Atlantic City Hall of Fame Announces Inductees

By: Raymundo Dioses



Last week the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame announced their 2017 inductees. 

Of the eight fighters selected this year, six either held a version of the International Boxing Federation title or fought for one in what will be an induction year strewn with IBF affiliations. 

The most notable International Boxing Federation title holder to be inducted into the ACBHOF, set to take place at the The Claridge Hotel in Atlantic City, New Jersey in late May 2017, is Mike Tyson. 

Tyson first won the IBF heavyweight title on August 1, 1987 via unanimous decision over Tony Tucker in a bout titled “The Ultimate” to make ‘Iron Mike’ the youngest ever undisputed heavyweight champion.  Tucker had earned the vacant IBF title with a TKO win over James ‘Buster’ Douglas on May 30, 1987.

Also an inductee into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2011, Tyson was a long reigning IBF champion, having made six successful defenses over a span of almost three years over the likes of Larry Holmes, Michael Spinks and Frank Bruno before losing the IBF title to Buster Douglas on February 2, 1990 via knockout loss in what is widely considered the greatest upset in sports history. 

Michael Spinks was the International Boxing Federations first light-heavyweight champion, winning the title on February 25, 1984 via unanimous decision over Eddie Davis and Spinks defended his undisputed status as a light heavyweight champion in two successful defenses prior to moving up to the heavyweight division and dethroning IBF heavyweight title holder Larry Holmes on September 21, 1985.  With the win over Holmes, Spinks became the first reigning light heavyweight champion to win a heavyweight championship. 

Spinks, nicknamed “Jinx” for his powerful right hand named “The Sphinx Jinx”, again defeated Holmes on April 19, 1986 and made a knockout defense of the IBF heavyweight title over Steffen Tangstad later that year before facing Tyson on June 27, 1988 and losing via KO within 91 seconds of the fight. It would be Spinks’ last career bout.  Spinks was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1994. 

Larry Holmes was the first ever International Boxing Federation heavyweight champion and notched a TKO victory over James “Bone-Crusher” Smith on November 9, 1984 inside 12 of the scheduled 15 rounds.  The IBF was created the year previous in 1983 and eventually garnered its strong reputation as one of the four major sanctioning organizations in the sport of boxing.

Known as the “Easton Assassin”, Holmes defended the IBF strap twice with wins over David Bey and Carl Williams before losing the title to Michael Spinks on September 21, 1985 via 15 round unanimous decision.  Holmes would make two more attempts to gain the IBF title, losing a split decision to Spinks on April 19, 1986 in their rematch, and then Holmes was knocked out inside four rounds by then undisputed champion Tyson in a fight named “Heavyweight History” on January 22, 1988.  Holmes was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2008. 

Arturo “Thunder” Gatti came into the possession of the International Boxing Federation USBA super featherweight title on June 28, 1994 when he defeated Pete Taliaferro by TKO and after two more USBA title fights, Gatti faced Tracy Harris Patterson at the Madison Square Garden on December 15, 1995, lifting the IBF’s super featherweight title from Patterson with a unanimous decision win alongside scoring an early knockdown in round two and fighting through two hampered eyes. 

Gatti made three successful defenses of the IBF super featherweight title with another win over Patterson, two knockout wins over Wilson Rodriguez and Gabriel Ruelas (named Knockout of the Year and Fight of the Year in 1997) before moving up in weight to face some of the biggest names in boxing including Oscar De La Hoya and Floyd Mayweather.  Gatti also engaged in the Fight of The Year in 1998 against Ivan Robinson and had three memorable bouts against Mickey Ward, with both Gatti-Ward I (2002) and Gatti-Ward III (2003) notching Fight of the Year honors. 

Gatti died in July 2009 and was inducted to the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2013. 

Atlantic City, New Jersey native Leavander Johnson began his career in 1989 in his home city and lost attempts at other lightweight titles before winning the USBA title in October 2002 with a majority decision over Julian Wheeler.  

In his fourth career attempt at a major world title, Johnson TKO’d Stefano Zoff in Milan, Italy for the vacant IBF lightweight title.  Johnson made his first defense of the title three months later on September 17, 2005 in a fatal match up against Jesus Chavez.  Johnson lost by TKO in the 11th round and later died of complications resulting from damage received in the fight. 

New Jersey resident Dwight Muhammad Qawi was a prominent cruiserweight contender throughout his 20 year career.  Qawi, known as the “Camden Buzzsaw”, lost his bid for the IBF cruiserweight belt to Evander Holyfield on December 5, 1987 inside four rounds.

In the non-participant category, iconic fight promoter Don King and legendary referee Steve Smoger will be inducted into the ACBHOF.  King promoted a host of IBF titleholders throughout his career and Smoger, an Atlantic City, New Jersey resident, has officiated many IBF title bouts.

Holiday Toy Drive 2016

Members and Friends


Once again the IBF/USBA would like to help the Family Development Center of East Orange, NJ with our annual Holiday Toy Drive. 

This charitable organization has been serving its community since 1970.  The center’s primary purpose is to provide low-income families with excellent and reliable childcare at no cost or for a nominal fee.  There are approximately eighty children, ranging in age from 6 months to twelve years, enrolled in childcare at the Family Development Center.

As a non-profit group of this nature, FDC is always in great need of new toys, arts and crafts as well as writing supplies, books, dvd’s and baby items.

Any donation, large or small, would be a great help.  Please help us make this holiday season a great one for the children of the Family Development Center.

You can choose to donate an item or make a monetary contribution by check.  Please send in donations to the IBF/USBA office to the attention of Jeanette Salazar/Holiday Toy Drive.  If you are sending a check please make it payable to Family Development Center, Inc.

You can also make a monetary donation on our website using this link:!/Holiday-Toy-Drive/p/44895363/category=7059035.

Donations will be accepted until the morning of December 21, 2016.

IBF/USBA 899 Mountain Ave., Suite 2C, Springfield, NJ 07081 973-564-8046

The International Boxing Federation has a New Light Heavyweight Champion


By: Raymundo Dioses

Oakland, California’s Andre Ward was able to weather an early storm from former unified titleholder Sergey Kovalev which included a second round knockdown to dethrone Kovalev via unanimous decision on November 19, 2016 at the new T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada in front of a spirited 13,310 fans.

Ward, (31-1, 15KO) was the challenger yet came in the favorite heading into the bout.  Kovalev was known to be the bigger puncher yet Ward sported the greater overall skillset, which he utilized to recover from the 2ndround knockdown from a big right hand from Kovalev to begin to beat the Russian champion to the punch and start to outland Kovalev down the stretch in route to all three judges seeing the bout in his favor by the close score of 114-113 after 12 mostly entertaining rounds.

CompuBox statistics had Kovalev out landing Ward 52 to 36 in the first six rounds yet Ward landed 80 punches to Kovalev’s 74 from rounds seven through twelve.  Kovalev landed a total of 126 of his 474 thrown punches for a 27% connect rate yet Ward landed 116 of 337 for a higher percentage of 34%.

Kovalev, (30-1-1, 26KO) began his career in 2009, registered his first career loss to Ward and was disappointed with the judges’ scorecards.  “It’s the wrong decision.  I don’t want to say my opinion… The witnesses are here.  They saw it.  It’s my job.  It was the fight of my life. I am disappointed in the judges’ decision.”    Kovalev won the IBF 170 pound title on November 8, 2014 via unanimous decision over future Hall of Fame inductee Bernard Hopkins and had made four successful defenses prior to the Ward bout.

Ward is a 12 year veteran of the sport and was a highly decorated unified champion in the super middleweight division yet had never previously held an IBF title.  Ward now becomes the companies’ 19th ever light heavyweight champion.  Michael Spinks became the original titleholder via 12 round unanimous decision on February 25, 1984.

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


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:


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

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.