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April 04, 2017

WARD-KOVALEV II SET FOR JUNE 17TH AT MANDALAY BAY
By G. Leon

Earlier today, WBO/IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Andre Ward announced via his twitter account that he will face former champion Sergey Kovalev on June 17th. The bout will take place at the Mandalay Bay and be distributed by HBO PPV.

Press Release: Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions and Krusher Promotions are pleased to announce the highly anticipated rematch between the unified (WBA/IBF/WBO) light heavyweight champion Andre "SOG" Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and former champion Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs). Ward vs. Kovalev II "No Excuses" will take place Saturday, June 17th at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The championship event 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 17th. 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 17th 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 of 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 WBA super middleweight champion, rising to the number two spot on the pound-for-pound list and winning the 2011 Fighter of the Year Award, 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 then-undefeated 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 most anticipated fight of 2016 on November 19th 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 WBA/IBF/WBO light heavyweight champion with a unanimous decision win over Kovalev.

Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev, the Russian Wrecking Ball, 34, 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 title. 

One year later, 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 titles to his mantle. He has gone from an unknown fighter from Chelyabinsk, Russia to headlining HBO Pay-Per-View in just four years after signing with 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. 



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