Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions and Krusher Promotions are pleased to announce the highly anticipated rematch between the unified Light Heavyweight Champion of the World, Andre “SOG” Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and former title holder Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs). Ward vs. Kovalev II “No Excuses” will take place Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The championship event, presented by Corona Extra, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Team Ward and Team Kovalev will partake in a three-city press tour the week of April 10 to officially announce the fight, including New York City, the Bay Area and Los Angeles. Further details will be available in the coming days.
“I’m going to keep it short and sweet. You got what you asked for – now you have to see me on June 17. This time…leave the excuses at home,” said Ward.
“I’m glad to know that rematch will happen. I really hope that Andre Ward will get into the ring for this rematch. Fans of boxing will see the real Krusher–the one they have missed for couple of my last fights. For me this rematch is very important as no other bout in my entire boxing career. Thanks a lot to all of boxing fans,” said Kovalev.
“Roc Nation Sports is proud to be the lead promoter behind a boxing rematch for the ages,” said Michael Yormark, Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy. “Last November, Andre showed the world he was boxing’s best. No doubt he will build upon his legacy come June 17 in another historic night. There’s no excuses, the rematch is on.”
“After the last fight, we are preparing for another unbelievable experience. Can’t wait for the bell to ring! This is sure to be another nail-biting roller coaster ride,” said Kathy Duva, CEO, Main Events. “This is the only fight that Sergey wants right now and he refused to settle for anything less than the chance to get his belts back. I’m told that Roc Nation and Andre Ward have lots of great ideas for the promotion and we can’t wait to see them in action!”
“After a razor thin decision last November in their first meeting, the boxing community has been eagerly waiting for a Ward-Kovalev rematch,” said Tony Walker, Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View. “These are two world class prizefighters who embrace being on the sport’s biggest stage. Like Andre and Sergey, we can’t wait for June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.”
“This spectacular rematch of pound-for-pound champions will be a ‘can’t-miss’ fight at the Mandalay Bay Events Center,” said Richard Sturm, President of Entertainment and Sports for MGM Resorts International. “We look forward to working with both Roc Nation Sports and Main Events once again on this championship event which should be one of the most thrilling fights of 2017.”
Known for his strong character and integrity outside the ring and his warrior’s instinct inside it, 33-year-old Andre Ward’s skill and talent were apparent early in his outstanding amateur career. He racked up every title in the books, culminating in a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece. As the only male American boxer to claim Olympic gold in the past
decade, Ward joined the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya.
He turned professional on December 18, 2004, scoring a second round technical knockout victory over Chris Molina at Staples Center in a fight that was televised live on HBO. He has gone on to rack up an undefeated record since then, building an ever-growing legion of fans in the process. After becoming the Ring Magazine and WBA Super Middleweight World Champion, rising to the number two spot on the pound-for-pound list and winning the 2011 Fighter of the Year Award (ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America), it was announced that Ward signed an exclusive promotional agreement with Roc Nation Sports in January 2015, opening a new chapter in his storied boxing career.
Ward returned to the ring on June 20, 2015 at the Oracle Arena in front of his hometown fans in Oakland, California and scored a ninth-round knockout over Paul Smith. On March 26, 2016, Ward made his highly publicized 175-pound debut against Cuba’s undefeated and IBF number one rated light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera and came out victorious.
Ward continued his conquest of the light heavyweight division on August 6, 2016, with a unanimous decision over Alexander Brand. Immediately following the win, Ward announced that he will be taking on unified Light Heavyweight Champion Sergey Kovalev in the ultimate showdown for division supremacy and recognition as the best pound-for-pound fighter. In the most anticipated fight of 2016 on November 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Ward would prove to the world his dominance as one of boxing’s top pound-for-pound fighters by becoming the unified World Light Heavyweight Champion with a unanimous decision win over Kovalev, the reigning WBA, IBF and WBO titleholder.
Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, the Russian Wrecking Ball, 34, is currently ranked #2 Pound-for-Pound by Ring Magazine and has been dominating boxing’s light heavyweight division with his aggressive, fan-friendly style since his breakout performance against then-unbeaten Nathan Cleverly in 2013 when he won the WBO Light Heavyweight World Title. One year after winning his WBO title Sergey went on to defeat future Hall-of-Famer Bernard “The Alien” Hopkins in a 12-round unanimous decision victory to add the WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles to his mantle.
His rise to boxing stardom has been meteoric, as he has gone from an unknown fighter from Chelyabinsk, Russia to headlining HBO Pay-Per-View in just four years after signing with his first promoter, Main Events. In his last fight, Kovalev went the distance against former two-time world champion Andre “SOG” Ward. The bout ended in a highly-contested unanimous decision against Sergey even though Kovalev managed to knock down Ward and many thought the cards should have gone in his favor. Out of Kovalev’s 30 career victories 26 have come by way of knockout. Additionally, he has entered into championship rounds only three times in his professional career. Kovalev has always sought to test himself against the best boxing has to offer; he wants to prove in the ring that he deserves that mantle.
Ward vs. Kovalev II “No Excuses,” a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, and is sponsored by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. The championship event takes place Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Unbeaten lightweight world champion Robert Easter (19-0, 14 KOs) will defend his title in his hometown when he takes on mandatory challenger Denis Shafikov (38-2-1, 20 KOs) in the main event of Premier Boxing Champions on Bounce live from the Huntington Center in Toledo, Ohio on Friday, June 30.
Televised coverage begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will be headlined by the hometown star Easter, who last defended his title in the same venue and on Bounce by knocking down Luis Cruz three times on his way to a unanimous decision.
“I am always happy to fight at home, but I think the excitement in Toledo will be even bigger this time and I can’t wait,” said Easter. “I also have a baby on the way and the due date is June 5, so I will be able to fight knowing my son is here and I am extra pumped because of that. I know that I have a tough opponent, but I am not afraid of any fighter. This is what boxing is about. Shafikov is coming to take my belt, but I know that I will be victorious once again.”
“I’m looking forward to this fight on June 30,” said Shafikov. “I know that I have a very tough opponent in front of me. I have been waiting for this opportunity to get this belt and I plan on doing everything in my power to make it happen.”
“This is going to be Robert’s biggest challenge yet,” said Ravone Littlejohn, CEO of About Billions Promotions. “Shafikov is a tough fighter and this is exactly the type of fight Robert needs as he steps up to the next level of championship boxing. This fight is going to prepare him for his future and we’re excited to be back in Toledo for it.”
“This bout has Fight of the Year written all over it,” said Leon Margules, President of Warriors Boxing. “Both fighters gained their position by beating the same fighter, Richard Commey, by identical split decisions. That, plus the enthusiasm of Robert Easter’s hometown fans, will make June 30 a night to remember.”
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by About Billions Promotions in association with Warriors Boxing, are priced at $225 $125, $100, $75, $55 and $35, and are on sale now. Tickets can be purchased online by visiting www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.
An accomplished amateur who was a 2012 U.S. Olympic alternate, the 26-year-old Easter picked up five-straight victories dating back to the beginning of 2015 before earning his world title opportunity against Richard Commey in September 2016. Easter was successful in holding off the unbeaten Commey as he was able to earn a split-decision victory in a memorable fight. Now, Easter will step into the ring as the fighting pride of his hometown for the second time, looking to dispatch arguably his toughest opponent to date.
A 31-year-old brawler from Russia, Shafikov brings an exciting style to the ring as he prepares to capitalize on his third world title opportunity. A pro since 2003, Shafikov was unbeaten in his first 34 pro contests and has challenged Rances Barthelemy and Miguel Vazquez in his previous title fights that both went to decisions. Shafikov impressed in his two outings last year, first earning a stoppage victory over then unbeaten Jamel Herring in July before earning this title fight by beating Richard Commey in December.
The world will be watching when Australia’s own Jeff Horn, takes on global sporting icon and reigning title holder, Manny Pacquiao, for the chance to become Australia’s first ever World Welterweight Champion.
Thousands of fans will descend on Suncorp Stadium Brisbane on July 2, joining the millions watching from around the world to witness one of the biggest sporting contests of 2017, a genuine once in a lifetime event.
The biggest events often have a habit of coming into being based on a fortuitous set of circumstances. So it is in this instance. Not only is there the rare opportunity to partner with a high profile World Title Fight featuring a true global sporting star that is being staged outside of the traditional boxing strongholds of the United States and Europe, but, the number one challenger for that title is also an Australian. This is truly a once in a generation opportunity, likely never to be repeated again.
“The Common Man”, Joe Smith Jr., (23-1, 19 KO’s), boxing’s best story of 2016, will make his first start of the new year, defending his WBC International Light Heavyweight Title against world ranked Sullivan Barrera, (19-1, 14 KO’s) on Friday, July 15 from the iconic, Fabulous Forum in Los Angeles and live on HBO’s Boxing After Dark (9:50 p.m. ET/PT).
Smith vs. Barrera is presented by Joe DeGuardia’s Star Boxing® in association with Main Events.
The 27-year-old Smith of Long Island, New York said, “I’m thrilled to be back on HBO against another top light heavyweight, Sullivan Barrera, I’ve already started training and will be ‘more than ready’ on July 15. There’s a number of great fighters in our division and I’m looking forward to another victory on my way to a world title shot.”
“This is a great opportunity for me. I want to thank my entire team for making this happen. I respect Joe for taking this fight. He is a great fighter and I have a tough test on July 15. I will work hard to put on a great show for all the fans,” stated Barrera.
“This should be a spectacular fight,” said Joe DeGuardia, President and CEO of Star Boxing. “Over the past few months many have refused to fight Joe Smith Jr., so I give credit to Sullivan Barrera, who, like Joe, is a tough fighter willing to fight anyone. Joe’s captivating rise as a humble working-class ‘Common Man’ has resonated with sports fans all over the world and I look forward to being at the Forum on HBO as Joe and Sullivan battle for the future.”
Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events, stated, “This is a really interesting fight. It is a can’t miss because Barrera and Smith are both finishers. We are all eager to see how this plays out and I give credit to both men for wanting a challenge.”
Smith bursted onto the international boxing scene last June, knocking out the highly favored, former world title challenger, Andrzej Fonfara in the first round of a nationally televised contest from the Pole’s hometown of Chicago.
Six months later Smith challenged future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins at the Fabulous Forum and live on HBO. Dominating the legend on December 17 through the first seven rounds, the construction laborer Smith drilled Hopkins to the canvas and out of the ring earning the knockout in the eighth round.
Barrera is riding a two bout knockout streak with victories over Paul Parker on April 15 and Vyacheslav Shabaranskyy on December 16, 2016. His only loss was to light heavyweight champion Andre Ward in March 2016.