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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.

Indongo Defends IBF Junior Welterweight Belt Against Burns

By Raymundo Dioses

 

Julius Indongo made the first defense of the IBF junior welterweight title with a dominant unanimous decision over Scotland’s Ricky Burns on April 15, 2017.

Indongo (22-0,11 KOs) was the aggressor in the outset, with Burns making a stand midway through the title unification bout, yet ultimately Burns faded down the stretch and lost his WBA title to Indongo.  Burns was downed in the final frame, which was ruled a slip by the referee. 

Scorecards had it 108-120, 110-118 and 112-116 for Indongo. 

A native of Southwest Africa, Indongo won the IBF 140 pound title in December 2016 via highlight knockout in round one over Russian Eduard Troyanovsky. 

Joshua vs. Kiltschko

By: Moses Vered

 

Boxing will once again be the central focus of the sports world when former heavyweight champion Wladamir Klitschko faces his biggest test against the young and powerful Antony Joshua.

 

On April 28th a record breaking 90,000 fans are expected to fill Wembley Stadium with millions more tuning in around the world. The enormous interest in this fight is surly on course to break all sorts of records and when its all said and done may be considered the biggest heavyweight fight since the 2002 showdown between Lennox Lewis and former champ Mike Tyson.

 

Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “The demand for tickets for Joshua vs Klitschko is phenomenal - this is unquestionably the biggest fight in British boxing history and we would have sold out Wembley twice over.”

 

Wladamir Klitschko is coming off of the longest layoff of his career, an 18-month ring absence. In his last fight on November 2015 father time seemed to finally catch up to the then 39-year old, as he looked listless in losing his titles to Tyson Fury by unanimous decision.

 

Ukraine's Klitschko is has put the disappointment of 2016 behind him. He said ultimately that while his year was a bust professionally, it was at least rewarding personally.

 

"I enjoyed my time off. It was the first time in 26 years (including amateur boxing) I had such a long layoff," Klitschko told ESPN.

 

Klitschko seems to have put the defeat behind him and is now squarely focused on Anthony Joshua.

 

“This is one of the biggest challenges I’ve had in my life – coming back after an 18-month break and fighting a young champion, really talented, athletic and all of this.

 

“I’m the underdog in this fight and this is actually exciting for me. I haven’t been in this situation for such a long time. I feel young and challenged.

 

After the Fury loss Klitschko activated a rematch clause in the contract, which forced Fury to miss a mandatory defense of the IBF title – now owned by Anthony Joshua who defeated Charles Martin. An ankle injury and going to rehab forced Tyson Fury to twice delay and eventually call off the rematch, leaving Klitschko without a bout for months.

 

Anthony Joshua poses the biggest match of the Ukrainian native’s career. The challenge for the 27-year-old Joshua is unlike any he's seen while fighting just 44 total rounds -- an average of fewer than three rounds per fight. Klitschko, on the other hand, put in 46 rounds across his last five fights alone and has 358 total rounds in a career that stretches back to 1996, when Joshua was still in elementary school.

 

To date, only the grudge match against Dillian Whyte and the battle with the Dominic Breazeale have surpassed three rounds of boxing – both stretching to the seventh but ending by technical knockout. It’s not so much that the opponents have been bad boxers; it’s more that Joshua is just on another level to them.

 

Joshua has developed nicely over his 18 fight carrer, He’s a relentless and highly skilled fighter who has knocked out all 18 of his opponents. He has five first-round knockouts, eight in the second round.

 

Joshua also has a good amateur pedigree, as he won the gold medal at super heavyweight in the 2012 London Games. That’s not to mention that at 6-foot-6, he can look Klitschko in the eyes.

 

Although the young champion is considered the favorite in this bout there are some that question if he is prepared for this massive challenge.

 

“The questions are correct,” Joshua said. “Is it too soon? Have my opponents prepared me for this? God would never put me in a position I couldn’t handle, fighting Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000 people.”

 

The stakes are high for both men headed into this contest.

 

Klitschko (64-4, 53 KO) is looking to prove he still has plenty left in the tank, and a win over Joshua would pretty much put him right back on top of the mountain.

 

Joshua (18-0 18 KO) looks to mark the start of a new era of dominance in the heavyweight division.

 

The winner of this contest will be crowned the IBF and WBA heavyweight Champion.

Arias Defends USBA Middleweight Title With UD Over Sigmon

By Raymundo Dioses

 

Luis Arias defeated Scott Sigmon at the Carnegie Music Hall of Homestead in Homestead, Pennsylvania on March 31, 2017 with a dominant unanimous decision victory.

Arias, (17-0, 8KO) made his first defense of the USBA middleweight title by attacking to the body early and was able to hold off a rugged Sigmon over 10 rounds in what was the main event of a Fighter Management fight card. 

Scores were 99-91 across all three judge’s scorecards.

A Midwest native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Arias won the vacant USBA title with a TKO win over Darryl Cunningham inside four rounds in a hometown bout on August 20, 2016. 

Arias is trained by noted trainer John David Jackson.

Golovkin Defends IBF Middleweight Title for Third Time With UD Win Over Jacobs

 

By: Raymundo Dioses

 

Unified middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin made his third successful defense of the International Boxing Federation title with a unanimous decision win over Daniel Jacobs at the famed Madison Square Garden in New York in front of 19,939 fans on March 18, 2017. 

Golovkin, (37-0, 33KO) faced a stiff challenge in Jacobs, who pressed the champion to the full twelve round distance for the first time in his career.  Golovkin fought behind a steady jab and recorded a knockdown via right hand in the fourth round. 

"I respect Daniel Jacobs, and he did a very good job and clean job," Golovkin said.  "Daniel Jacobs is my favorite fighter -- quality, very good fighter after I knocked him down. I respect his team."  Golovkin’s consecutive knockout win streak ended at 23 with the Jacobs bout. 

Jacobs, (32-2, 29KO) did not show up to make the agreed weight for the day-of-fight weigh-in and was thus ineligible to win the IBF title.  It was unknown how much Jacobs weighed by fight night as the Brooklyn native did not weigh-in for HBO.  Jacobs remained competitive following the fourth round knockdown yet ultimately was outpointed by the Kazakhstan countryman by the scores of 115-112 twice and 114-113. 

Golovkin, who won the IBF title in October 2015 via knockout win over David Lemieux, now stands just two more defenses away from matching longtime IBF middleweight (and light heavyweight) champion Bernard Hopkins.  Hopkins set the record of middleweight title defenses at 20, with Golovkin trailing by two with 18 defenses.