Category Archives: HBO Boxing



Joshua vs. Klitschko | Saturday, April 29

LIVE on SHOWTIME® at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT

From Sold-Out Wembley Stadium in London


“I’ve prepared since day one for this… April 29 is just another stepping stone towards greatness.” – Anthony Joshua


“I’m the challenger again.  I feel young, hungry, humble and totally obsessed with my goal to raise my hands again.” – Wladimir Klitschko


Click HERE For Photos; Credit Esther Lin/SHOWTIME


LONDON (April 27, 2017) – Anthony Joshua and Wladimir Klitschko came face-to-face on Thursday at the sprawling Sky Headquarters in London as the two 6-foot-6 giants participated in a final press conference for Saturday’s blockbuster heavyweight world championship event.


SHOWTIME will televise the fight LIVE at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT from sold-out Wembley Stadium where a record-setting 90,000 fans are expected to be in attendance. 


The 27-year-old Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs), who won the IBF belt in just his 16th professional fight, faces his toughest challenge yet in Klitschko but has “prepared since day one for this” and sees the future Hall of Famer as “just another stepping stone towards greatness.”


The 41-year-old Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs), who has competed in 28 world title fights and is the second longest reigning world champion in history, is “obsessed” with winning back two belts he held during his 11-year reign as heavyweight champion. 


Joshua and Klitschko will unify the heavyweight division as they meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant WBA World Championship.  The event from Britain’s national stadium will be televised in over 150 countries worldwide.


The ringwalks are set for 4:35 p.m. ET/1:35 p.m. PT with the first bell scheduled for 5 p.m. ET/2 p.m. PT.  SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® pre-fight coverage begins live on SHOWTIME at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT with all the grand pre-fight pageantry from London.


Here’s what the fighters had to say on Thursday.  Click HERE to watch Sky Sports coverage of the press conference on the SHOWTIME Sports YouTube channel:



“Even though this is such a great event, I always try to strip it down to what it really is and just focus that it’s just me and this man coming to blows and the best man will win.  I’m not only prepared physically but mentally as well for any battle. 


April 29 is just another stepping stone towards greatness.


“Any fight is the right fight.  I’ve never shied away from any fight, any opponent.  I started boxing in 2008; in 2009, ’10, ‘11 I was in the World Championships, and in 2012 I was representing Great Britain competing to be the best in the world in the Olympics.  It doesn’t matter who I fight.  I just enjoy what I do and I just embrace every opportunity. 


“I don’t underestimate any opponent.  Through my mistakes I have learned and made myself right.”



“I win.  It’s not complicated.  Let’s not overthink it.  This isn’t rocket science.  This is just a fight.  Let’s strip it right back to what it is – a young lion, ferocious, hungry, very determined.  I left no stone unturned in training camp.  We do talk about experience, but even when I was fighting guys with lesser experience I was preparing for this.  I’ve prepared since day one for this. 


“Carrying the belt hasn’t changed me as a person. I just want to represent myself the best way because I know behind me are a million people that walk the same path as me and come from the same background.  I think I’m a representation of these people.


“This is another stop.  You can’t sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labor. As you sit down on your throne there is always someone knocking on your door to take you down.  For me, it’s just another stepping stone.”


On potentially celebrating after a win:

“You can’t deny it.  This is epic.  As much as I’m calm, when I look around and see how pumped people are for this fight it gives me energy, it gives me life.  So it would be hard for me to hold myself together after such an amazing event.”


On this being a pivotal moment for the sport of boxing:

“Absolutely, this is 110 percent a pivotal moment for boxing.”



“Can you imagine my next opponent is going to fight a guy whose age is exactly the number of how long he has been in boxing – 27 years?  Can you imagine that?  It’s a pretty amazing task.  Is it a degradation that I’m actually a challenger and underdog in this fight after 27 years in the sport?  I don’t think so.  I think it’s great.


“I’m the challenger again.  I feel young, hungry, humble and totally obsessed with my goal to raise my hands again. 


“I’m so obsessed with winning.  I realized that life is a circle, and I see myself in AJ.  I do believe I know how he thinks, how he goes, and how the actual fight is going to be.


“The belts are very important.  I’ve been attached to these belts for a very long.  I had those belts in my past fight, and I’m fighting for these belts in this fight.  The only difference is in my last fight they went to the opposite corner.  So my goal and obsession is for those belts to land in my corner, in my hands. 


“Obsession is love in extreme shape.  I’m in love with my goal. 


“Defeat?  I’ve been there, I’ve done that.  I got up, shook it off and came back stronger.  Just a little help (for Joshua) – there’s nothing scary about it.”







NEW YORK, NY (April 27, 2017) –  USBA Middleweight Champion Luis “Cuba” Arias (17-0, 8 KOs) and prime contender Arif “The Predator” Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs) will lead off the HBO Pay-Per-View lineup for Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” on 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.


Arias will be defending his title and undefeated record against one of the division’s top prospects. Magomedov has previously held the WBO’s Inter-Continental, Youth and NABO middleweight titles with only a single career loss coming against Andrew Hernandez for the vacant WBC USNBC middleweight title. Both fighters are eager to make an impression during their Las Vegas debut.


“Finally my opportunity has come. The road to the big stage has been long but it’s here and I’m ready. It’s time to prove to the world that I am a threat to anyone in this division. I have been saying it for some time, my record shows it, but now I’ll get the chance to prove it,” said Arias. “I’m coming to make a statement on June 17! My opponent has been beat before and will be beat again. Thanks to Roc Nation Sports and my handlers for making this happen. A new star will be born.”


“My goal is to be a world champion. I have been waiting for a fight like this. Arias is a tough opponent but I will be ready for him,” said Magomedov. “I am so excited to work with my new trainer, Marco Contreras and to fight on HBO Pay-Per-View. Be ready for ‘The Predator’ on June 17.”


“If the heat between the Ward-Kovalev rivalry hasn’t been felt yet, then the cross promotional matchup of Roc Nation Sports’ Luis Arias and Main Events’ Arif Magomedov will certainly add fuel to the fire,” said Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy Michael R. Yormark. “We are excited to have USBA Middleweight Champion Luis Arias make his Las Vegas debut and open the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast with a title defense on June 17 against Arif Magomedov.”


“Arif has been ready for this fight since the first Kovalev-Ward card in November. We are so pleased to finally give him this match-up,” said Main Events CEO Kathy Duva. “This is a huge opportunity for both Arif and Luis to test themselves on such a big stage. A win or a good showing by either fighter could catapult them in the rankings and put them on the map in this stacked middleweight division.”


USBA Middleweight Champion Luis “Cuba” Arias (17-0, 8 KOs), 26, takes great pride in his Cuban heritage. The Milwaukee-native chose his nickname in homage to his father’s homeland and its people, honoring them each time he steps into the ring. A former USA junior amateur standout, Arias made his professional debut on November 10, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, where he defeated Josh Thorpe via a four-round unanimous decision. Since joining Roc Nation Sports in February of 2015, Arias has advanced his undefeated record, paving way for his first title shot on August 20, 2016. In a homecoming at the Milwaukee Center, Arias captured the vacant USBA Middleweight title with a stoppage of Detroit’s Darryl Cunningham at the 1:11mark of the fourth round. Arias successfully defended his title on March 31, 2017 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Virginia’s Scott Sigmon. All three judges scored the fight 99-91 for Arias who put on a potent body punching display to settle a long-standing grudge with Sigmon.


Arif “The Predator” Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs), 24, is a middleweight from Kizlyar, Russia. He made his professional debut in January of 2013 when he earned a decision win over Ruslan Sirazhev in Russia. Magomedov would go on to finish 2013 with a bang, posting a record of 8-0 with 6 KOs and none of those six opponents made it past the third round. He made his US debut in April of 2015 when he unanimously outpointed tough journeyman Derrick Findley. In May of 2015, he earned one of the biggest wins of his career when he scored a first-round knockout over the always tough and durable Darnell Boone. In July of 2015, Magomedov cruised to a unanimous decision win over previously undefeated and rising prospect Derrick Webster. In his most recent bout, Magomedov scored a second-round TKO over Chris Herrmann in Moscow, Russia. Arif is co-promoted by Main Events and Shamo Boxing and managed by Egis Klimas.


Ward vs. Kovalev 2: “The Rematch, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, sponsored by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and Powered by Monster. 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. Tickets for Ward-Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” are available on and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center box office.



Joshua vs. Klitschko | Saturday, April 29

LIVE on SHOWTIME® at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT

From Sold-Out Wembley Stadium in London


Click HERE For Photos; Credit Esther Lin/SHOWTIME


LONDON (April 26, 2017) – Fight Week for this Saturday’s heavyweight world championship blockbuster began in earnest on Wednesdaywith a Public Workout in front of an excitable pro-Joshua crowd at London’s Wembley Arena, just steps from sold-out Wembley Stadium where undefeated champion Anthony Joshua and long-reigning kingpin Wladimir Klitschko will square off in the most significant heavyweight event in more than a decade.


SHOWTIME will televise the fight LIVE at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT from Britain’s national stadium where a record-setting 90,000 fans are expected to be in attendance.


The British sensation Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) will unify the heavyweight division as they meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant WBA World Championship.


Undefeated IBF Champion Anthony Joshua hosted a media conference call to give his thoughts on Saturday’s heavyweight blockbuster between him and long-reigning kingpin Wladimir Klitschko live on SHOWTIME® (4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT) from sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.


The British sensation Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 54 KOs) will unify the heavyweight division as they meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant WBA World Championship in front of record-setting 90,000 fans at Britain’s largest stadium.


Here is what Joshua had to say on the call on Wednesday:



“This is a good era for boxing so I try to live the life.  Over the years when I started boxing until now I’ve been at training camp.  The whole time I’ve been training it has been pretty beneficial, I’ve learned a lot. I’m not a perfect fighter but what I do do, I try to do well. I’m looking forward to the fight.


“If you’re asking about Saturday night, all roads have led to this and I’ve been training for a long time, I’ve stayed injury free. I’ve ran, I’ve sparred I’ve done my bag work and it comes to a stage in camp when I’m looking for the buy in now and that’s where I’m at really.  Mentally, I’m excited.”


On how significant this fight is:

“For the sport in general, come on. For what UK-ers are doing supporting boxing globally, it’s massive. I also feel just to sell out the stadium without having to do the traditional entertainment to make a fight it just shows that kids can fight from different backgrounds …Where me and Klitschko are at, we don’t need to be trash talking and we are two half pieces coming together to lay it down on the line. It’s an amazing time for boxing in that sense that it’s mainstream.  I’m not going to say win-or-lose, because the focus is to win, but it’s a massive benefit to Klitschko win-or-lose.  Either he has another fight in him, or this time he’s done.  I wish him all the best. I’m glad we got through training camp and we actually make it happen because as long as my heart was beating I still want to fight. I’m happy to be involved in such a mega showdown.”


Do you feel there is more pressure on you?

“Definitely not. I knew the significance of this fight before I took it. So I would never put that pressure upon myself if I didn’t want to deal with this pressure. I would have taken another route. But I want to fight guys in the division who are good.  I don’t want to wait like eight years, nine years, six years before I start making a move on the heavyweight division – let’s get it on now. So if this is what comes with stepping up a level and a division I’m all for it. I’m not going to start saying ‘because I’m champion I’ve got pressure and I don’t think I’m going to perform.’ For me as a champion I don’t feel that pressure but I can relate to where he is coming from. As a champion you’re supposed to throw down like there’s no tomorrow so I’m not going to say because I’m a champion I’ve got so much pressure on my hands.”


How do you bridge the experience gap between you and Klitschko?

“I think it’s just destiny. I’m meant for this. I’m built for this. Let’s say we strip away what you just said, the excitement, the hype and just put us together. Go at it for 12 rounds, get down and dirty.  I have the ability to come out on top and that’s how I take it. I don’t look at it like, ‘Oh my God, I’m fighting a guy who has been through it’, I don’t look at it that way. I just look at it as ‘I’m going to fight this guy called Wladimir Klitschko’ and we’ve got 12 rounds.  I simplify it.

I practice boxing. Long range jab, jab to the body. I think I’m very capable of hitting someone continuously until they break down. So I think I’ll keep on plugging away, round 6, 7 and I should have him in a bad place. I just have to take the fight and break it down round by round.”


How will to deal with Kitschko’s reach:

“I’ve never fought him so I can’t say for sure. But what will I do about his reach? I’ve got my right hand to parry a jab, I’ve got my left hand to shield and protect me, to deflect his right hand.  It’s no problem if he wants to grab. I can whip in a body shot and that would definitely slow him down. If you keep getting hit to the body at 41 that will take the fight out of anyone. On the outside I have got ways to deal with the majority of his shots. On the inside I just have to keep on swinging to the body and round-by-round I’ll start seeing an effect.”


What motivated him to take such a significant fight so early in his career:

“It was bound to happen. I felt the division needed it. I’m not doing it just for myself. I’m always about the industry.  A lot of my friends from the amateur system have a chance to express their skill on the undercard, and it’s a massive platform. I think, as I said, the division needed it … Wladimir Klitschko, Deontay Wilder, let’s keep it going. Let’s start mixing it up because we’re in the same division, and it’s our era.  What type of era are we if we don’t come together and have some trilogies and bring some excitement. So I’m all for it and that’s why I really wanted to take the fight.”


When was the first time you saw Klitschko and thought you could fight him?

“Not until last year. In 2015 I wasn’t really focusing on fighting Klitschko. I was moving towards maybe after [Eric] Molina we could have done [Kubrat] Pulev as a mandatory and gone that route of dominating the European market, but the opportunity came up.  It’s a big fight, it’s a good challenge and let’s get it cracking. As I said, it’s good for the division and the attention it has brought is phenomenal. I think it benefits everyone so let’s be a part of that, and let’s be at the forefront of this.”


On earning more money than Floyd Mayweather Jr.?

“Not in boxing. I don’t think I could do it in boxing. Outside, if I make the right investments I think I can because I have some highly intelligent people around me but I think in boxing I don’t think I will but I think there will be a boxer who can because Floyd Mayweather has definitely set the benchmark, and records are only there to be broken. So I think someone could definitely achieve that financial status.  But for me, that’s not so much my goal to try to be richer than Floyd Mayweather.  The heavyweight division is so different from the welterweight division in the sense that all it takes is one shot, it’s a lot tougher, a lot more wear and tear on the body so I think it’ll be interesting. I definitely think we’ll make money, there’s no doubt about that but I’m not trying to put myself on the same pedestal as Mayweather.”


When do you think Klitschko was at his best?

“When he fought Marius Beck. He was a bit of a bigger guy and he controlled him with the jab and the one-twos.  Remember he went twelve rounds. So he had to control a bigger man who was potentially heavier and stronger and he controlled his boxing skill and I think that’s when he was at his best. As I studied him that’s when I saw him at his best so I have watched fights around that era.”


Do you feel it’s a miracle you’re here?

“Yes.  I was talking about it with my coach today. If you would have told me – I’ve only been in boxing eight or nine years – if you would have told me eight years ago, ‘Listen son, if you walk through that door into the boxing gym you’ll do this, this, this, this and this’ I would have been like ‘yeah, right’. It’s been phenomenal and why we do all the promotional stuff and get involved in big fights is for motivational purposes. I know there’s some other kids that are going to come up and be phenomenal because he may have seen myself and my journey and wants to get involved in what we’re creating. I’m all for that. I love it. Today was my last day of training camp and I’m thinking now what am I going to do in my next training camp, how am I going to improve.  I’m enjoying the journey.  It has been fun, boxing is a good sport.”


What is your history in sparring with Klitschko?

“I’m not a gym fighter so I did not go to try to prove anything with the sparring. I mainly went to go to see how a champion sets up his training camp. While I was sparring, it was good. Wladimir is technical. He will try to maneuver you with his lever hand to put you in a position to throw his right hand. That’s what I got from Klitschko. He is patient, he was just trying to set me up so he could throw his shots and I was just working on moving, jabbing to the body, jabbing to the head and I would go back to the corner and Andy Breshear would say ‘stick it on the champ’ and I would say ‘no I’m not here for that, I’m not here to prove anything.’  I wanted to watch, I wanted to analyze.  That’s what I got from sparring with him. To learn how he operates in the ring and I learned how a champion sets up training camp.”


On the strength of Klitschko’s chin:

“He’s got a good chin. How long has he reigned, 10 years? Yeah, he’s got a good chin. You can’t be a championship fighter for 10 years if you have a bad chin.  That’s the thing about the heavyweight division, it takes one shot. All these fighters that we claim have got good chins are the ones who get knocked out by Wladimir, so he must be doing something right. I remember Samuel Peters had a granite chin but they still end up getting knocked out down the line and they don’t go on to do great things. So, regardless of the chin, I think he’s got something right that works.”


Opinion of Klitschko’s Career:

“He is underrated.  Heavyweight boxing comes with bigger prize money, more attention.  To stay that disciplined for that long is a serious task.  He and his brother have done well to reign for that long … I would want to go down as one of the greatest because I reigned for so long. No one could beat me for the last 10 years. It’s a good achievement and I would want to be recognized for that achievement.”


On potentially fighting in America:

“I think just fight Wilder, Gerald Washington, [Bryant] Jeninngs as well. These are the hotshots in America right now. I’ve made sure I fought some Americans on my way up so we could get a buzz out there. But I think I have to come out there for a fight for sure that’s important.


“America is the mecca of boxing.  If we can cross over into the states and keep the fan base in the UK I think we’ve cracked it. That’s mega stuff, that’s global boxing.  You’ve got a big guy, heavyweight with a name that’s easy to pronounce and speaks English well. I can relate to the U.S. market. All I have to do is get out there show them what my trade is and hopefully they’ll appreciate it and hopefully we can start talking about setting up major fights and bringing the same attention in the UK to the U.S. That would be phenomenal.”


How much of a concern is Klitschko’s holding?

“The holding is natural. But what do you do when someone is holding? How do you fight them off? You bring in the upper cut, you whip in a right hand to the body until the ref tells you to break.  It’s a fight so I can’t prevent the holding but it makes it interesting to see what fighter does when they’re being held.  When I’m being held I’m just going to throw the right hand to the body, left hook to the body and that will start taking the wind out of Klitschko.”


On Klitschko’s last fight against a British fighter David Haye:

“I think my fights will be entertaining. It is important for me to be entertaining.  It’s not only winning, but it’s about how you win. I’ve always tried to go in there and perform to that level. It would be sweet to go in there and knock Wladimir out, because that’s what heavyweight boxing is about. So that would be sweet. I’m not into the 12-round boxing.


“David Haye was up against it because you had Klitschko, who was a champion. Emanuel Steward, who trained the champion. Then you had David Haye, who wasn’t a champion and Adam Booth, who wasn’t a heavyweight championship trainer. He was up against it and he found it tough. It just showed that the bigger, stronger man would win. He just got the job done and that’s what led him to here. He got the win and I’m happy or we wouldn’t be here right now.”


# # #


American Premium Television Giants SHOWTIME and HBO To Produce Separate Telecasts on Saturday, April 29 From London’s Wembley Stadium


SHOWTIME Live at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT;

HBO Telecast in Primetime at approx. 10:45 p.m. ET/PT


Photo Credit: Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME


LONDON (April 17, 2017) – Matchroom Sport, Klitschko Management Group (KMG) and K2 Promotions have reached agreement with U.S. premium television giants Showtime and HBO to televise the most significant heavyweight world championship match in more than a decade.  On Saturday, April 29, IBF Heavyweight World Champion Anthony Joshua will face former unified world champion Wladimir Klitschko from a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London.


Showtime is the exclusive U.S. television partner of Joshua, while HBO has an exclusive agreement with Klitschko in the States.  Each premium network will produce its own separate telecast of the main event match for the U.S. audience.  SHOWTIME will televise its SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING presentation live at 4:15 p.m. ET/1:15 p.m. PT, while HBO will televise its WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING production at approximately 10:45 p.m. ET/PT.


Joshua (18-0, 18 KOs) and Klitschko (64-4, 53 KOs) will meet for Joshua’s IBF World Championship and the vacant IBO and WBA World Championships.  The British sensation Joshua has knocked out all 18 of his professional opponents in a meteoric rise to stardom, while the long-reigning world champion from Ukraine, Klitschko, aims to win back titles he previously held in his 11-year rule as heavyweight world champion.  Joshua vs. Klitschko is promoted by Matchroom Boxing, KMG and K2 Promotions and has officially sold out Wembley Stadium with a record-setting 90,000 tickets sold.


“I’m extremely happy and thankful that our respective U.S. TV partners Showtime and HBO reached an agreement,” said Bernd Boente, Managing Director of Klitschko Management Group.  “This happened before in the Mayweather vs. Pacquiao and the Lewis vs. Tyson fights and shows you the magnitude of our event at Wembley Stadium on April 29.”


“I’m delighted to announce this historic deal that will see Britain’s biggest ever fight shown on both HBO and SHOWTIME in the U.S.,” said Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport.  “It takes a special fight to break down barriers and boundaries but also networks and executives who believe in working with the best interest of fight fans in mind. With the obstacles in place it would have been any easy resolution to not air the fight in the States but I want to thank HBO and Showtime for their perseverance and allowing America to see one hell of a fight at our national stadium in front on 90,000 passionate fans.  Joshua vs. Klitschko is a fight for the ages and we look forward to the show!”


“We are thrilled to be delivering Joshua vs. Klitschko to the U.S. audience live on SHOWTIME,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports.  “On the afternoon of April 29, U.S. sports fans will be able to tune in to SHOWTIME to join a record-breaking crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium and a worldwide television audience in witnessing an event that represents not only the contesting of the heavyweight world championship, but potentially the changing of the guard in the most influential division in boxing.  We are proud to be Anthony Joshua’s exclusive U.S. television partner as he attempts to establish his legacy against the legendary Wladimir Klitschko, live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, as Showtime continues its unrivaled commitment to the sport.”


Said Peter Nelson, executive vice president, HBO Sports: “Both promoters and both networks have found a solution that enables boxing fans in the U.S. to watch the world heavyweight championship. This agreement ensures that our subscribers have access to same-day primetime coverage of the fight. It will mark Wladimir Klitschko’s 22nd appearance on HBO and the first for Anthony Joshua.”


The 27-year-old Joshua has been perfect since turning professional shortly after winning Gold at the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain.  Joshua, of Watford, England, won the IBF Heavyweight World Championship with a second-round knockout of defending champion Charles Martin in April 2016, earning a heavyweight belt in the fewest number of fights in more than 20 years.  He has since successfully defended the title twice—against Dominic Breazeale in June and Eric Molina in December.


Joshua is just the sixth Olympic Gold Medalist at super heavyweight to go on to win a professional heavyweight world title, joining Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Lennox Lewis, Alexander Povetkin and his rival on April 29, Wladimir Klitschko.


HBO has been the long-time home of Klitschko’s professional boxing career in the States.  The 41-year-old has been a kingpin in the heavyweight division since winning Gold at the 1996 Olympic Games.   He turned pro shortly after the Atlanta games and ran an undefeated campaign for 24 fights before suffering his first defeat to experienced veteran Ross Puritty.  Klitschko quickly rebounded by winning 10 in a row and captured his first world title (WBO) with a unanimous decision victory over Chris Byrd in 2000, a win which avenged a loss by his brother, Vitali, earlier that year.


Klitschko’s most recent reign at heavyweight began in 2006 when he captured the IBF and IBO belts via knockout in a rematch against Chris Byrd.  He went on to make 17 consecutive defenses of the IBF and IBO crowns, 13 consecutive defenses of the WBO belt, and eight consecutive defenses of the WBA title.  Along the way, he amassed victories over Sultan Ibragimov, Hasim Rahman, Ruslan Chagaev, David Haye, Samuel Peter, Alexander Povetkin, Kubrat Pulev and more.  In total he has fought in 28 total world title fights – a unique record in the history of the heavyweight division – compared to just 18 total professional fights for Anthony Joshua.  He was the longest reigning world champion (2006-2015) after Joe Louis.


This will be Klitschko’s first outing since losing the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles to Tyson Fury in 2015, his first defeat in 11 years.


Maurice Hooker vs. Juan Pablo Lopez Added to Cotto-Kirkland Undercard

Reigning NABO Junior Welterweight Champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (20-0-3, 14 KOs) will face Mexican knockout specialist Juan Pablo “Che Che” Lopez (29-3, 24 KOs) in a 10-round champion defense on the freeview undercard of Miguel Cotto vs. James Kirkland “The Return” on Saturday, February 25 at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas.


It comes as no surprise the Dallas-native was on hand when Roc Nation Sports, Miguel Cotto Promotions and the Dallas Cowboys organization officially announced the event in December at the team’s newly minted World Corporate Headquarters.


Tickets priced at $304, $204, $154, $104, $79, $54 and $29 not including applicable service charges and taxes, are on sale now and available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 and the AT&T Stadium box office.


Maurice Hooker and Roc Nation Sports confirmed the card today on their social media handles.







Photo Credit: Stacey Verbeek






NEW YORK, NY (December 19, 2016) – Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions are pleased to announce that Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, February 25, 2017 when he takes on James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) at Ford Center at The Star in Frisco, Texas. Coming off respective losses to Canelo Alvarez, both fighters will be seeking redemption in a 12-round junior middleweight showdown. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.


Cotto and Kirkland will join Roc Nation Sports and the Dallas Cowboys organization on Monday, December 19, 2016 at 12:00 p.m. CT for a press conference at Ford Center at The Star to officially announce the fight. This will be the first event of its kind to be held at the state-of-the-art, 510,000 square foot indoor athletic facility shared by the Dallas Cowboys, the City of Frisco, and Frisco ISD’s high schools. Ford Center at The Star is also the home to the Dallas Cowboys Football World Corporate Headquarters.


Tickets priced at $304, $204, $154, $104, $79, $54 and $29 not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Thursday, Dec. 22, 2016 at 10:00 a.m. local time and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at, charge by phone at (800) 745-3000 and the AT&T Stadium box office.


“I’m excited to return to the ring and put on a great show. I can’t wait to start training camp and get ready for February 25,” said Five-Time World Champion Miguel Cotto. “Fighting inside the beautiful Ford Center, Jerry Jones and the Dallas Cowboy’s newest creation, and headlining the first ever boxing event there pumps me with a lot of enthusiasm and energy.”


“I’m very excited to get back into the ring against a legend like Miguel Cotto. I’m going to train like never before so I can show the world that the old James Kirkland is back,” said James Kirkland. “You know the fight will be exciting while it lasts. February 25 can’t come soon enough.”


“Miguel Cotto is back and ready to put on an exciting show against the always tough James Kirkland,” said Hector Soto, Vice President of Miguel Cotto Promotions. “We can’t wait to see Miguel back in the ring on February 25 on HBO Pay-Per-View.”


“On behalf of Roc Nation Sports, we are so thrilled about Miguel Cotto’s return to the ring and to bring the first public event to Ford Center at The Star,” said Michael Yormark, Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy. “This will undoubtedly be a historic event with an exciting, all-action bout in store for the fans in Frisco and all of North Texas along with those watching from home on HBO Pay-Per-View.”


“We are excited to host an incredible matchup for the very first boxing match here at Ford Center at The Star,” said Jerry Jones, Dallas Cowboys Owner, President and General Manager. “This venue was designed with the idea of versatility in mind, and we expect a great crowd in Frisco, Texas to experience a world class fight between Miguel Cotto and James Kirkland.”


“Throughout his brilliant ring career, Miguel Cotto has never backed down from a challenge and on February 25 he takes on a dangerous knockout specialist in James Kirkland,” said Tony Walker, Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View. “Fans watching live in Frisco and those tuning in on pay-per-view should not blink in what should be an all-action slugfest.”


Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) is a former WBC and Ring Magazine middleweight world champion and the first native of Puerto Rico to become world champion in four different weight classes. He previously held the WBO junior welterweight world title, the WBA welterweight world title, the WBO welterweight world title and the WBA super welterweight world title. He also represented Puerto Rico in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Cotto has competed in 24 world championship fights, compiling a record of 19-5 with 16 knockouts in those bouts. In Puerto Rico, he is hailed as a national hero and the successor of Felix “Tito” Trinidad as the island’s most revered boxer. Cotto is one of the biggest gate attractions in boxing and one of the largest pay-per-view draws among active fighters. In June 2014, Cotto made history in his first fight as a middleweight by dominating Argentine southpaw and defending WBC and Ring Magazine Middleweight World Champion Sergio “Maravilla” Martinez. He is trained by legendary Hall of Fame trainer Freddie Roach and has fought some of the biggest names in the sport including Floyd “Money” Mayweather and Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao. Cotto owns his own boxing promotional company in Puerto Rico, Miguel Cotto Promotions, and presides over his charity La Fundación El Ángel de Miguel Cotto, a non-profit organization dedicated to combatting childhood obesity. In March 2015, Cotto and Roc Nation Sports announced that they had entered into a partnership that includes a co-promotional agreement with Miguel Cotto Promotions to promote Cotto’s fights. On June 6, 2015, Cotto defended his WBC, Ring Magazine and lineal middleweight world championships against former two-time World Champion Daniel Geale at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Cotto scored a thunderous knockdown early in the fourth round before finishing matters with a second knockdown midway through the round, which left Geale unable to continue. On November 21, 2015, Cotto cemented his status as one of the biggest pay-per-view draws among active fighters in his much anticipated mega-fight against Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, despite going the distance for a twelve-round unanimous decision loss. The hard-fought bout has been dubbed as the biggest fight in the history of the famed Puerto Rico vs. Mexico boxing rivalry. The Five-Time World Champion is eager to return to the ring against James Kirkland on February 25.


A Texas titan, representing the city of Austin, 32-year-old southpaw James “Mandingo Warrior” Kirkland (32-2, 28 KOs) has built his reputation with explosive power. His fists have accounted for 28 knockout victories over the course of his nearly 14-year professional career. A former NABO and WBC Continental Americas Champion, Kirkland bounced back from his lone defeat against Nobuhiro Ishida in 2011 with five consecutive wins, four coming by way of knockout. Kirkland has defeated Brian Vera, Alfredo “Perro” Angulo and Carlos “King” Molina and handed Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia his first professional loss by way of a punishing sixth round technical knockout, prior to taking the stage for a 12-round super welterweight war with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on May 9, 2015 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.


Cotto vs. Kirkland is a 12-round junior middleweight fight presented by Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions and Ford Center at The Star, and is sponsored by Corona Extra.


For more information, please visit Follow Roc Nation on Twitter @rocnation and Instagram @rocnationsports and on Facebook


For more information, visit, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @HBOBoxing and become a fan on Facebook at


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Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward Official Weigh-In (Click to Watch)


LAS VEGAS, NV (November 19, 2016) – In front of a packed crowd at MGM Grand Garden Arena, WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and Two-Time World Champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) faced off at the official weigh-in ahead of their ultimate showdown on Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Joining them at the public event were all of the undercard fighters.


Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Corona Extra, Monster Products, JetLux, Zappos, Jordan Brand and Shoe Palace. 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. Tickets are available on and the T-Mobile Arena box office.



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Sergey Kovalev vs. Andre Ward Final Press Conference (Click to Watch)


LAS VEGAS, NV (November 18, 2016) – On Thursday, Nov. 17, WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (30-0-1, 26 KOs) and Two-Time World Champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward (30-0, 15 KOs) participated in the final press conference for their Nov. 19 “Pound For Pound” showdown at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The final press conference was hosted by renowned ring announcer Michael Buffer. The event will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.


Below is what the fighters, promoters and other dais guests had to say at the final press conference:


Sergey Kovalev, WBO, WBA & IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion:


“Hi everybody, I am very glad to be here. It is very nice. Maybe like two, three years ago, I can never imagine that I can get this level and fight Andre Ward, undefeated boxer and Olympic Gold Medalist. I have very big respect for him, for his success in the pro and amateur career. It is really great success but now we are facing each other and I should prove that I am better. Thanks a lot to HBO and personally to Peter Nelson, my promoter Kathy Duva and Main Events promotions, Egis Klimas and to my sponsor Hublot. I really hope that our fight will be very clear and honest. I am very excited for this fight and a little nervous because I never was on this level. HBO Pay-Per-View is the highest level in pro boxing and I am very happy to be here. Welcome to the TV screens on Nov. 19 and T-Mobile Arena where you will see very great fight. Thank you very much.”


Andre Ward, Two-Time World Champion:


“I want to thank everyone who is here today – the media, all my sponsors, MGM Grand, the great team that put this fight together and HBO. I was off to the side trying to mind my own business when Kathy Duva woke me up. She started talking, I don’t know why she keeps doing that, but it’s interesting that the ones that are not getting in that ring are the ones that are doing the most talking. They’re not feeling those punches, so she can keep doing what she’s doing. I love it, that’s what a big promotion is all about, what a big fight is all about; we’re not supposed to like each other. His side has been doing a lot of talking, and that’s fine, we love it. It’s not our first rodeo, we’ve been down this road before. We don’t always respond right away. Sometimes our silence is misinterpreted as us not getting it. We watch, we take notes, but in the meantime we keep working and we produce come fight night. That’s what we specialize in. So all the talking is great, I love it, but know one thing – I’m not taking no mess come Saturday night. Ima be there. Thank you very much”.


Kathy Duva, CEO, Main Events:


“Welcome everyone to the best, most significant and most anticipated fight of the year. Main Events’ journey with Sergey Kovalev began just four years ago. In the Fall of 2012, he made his first appearance in a U.S. televised co-feature on NBCSN. It was the first time he was ever on television in the United States. At the time, he told me he had three goals: 1. win title, 2. unify title, 3. become Pay-Per-View fighter. He made it very clear that this is what he wanted and that he would win fights. He made his first appearance on HBO less than a year later when he won the WBO title. His first appearance on HBO happened less than a year later, and he’s fought on HBO nine times in three years and now his first Pay-Per-View is finally here. I’m bringing this up now because there’s a storyline out there about what a shame it is that this fight isn’t as big as Mayweather-Pacquiao. As I tend to do when I try and solve problems, I did some research to try and gain some perspective. Floyd Mayweather fought on HBO nine times just like Sergey, and of course the four-year period where he headlined his first HBO PPV versus Arturo Gatti in June of 2005, Gatti was the big draw of that fight. Manny Pacquiao fought on HBO for two years before headlining his first HBO gig in January of 2005 with Eric Morales. Those events sold in hundreds of thousands of buys, it wasn’t until Floyd and Manny got the opportunity to defeat the already well-established superstar Oscar De La Hoya that they reached that million buy benchmark. They fought on parallel paths for 10 years on PPV to get to the place where they arrived last year, and that of course is where every fighter wants to be and that is where Kovalev and Ward want to go. And so they have to start somewhere. The fact that Manny’s first PPV opponent Morales had been on PPV before and had already attained legendary status with his trilogy with Mickey Ward and was well known to casual sports fans.


“Very few fighters ever get the chance to fight consistently in the rarified world of Pay-Per-View, and those are typically the same fighters who get to earn pound for pound status in the ring. In the past few months, I have watched Sergey work so far to promote this spectacular event. Sergey has shown me he has the chops to be the kind of star that has that rare ability to connect with each and every one of his fans, make new ones every time he’s out, and works very hard to convince them he’s worth paying to see. His boxing ability, his concussive punching power, his electrifying presence in the ring.


“Among Sergey’s goals, one that I added in was to be a big fighter in Las Vegas, so this is big. This is huge, we are so happy. I want to thank Bob Bennett of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, it’s such a pleasure to work with such professional people and you make our job a whole lot easier. I want to thank all of our sponsors. Finally, want to thank all of you for being here, and I just can’t wait until the bell rings.


“Our co-featured fight is NABF light heavyweight champion Alexander “The Nail” Roddick, who’s undefeated and making a lot of noise in the light heavyweight division, he’s from Ukraine. He’s going to be fighting Isaac “Golden Boy” Chilemba, who’s originally from Malawi and fighting out of Johannesburg, South Africa. They’re going to take part in a ten-round light heavyweight fight. A true crossroad-fight where I honestly have no idea who’s going to win. Obviously, Main Events is with Isaac, who put up a tremendous fight against Sergey a few months ago, I think he simply never gets the credit he deserves. He is quite possibly the second-best light heavyweight in the world, and I know Isaac has his eyes on coming back strong and impressing everyone Saturday night.


“Also opening the televised undercard, WBA continental middleweight champion, Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stephens of Brownsville, Brooklyn. One of the most fun fighters in the whole business. Curtis, you brighten up our day, every day. He’s going to be facing James “The King” De La Rosa, 23-4 of San Benito, Texas in a ten-round middleweight bout. This has all the earmarks of a train wreck, but Curtis has his sight set on bigger and better things and I know he and James are going to be working very hard to impress because the middleweight division is hot, and there’s a lot of opportunity there.


“I don’t think I have to tell anybody in this room why this is a great fight or why you should be interested in it or why you should want to see it. You wouldn’t be here if you didn’t already know that but we do need you to go out and carry the word out to the rest of the world. This is the fight that you bring your friend over, the one who likes boxing a little bit but isn’t sure. This is the fight that you tell your friend, the one who says MMA is better than boxing. Get them to come over your house to see this one because Kovalev-Ward is going to make big fans out of a lot of people, Saturday night, and I’m looking forward to that and seeing all of you there.”


Michael Yormark, Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy:


“Honesty is the best policy. So I’m going to start this off with a giant dose of honesty. For the next 48 hours, you’re probably going to hear a lot of respect and admiration between these two undefeated fighters. The simple fact is, we are just two days away from the biggest fight of the year, and I don’t expect them to admire one another. But who can blame them? The only thing standing between an undefeated record and boxing immortality is each other. That adds a layer of distaste and a very sharp edge to a fight that is already set to be an absolute classic. My perspective on this fight is pretty simple. Saturday night is going to be a tough night for Sergey, when he is systematically picked apart by the world’s best pound for pound boxer, Andre Ward.


“I’ve known Andre for quite a few years, and I’ve never seen him more focused, more determined, more motivated and more prepared for the biggest fight in his career. These moments are the ones that generational athletes live for and they dream about. This is an opportunity to make history, to write the latest chapter in Andre’s legend, and frankly, close the book on Sergey’s. Make no mistake about it, Team Ward has come to Vegas to win, and to walk out of Sin City with three—I repeat, three—new championship belts. Boxing needs a fight like this, two undefeated fighters in their prime. Edges sharpened by natural competitiveness, as well as an utter dislike. Fighting on the world’s biggest stage at T-Mobile Arena, and on HBO Pay-Per-View. It doesn’t get any better or bigger. Epic is the only word to describe it, and as a life-long boxing fan, I am thrilled to be a first-hand witness.


“I’d like to recognize the official fight partners we have secured for this event. Our presenting partner Corona as well as Monster Products, JetLux, Zappos, Jordan Brand and Shoe Palace. I’d also like to thank Andre’s fighting partners, including ProSupps and Lyft, Monster Products, BODYARMOUR and JetLux, as well as his long-standing partners Jordan Brand, POWERHANDZ and Shoe Palace. This support and the support from fans and media is a stark recognition of Andre as a true once-in-a-generation-athlete. His skill is matched only by his commitment to family and community. His competitiveness equal only by his charisma. At Roc Nation, we are honored to represent this man, an Olympic gold medalist, undefeated since he was 13 years old, the pride of Oakland, and of course, the next light heavyweight champion of the world.


“While our main event looks to be a fight for the ages, it is a deep and talented undercard that will make Saturday’s event a truly special one. Roc Nation is proud to work with a number of talented fighters on the card, starting with Dallas-native Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker, who is putting his undefeated record and NABO Junior Welterweight title on the line against Darleys Perez on HBO Pay-Per-View. We will also feature rising heavyweight superstar Darmani “Rock Solid” Rock of Philadelphia, as he looks to improve to 6-0 against Brice Ritani-Coe during his Las Vegas debut. Opening up the freeview telecast on the Pay-Per-View events channel prior to the official telecast, will be an eight-round junior welterweight bout featuring undefeated rising prospect Sonny “Pretty Boi” Frederickson of Toledo, Ohio. The freeview will also be available through live streaming on HBO Boxing’s YouTube channel. Frederickson will take on Gabriel Deluc of Boston, Massachusetts. Another Toledo, Ohio native, with an unblemished record, Tyler “Golden Child” McCreary will go toe-to-toe with Vincent “Pooh Bear” Jennings of Grand Rapids, Michigan in an eight-round featherweight bout. Fans will be able to catch the matchup on the freeview portion of Kovalev-Ward as well. Meanwhile, National hero and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa Shields will make her much anticipated professional debut on the freeview broadcast. She will be taking on longtime rival Franchon Crews who will also be making her pro debut in a four-round middleweight bout. Simply put, boxing fans are in for a treat on Saturday evening and we are ecstatic to be a part of it.


“We’ve heard a lot of honesty today. But clearly Saturday is going to be an epic night. Kovalev-Ward is without a doubt going to be the fight of the year in boxing, we all know that. Roc Nation is proud to be a part of it, it’s in our DNA to promote big global events, and we are honored after working on this fight for the better part of last year, we have finally arrived at the moment of truth. There are a lot of organizations and people that have helped this event, and I’d like to thank all of them. First and foremost, Team Ward, including James Prince, Josh Dubin and Virgil Hunter. Peter Nelson and Tony Walker from HBO for bringing this fight to a global audience. Richard Sturm and Sid Greenfeig from MGM, as well as T-Mobile Arena GM Dan Quinn for hosting this event at a world class facility. Kathy Duva and her team at Main Events, who have been our partners on this fight from the very beginning. Last but certainly not least, the city of Las Vegas, the spiritual home of the biggest events in boxing, and the rightful setting for a fight that will change the face of the sport for many years to come.”


John David Jackson, Trainer of Sergey Kovalev:


“Thank you to all the press for being here. I want to thank two different groups. First, I want to thank Main Events promotions. These women at Main Events plus my man, Joe Rotonda, are truly some of the greatest people in the world. If you want to find a promotional company that will treat you fairly to all fighters and across the board and give you what you deserve in boxing, then go see them. Number two, I would like to thank all the press that is out here at this event. It is truly wonderful to see some of the people who, with their words, can help boxing swim or sink. Your words help a lot. Sometimes you don’t help us as much as we would like to be helped but I am so grateful to see all of you out here because we need this to keep boxing striving. This is a wonderful, beautiful sport that sometimes can get funky but all in all it is a wonderful, beautiful fight. I thank all of you that came out to support and write your words down for this wonderful sport.


“One fight does not define a fighter’s career. That last fight for both fighters it is what it truly was: a tune-up. They did what they were supposed to do. They both won convincingly in order to make this fight happen here. I don’t remember what reporter asked that but that is the answer to your question. One fight does not define a fighter’s career.


“Some of the things I say are to get into someone’s head but what it boils down to is that I do respect these people; they are very good people. The whole team is very good. They are very professional. To answer [Virgil’s] question which was a two-part question. He said in the last fight I was there for a week. I would love to tell you that wherever you got your information from was bad information. I was there longer than two weeks or three weeks. Whoever said I was there for a week I am glad they said that. It makes it look like we are a bad team. I love that. To answer your questions about the cohesiveness of our team, whatever goes on in camp, whatever disagreements that we may have or people say we have, I want you to remember this, all the writers out here, come fight night we will leave the same way that we came in – undefeated. Sergey wins every fight. He wins the way he is supposed to win and he did everything that I asked of him. With that said, I look forward to Nov. 19 and I will see you all there. Thank you very much.”


Egis Klimas, Manager of Sergey Kovalev:


“Thank you everybody for being here. Media, without you nobody will know where we’re going or what we’re doing, so thank you very much. Wanted to thank our promoter Main Events, Kathy Duva did a very good job bringing us to this stage to this very big fight. MGM Grand, very good host, thank you very much. HBO Pay-Per-View has brought the whole audience in America. I hope I didn’t miss anyone else. Of course I’m very, very proud to represent one of the best fighters in the world and hopefully, we’re going to see that Saturday night, who’s the pound for pound boxer. I hate when trainers, managers, promoters start talking about how it’s going to beat each other because they aren’t the ones stepping the in the ring. None of the promoters, trainers or managers can understand what’s going to happen in the ring. It’s only two warriors who will be in the ring. We have two best light heavyweight fighters in the world who are going to show on Saturday night who is the best pound-for-pound fighter. I hope it’s the best show that we’ve seen in years. Thank you very much”.


Virgil Hunter, Trainer of Andre Ward:


“I’ve been here for many fights and to see the media room filled for this fight, it really makes me feel good. I would like to thank Peter Nelson, the team at HBO, my Rap-A-Lot family, Richard Sturm and MGM. I would also like to thank the press, no matter who you choose to win.


“I turned 63, last Wednesday, and it’s no secret that I’ve worked with youths, all of my professional career. It does have an emotional effect on me when it comes to young men. Watching HBO’s My Fight touched me deeply. My heart goes out to Sergey Kovalev and everybody now knows Andre Ward’s background.


“I believe it’s going to be a great fight. I believe that Kovalev is everything that they say he is. He is a dangerous opponent; he’s coming intended to win. We’ve seen him do things to opponents that when they step into the ring, they shiver. Now, it’s just up to us to dilute that situation. I’m looking forward to Nov.



“I would encourage all promoters to treat your fighters fairly, don’t hoodwink them. Don’t keep them robots. Encourage them and teach them how to be businessmen. If you have a champion, he deserves a champion’s ration.”


James Prince, Manager of Andre Ward:


“I’d like to thank God for this opportunity. HBO, the commitment and sacrifices that they made to bring this fight to us. MGM Grand and Richard Sturm. We appreciate Roc Nation, our promoter – JAY Z, all those in the background supporting Michael Yormark, who has been on the line of duty doing a great job. Antonio Leonard is in the house, we appreciate you Tony and all that you do. The list goes on and on. I feel really grateful for this opportunity, and I speak on behalf of Team Ward. We’ve been looking forward to this day, it’s here, and I’m going to deal with the elephant in the room: this is Russia vs. the United States of America. In my opinion, the best of Russia can’t beat the best of the United States of America in anything. I just needed that to be said. We have a Russian fighter over here, Kovalev; we respect your fight game, you’re a great fighter. You remind me of Goliath. We have my man Andre Ward, whom I consider David. I don’t know if you all understand David and Goliath but that’s what we’re dealing with here. Come Saturday night, we’re going to have an opportunity to see the modern-day David, which is Andre Ward, defeat Goliath. I mentioned this at the last press conference in New York, and Ms. Duva said to me that Andre Ward doesn’t have a sword. But she missed the real substance of the story, she missed the learning on David. His obedience and all of these different spiritual realms where David was concerned. He’s fixing to fight the S.O.G, that’s the Son of God, if you all didn’t know, that’s Andre Ward. So, no, we don’t have a sword, and we can’t cut his head off and raise it up as David did, but Andre Ward is going to raise the belt up come Saturday night.”


Bob Bennett, Nevada State Athletic Commission:


“It’s unequivocally a pleasure and an honor for the Nevada State Athletic Commission to regulate this very sensational championship fight. This event should be second to none. You should know we take our job very seriously, and we’ve done our homework and we’re ready to go to work. At this time, we would like to thank Kathy Duva and Main Events, and Michael Yormark from Roc Nation for having this electric championship fight in the fight capital of the world. We’d also like to recognize Richard Sturm and the MGM for hosting this event at the T-Mobile and HBO for broadcasting the event, and for the shows leading up to the event, which have definitely been entertaining and interesting. Last but not least, we want to recognize and thank the warriors, all the fighters, because without them, none of us would be here.”


Richard Sturm, President of Entertainment and Sports, MGM Resorts International:


“We are thrilled to once again host an international championship at the T-Mobile Arena. This weekend, we close our company’s boxing calendar as Russian Sergey Kovalev battles American Andre Ward. We look forward to this matchup of these two undefeated fighters. Kovalev returns to Las Vegas following his 2015 knockout win over Nadjib Mohammedi while Andre Ward and his team make their Las Vegas debut. As we have seen over the last seven months, T-Mobile Arena has quickly changed the landscape of entertainment and sports in Las Vegas, and we look forward to continuing that tradition. We’d like to give a special thanks to Kathy Duva and Main Events Team, and Michael Yormark and the Roc Nation staff. Both fight camps, Tony Walker with HBO Pay-Per-View and Bob Bennett of the Nevada State Athletic Commission.”



Tony Walker, Vice President, HBO Pay-Per- View:


“Thank you all for coming out today to talk about the great sport of boxing. I’d like to thank Roc Nation and Main Events and their staffs for putting together such a great main event, and also a fantastic undercard that we will televise on Saturday night. The wonderful thing about the main event is that it’s been a very, very long time since two elite fighters have made their Pay-Per-View debut against each other. Credit to Andre and Sergey for coming together and making this a big time event. All of the elements are there for it to be a big fight. Both fighters have applied their trade over several years fighting everyone who got in their way. Winning, their undefeated, all the pride in the world, and most importantly, the outcome is in doubt. Quite diverse group of opinions among you over who’s going to win the fight, and that’s what sells Pay-Per-View. For those of you who have not seen the HBO video pieces that were produced to showcase the fight and the fighters, I would encourage you to go to HBO On Demand, HBO GO or and check out those shows. They’re provocative entertainment and I think they’re going to get you all primed for Saturday night. This month in November, there have been several high profile Pay-Per-View shows, and I have to give thanks to our distributors on the cable TV, satellite, Telco side, who have promoted this Pay-Per-View show and given us a great presence in the marketplace and really given it its due with all the other stuff going on. We have a great broadcast team on Saturday night, the telecast starts at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The Pay-Per-View suggested retail price is a very attractive $54.95, and we look forward to seeing you there.”


Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Corona Extra, Monster Products, JetLux, Zappos, Jordan Brand and Shoe Palace. 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. Tickets are available on and the T-Mobile Arena box office.






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Las Vegas, NV (November 15, 2016) – NABO Junior Welterweight Champion Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker(21-0-2, 16 KOs) and Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Claressa “T-Rex” Shields participated in a media workout in Las Vegas, NV on Monday, Nov. 14, ahead of their undercard appearances on Kovalev-Ward “Pound For Pound” taking place Saturday, Nov. 19 at T-Mobile Arena.


Shields, who will be making her professional debut against American rival Franchon Crews, will be featured on the freeview telecast beginning at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT on the Pay-Per-View events channel prior to the official telecast, and through livestreaming on HBO Boxing’s YouTube channel.


Hooker, who will be defending his NABO title against veteran Darleys Perez (33-2-1, 21 KOs), will be featured during the televised undercard leading up to the main event on HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.


Both fighters put on a display of mitt work, heavy bag, speed bag and shadow boxing for the media in attendance. Below is what the rising stars had to say during the media workout:


Maurice Hooker, NABO Junior Welterweight Champion:


“Kovalev-Ward is a special event. I’m going to do what I do best and hopefully, steal the crowd. The crowd is going to love me…they love knockouts, and that is what I am ready to give them.


“Aaron Pryor is one of the best. He brought a lot of knockouts. He was a great fighter whom a lot of people dodged. Like him, I’m coming into this fight with people dodging me. They are afraid because they don’t know what I can do. This fight means a lot…an opportunity to show them who I am. I am going to bring the knockout just like ‘The Hawk’ would.”


“I want to stay busy. I want to fight Ricky Burns and Eduard Troyanovsky and win ‘em belts. Shout out to my big bro Terrance Crawford. He’s doing his thing. Hopefully, he gets a fight with Pacquiao, move up and let me take over.


“My prediction for Saturday is a knockout. I love knockouts. I am always going for the knockout. With every punch that I throw, even the jab, I am going to try to take Darleys Perez’s head off.”


Claressa Shields, Two-Time Olympic Gold Medalist:

“I’ll have been in camp for seven weeks. I’m excited. I’m ready to take on this new task of being a professional fighter and ultimately, winning a belt.

“When deciding to go pro, I thought about my legacy—I didn’t want to disappear for four years, and win another gold medal but have people not know my name or what I look like or how I box.

“Expect to see a really good fight, a very skilled fight from me, this Saturday. The world is going to see a level of boxing that no woman boxer has ever showed before. I’m a smart fighter. I’m an entertaining fighter. I throw everything well and have great combinations.

“Franchon Crews and I have sparred and boxed before in huge tournaments. She’s coming into this fight fully prepared and I’ve been training for a KO. In the amateurs, my overall record was 77-1 but I’ve never KO’d anyone. Now, we have smaller gloves, no headgear and I’m way stronger than I’ve ever been. This is a different kind of pro debut. This should actually be a World Championship fight between me and Franchon Crews but somehow, she took it for a pro debut.

“I love boxing. That’s why I commit my time and body. I look forward to fighting in front of all the fight fans. I have friends, family, fans from all over flying into Vegas just to see me fight, so hopefully I can pack the house before the main event.”


Follow Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker on Twitter @mightymohooker, Instagram @mauricemightymohooker and Facebook:


Follow Claressa Shields on Twitter @ClaressaShields, Instagram @ClaressaShields, and




Kovalev vs. Ward “Pound For Pound”, a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA light heavyweight title at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, is presented by Main Events, Roc Nation Sports, Krusher Promotions and Andre Ward Promotions and is sponsored by the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Corona Extra, Zappos and JetLux. 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. Tickets are available on and the T-Mobile Arena box office.


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