throughout the years Ward occasionally reunited with his mother, and father Frank remained a presence in the fighters life until August 26, 2002, when heart disease took Frank’s life. 

Following his fathers’ sudden death, Ward slid down a bad road of drinking and hanging around the wrong crowd yet was able to be influenced once again with the forthcoming Olympics.  Hunter helped the fighter get back on track before heading to Athens, Greece. 

“I was never concerned about Andre the boxer, it was Andre the young man that I was concerned about,” said Hunter, who led Ward to a Gold medal win at the Olympics.  After the events in Greece, Ward turned to religion as his foundation alongside the nickname “Son of God” as he rose through the professional ranks in becoming one of the best pound for pound fighters in the sport. 

At 32 years of age and with a 30-0 record, Ward has developed into an amateur standout, to Olympic gold and an elite pound for pound status while surviving a rough childhood, finding strength through both his trainer and his faith, and now looks to continue his success against Kovalev on November 19, 2016. 

With a win over Kovalev comes the International Boxing Federation light heavyweight belt. 

The skyline of Kovalev’s Chelyabinsk, Russia is the first setting of Kovalev’s story, as the heavy hitting fighter looks at a landscape of smokestacks, army tanks and construction equipment.  Kovalev describes the city as industrial, made up of factories and strong factory workers.

Chelyabinsk, Russia’s main industry is deftly described by narrator Schreiber as steel production.  “Raw materials forged by intense heat, shaped by extreme pressure into something seemingly unbreakable,” as Kovalev is shown walking through a neighborhood in Chelyabinsk. 

Kovalev describes a hard childhood that lived through the break of his nation from the USSR to Russia, with his mother and stepfather struggling to make ends meet while working at a tractor plant and trying to provide for three children.  Back then, Kovalev noted that he knew not of living rich, or living poor; simply living was enough. 

Although success was found later in his life through the sport of boxing, Chelyabinsk is no stranger to Kovalev, who is shown visiting his mother who still lives in his childhood home and points out that there was no shower; just a sink and a toilet in the house that raised him. 

Self-defense was described as mandatory on the streets of Chelyabinsk, and Kovalev describes the antics he and the neighborhood kids would partake in, leading to admitted mistakes.  However, at age 11, Kovalev learned to box in a now decrepit building where the fighter sifts through the remnants left behind. 

“December 1, 1994 was my first boxing workout,” Kovalev vividly recalls as his first trainer, Sergey Novokov, describes his young pupil as thin, small and not noticeable early on in his training.  Novokov was fighting as a professional at that time and would glove up against his students, who began to tuck their chins in and hold their gloves up more following being hit by the trainer.  Novokov describes Kovalev as not the most talented of his bunch, yet the thing that pushed Kovalev through was having the strongest spirit.

One year into his boxing training, a heart attack took the life of Kovalev’s stepfather.  At the age of 12, Kovalev then stopped boxing.  Kovalev’s trainer would send his fighters to go get Kovalev, and Kovalev’s mother relayed to him that he was the only man left in the family and that he had to care for the other children and help his mother. 

Maturity then kicked in, as did a rededication to the sport of boxing with Kovalev rising in the Russian amateur rankings.  Feeling Russian politics were affecting his growth as a fighter, in 2009 Kovalev was introduced to Egis Klenis, who was told by famed trainer Don Turner that Kovalev could become a champion. 

On July 25, 2009, Kovalev made his professional debut in the United States alongside the guidance of Klenis.  Both fighter and manager had their doubts early on until 2012, when promoter Kathy Duva liked what she saw and placed Kovalev on an undercard against Darnell Boone, whom Kovalev famished in two and a half rounds in frighteningly ferocious fashion. 

“My boxing career began going up very fast,” said Kovalev as Duva quickly signed the man who would become known as “The Krusher”.  Kovalev began fighting on HBO on a regular basis while becoming a force to be reckoned with in the light heavyweight division.  On November 8, 2014, Kovalev became the IBF’s champion with a dominant victory over future Hall of Fame inductee Bernard Hopkins.

“For everything that I am fighting for, in my life, in the ring, right now I understand that I passed a very long road on the path to come here, and every day, I get a new motivation.  I’m still here, and I’m still undefeated and continuing to reach my goals and my dreams.”

Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward for the International Boxing Federation light heavyweight title takes place November 19, 2016 live on HBO pay per view from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. 


Kovalev Open Workout

By: Raymundo Dioses

 

 

International Boxing Federation Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev held an open workout last week in preparation of his title defense against Andre Ward on November 19, 2016.

Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) seems confident heading into the main event of the HBO pay-per-view telecast. 

 “I work out morning time. After this some massage therapy, some treatments, after this some rest, little bit nap, cook the food, take a rest and go again to work out. Today two work outs, this was just the first. My plan was a little broke today because usually my first workout is morning time, but right now already almost 3pm. My interview is a workout [laughs].

 “I’m excited and everything is going good. I’m waiting for this day, November 19, and I am ready to fight,” said Kovalev, who is defending the IBF title for the fifth time when he meets Ward at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Kovalev has held the title since November 2014, when he dethroned future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins.  The Russian native was quick to cite what else he got since lifting the IBF belt from Hopkins, which will help him once he steps in with Ward later this month. 

“I got some experience from my fight against Bernard Hopkins. He showed that never give up. That you should to fight all 12 rounds and hope for your win.”

Ward will be coming off two wins this year over Alexander Brand and more recently Sullivan Barrera.  Prior to the Barrera fight in August 2016, Ward fought just once in 2015 and had nearly two years of inactivity from 2013 to 2015.  Regardless, Kovalev is expecting the best Ward on fight night. 

“I think he (Ward) will look much better in my fight November 19 because he long time didn’t fight, couple years he had a rest and Sullivan Barrera was first fight when he returned. And with Alexander Brand he was better than against Sullivan Barrera. I accept that he’s going to look much better November 19. In best shape.”

Hart Successfully Defends USBA Title

 

By: Raymundo Dioses

Rising super middleweight Jessie Hart successfully defended the USBA title in emphatic fashion on November 4, 2016 with a with a third round knockout over Andrew Hernandez at the Treasure Island Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Philadelphia’s Hart, (21-0, 17KO) scored a knockdown via left hook in the first frame and eventually overwhelmed Hernandez in the third, prompting referee Robert Byrd to call a halt to the bout at the 1:59 mark. 

Hart has held the USBA title since winning it on May 2, 2015 on the Manny Pacquiao vs. Floyd Mayweather undercard, a TKO over Mike Jimenez, and with the win over Hernandez, has successfully defended the title three times.

Convention 2017 Update/Reservations Information

 

 

To learn more about the destination go to:

www.visitstpeteclearwater.com

www.visittampabay.com

Room rates Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront :

$139/Single/Double Occupancy (Call Hotel directly for this option:727-894-5000 EXT 7098/ Group IBF)

$149/Single Occupancy with Buffet Breakfast included

$159/Double Occupancy with Buffet Breakfast included

*An additional $20 will be added per person for Triple and Quad occupancy and will include breakfast.

Additionally the group room rate also includes wifi, complimentary use of the fitness center and pool, and will also be offered three days before and after the convention based on availability. These discounted room rates do not include taxes. Daily parking is discounted to $12 for our group.

Hotel Reservations

You can make your hotel reservation online at: http://www.hilton.com/en/hi/groups/personalized/S/SPTSHHF-IBF-20170519/index.jhtml?WT.mc_id=POG

You can also call: 800-445-8667 and reference the group codeIBF.  Reservations for the discounted room rate can be made until April 21, 2017.  The cancellation policy is 72 hours prior to arrival.

Airports

Tampa International Airport- TPA (offers more flight options and airlines)

St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport- PIE

Shuttle/Car Service

SuperShuttle/Execucar offer service from both airports.

Between Tampa International Airport and the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront

One way shuttle service - $23.00          Round trip shuttle service - $39.00 

One way sedan (3 people) - $50.00       One way SUV (6 people) - $60.00 

One way 8 passenger van -  $95.00

Between St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport and the Hilton St. Petersburg Bayfront

One way Business Class Service $35     One way sedan (3 people) - $60.00 

One way SUV (6 people) - $70.00        One way 8 passenger van -  $95.00

You can use the following link to make your reservation and learn more about the transportation services offered, http://www.supershuttle.com/default.aspx?GC=SM4WS. Or go to www.supershuttle.com and use code SM4WS. You can also call 727-572-1111 and mention the group code above.