Kovalev Q&A Highlights



Reigning light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev held a question and answer session with the media. This was done to start the hype machine behind next bout against top “pound for pound” fighter Andre Ward on November 19. Here are some of the highlights of his Q&A session in Los Angles.



We don’t see two five pound-for-pound fighters fight each other that often – what makes this fight worth the risk for you?


Sergey Kovalev: This fight for me is dangerous. Any fight is dangerous but this fight is really important for my career and for the boxing world because it is a really high level for both of us. When I was a child I was just dream to be on this level so this fight for me really means a lot. For me this fight means everything in my boxing career and after this fight we will find out who is the best pound-for-pound.


Do you think you can outbox Andre Ward?


Kovalev: It is my goal. I like to have goals in my life and this makes my goal, yes.


Could you imagine yourself as being the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world? Is this something you dreamed of when you were a kid?


Kovalev: I never dreamed about it because I never knew about this word “pound-for-pound,” so I never thought about being the best pound-for-pound. I always wanted to be the best in the light heavyweight division. But now that Andre said this is the fight for the best pound-for-pound, yes it is now my goal.


Does your current status being in the top-pound-for-pound, have status, or is it appreciated in Russia?


Kovalev: I don’t know because I don’t hear any opinions about that from Russian fans. After a while people are thinking that I am the best, yes, and in my hometown for sure.


Do you think Andre Ward has more power as a light heavyweight to hurt you and do you think you can knock Andre Ward out?


Kovalev: I think so, yes. He was power – he will be a lot heavier and has been in his last two fights. He has been fighting twelve rounds to get enough experience for November 19. We saw the power when he fought in the super middleweight division. Sure, I will try to knock him out because I am Krusher and I try to live up to my nick-name. Let’s do it.


Now you are focused on November 19. If you win do you think you will fight Adonis Stephenson, or do you think he will run away again?


Kovalev: If you understand that I am focused on this fight, why would you ask that question? It would be up to him. I am ready for him but it is not my decision to fight against Stephenson, I am fighting Ward and he is Chickenson.

Ward vs. Brand Under Card Set



Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29–0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, August 6, to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25–1, 19 KOs) at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. The event, which will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT, will now include six bouts of non-televised action for ticketed fans to enjoy before the main event.

The promising undercard lineup will feature Bay Area native Bilal Mahasin, and a collection of Roc Nation Sports’ brightest prospects including Daniel “Twitch” Franco, Rudy “The Revelation” Puga Jr. and Darmani “Rock Solid” Rock. Roc Nation Sports’ sparkplug Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker also looks to ignite Oracle Arena as the card’s co-feature by defending his NABO belt in a 10-round junior welterweight clash against Ty Barnett.

Maurice “Mighty Mo” Hooker (20–0–2, 15 KOs) was born and raised in Oak Cliff, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, where he found a boxing home at Maple Avenue Boxing Gym by way of an outreach program for at-risk youths. His natural talent was soon noticed resulting in him competing as an amateur, during which time he compiled a record of 97–7, with 67 knockouts. Hooker turned professional on April 29, 2011. “Mighty Mo” made his debut under the Roc Nation Sports banner on the undercard of Andre Ward vs. Sullivan Barrera on March 26 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, CA, where he annihilated opponent Wilfrido “La Roca” Buelvas (17–5, 11 KOs) of Columbia in the first round of a 10-round junior welterweight bout by way of technical knockout. Hooker looks to advance his undefeated record when he takes on Ty Barnett (23–4–1, 15 KOs) on August 6 at Oracle Arena. Barnett was last seen in action on February 27, scoring a technical knockout victory over battle-tested veteran Daniel Attah at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. The D.C. native is eager to stop Maurice Hooker’s momentum and take home the NABO title.

Hailing from Riverside, California and fighting out of the boxing hotbed of Oxnard, undefeated junior lightweight Daniel “Twitch” Franco (13–0–3, 8 KOs) began boxing at the age of eight, amassing an amateur record of 67–15. During Franco’s professional debut on December 18, 2010, he defeated Emanuel Machorro at Club 401 in Ontario, California via a third round technical knockout. In his most recent fight on March 26, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on the Andre Ward vs. Sullivan Barrera undercard, the unbeaten Twitch met Mexico’s German “Panteonero” Meraz in an eight-round featherweight bout. Franco scored a technical knockout over the veteran fighter in the final round of the fight. August 6 will be Franco’s third appearance at Oracle when he takes on Renton, Washington’s Marcelo Gallardo (7–3–2, 3 KOs). The 26-year-old Gallardo has been known to play the spoiler role, scoring unanimous decision victories over unbeaten prospects Christopher Diaz and Vic Pasillas in 2015.

Having compiled an exceptional amateur record of 99–8, Rudy “The Revelation” Puga. Jr. (8–0, 7 KOs), the promising prospect from Salinas, California made his professional debut on September 2, 2011, scoring a fourth round technical knockout victory over Raul Talamontes at the Sports Complex in his hometown. In his most recent fight on March 26, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on HBO’s Andre Ward vs. Sullivan Barrera undercard, Puga Jr. extended his undefeated streak against Carlos “Kalimba” Lozano by way of a technical knockout in the sixth round. The Southern California native returns to the Bay Area on August 6 to face an opponent to be announced.

Brooklyn’s undefeated Junior “The Young God” Younan (9–0, 7 KOs) is considered one of New York City’s best boxing prospects. Younan, trained by his father Sherif, a former professional boxer himself, began fighting competitively at age eight and only two years later was called a “boxing prodigy” by the New York Times. He compiled an amateur record of 90–5, racking up an impressive series of titles along the way. Less than a month after his 18th birthday, Younan made his professional debut on November 9, 2013, at the Aviator Sports and Events Center in Brooklyn, New York, stopping Kenneth Schmitz in the first round. In his last on May 13, 2016 on the undercard of throne boxing’s Dusty Hernandez-Harrison vs. Mike Dallas, Jr. on BET and Tidal.com, Younan overwhelmed Rodrigo Almeida of Woburn, Massachusetts with a technical knockout in the first round at the DC Armory in Washington, D.C. Returning to Oakland on the Ward vs. Brand undercard, Younan is set to take on Jaime “Zarco” Solorio (5–2–2, 4 KOs) on August 6. Fighting out of Baja, California, the Mexico native is riding an undefeated streak in his last six fights.

At the age of 20, Darmani Rock (3–0, 3 KOs) is already drawing comparisons to former heavyweight greats of the past. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Rock was brought to a local boxing ring by his father at age twelve after he lost a street fight to neighborhood bullies. Standing at 6’4”, he moves with an unparalleled lightness and speed for a fighter his size. Rock earned nation-wide accolades following a banner year in 2014 when he took home the USA Boxing Junior and Youth Open, Youth Continental and Youth World super heavyweight titles. His most noteworthy win, however, came in May 2015 when he beat Cam Awesome in Las Vegas for the National Golden Gloves title. Rock also captured the 2015 U.S. National Amateur super heavyweight championship. He ended his amateur career as the number one rated super heavyweight in the United States (and the number five rated super heavyweight in the world) going 19–5 in national tournaments. Rock made his highly anticipated professional debut, after signing an exclusive promotional agreement with Roc Nation Sports, against Rockville, Maryland’s Carlos Black on May 13, 2016, as the co-feature of Roc Nation’s throne boxing card at the Armory in Washington, D.C. Following a devastating left hook, Rock brought his opponent to the floor with a right-left combination at the 1:54 mark of the first round. Without wasting any time, Rock followed his impressive debut by demolishing his next two opponents, Bobby Favors and Hassan Lee, both by way of knockout in the first round of the respective bouts. Making his Oracle Arena debut on August 6, Rock looks to keep his fierce win streak alive when he takes on Mike Kyle (1–2–1, 1 KO). The Boise, Idaho native seeks to reaffirm the impression he has set on Oakland where he scored his first career win and knockout over James Kirby this past January.

Bilal “Rebellious” Mahasin (8–3–1, 1 KO) is no stranger to Oakland fight fans. A resident of the Bay Area’s eastern shore, Mahasin made his professional debut in 2002 with great promise, winning his first three fights. He last fought on June 11, 2016 at the 16th Street Rail Station in Oakland, going the distance with a six-round unanimous decision over Vincente Guzman. Mahasin is ready to take on journeyman Luis Alfredo Lugo (14–25–1, 5 KOs) on August 6 at Oracle Arena in front an ever-steadied fanfare.

Ward vs. Brand is Set For Aug.6




Roc Nation Sports is pleased to announce that Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, August 6, to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) at Oracle Arena in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT.

Ward and Brand were slated to face each other last November on the pay-per-view undercard of Miguel Cotto vs. Canelo Alvarez, but a leg injury forced Ward to withdraw from participation in the event.

Tickets priced at $300, $120, $90, $60 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Tuesday, June 28 at 5:00 p.m. PT and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Ward vs. Brand is a 12-round fight presented by Roc Nation Sports and sponsored by Corona Extra, the motion picture HANDS OF STONE: The True Story of Roberto Duran, Corporate Travel Management Solutions (ctms) and The Clorox Company, supporting the Bay Area Community for over 100 years.

“We can get it on, right now,” said Ward.  “August 6th, I will be ready, so come out to Oracle Arena or tune in live on HBO.  Don’t miss it.”

“It will be a great honor to face Andre Ward on August 6 and better yet in his own backyard,” said Brand.  “Fighting somebody with such an illustrious career, facing a guy that perhaps hasn’t lost a round in his entire life, is even more thrilling.  We were set to face each other last November, but he was forced to pull out of the fight with an injury. Now the time has come to fight him and I can’t wait to derail his future plans.  I’ll work hard to spoil them.”

“Andre Ward’s quest to become the best light heavyweight on the planet and boxing’s number one pound-for-pound fighter continues on August 6,” said David Itskowitch, COO of Boxing Roc Nation Sports.  “Alexander Brand has been waiting for this fight since last year and we have no doubt he is going to enter the ring hungry for a huge victory.  There’s a lot on the line in this fight for Andre who knows he can’t look past Brand towards a much discussed clash with Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey Kovalev.”

“Undefeated for the last two decades, technically brilliant and the last American man to win an Olympic gold medal in boxing, Andre Ward is one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world,” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports.  “On August 6th, Andre continues his move up in weight to campaign in the 175-pound division against challenger Alexander Brand in front a hometown crowd at the Oracle.”

Known for his strong character and integrity outside the ring and his warrior’s instinct inside it, 32 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 27 more victories 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.  The Bay Area product 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, continuing his unbeaten streak which dates back to when he was a 12-year-old amateur.  In his most recent fight 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 in front of frenzied crowd at Oracle Arena that including luminaries such as Michael B. Jordan, Stephen Curry, Marshawn Lynch and Draymond Green.  Ward expertly managed the fight and began to unravel his opponent in the third round when he caught Barrera with a counter left hook, dropping him to the canvas.  The rest was a routine victory for Ward, who scored a dominating dispatch of Barrera by way of unanimous decision after 12 rounds.  Ward looks forward to a formidable challenge in Brand who is now the only obstacle in the way of his anticipated showdown against Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey Kovalev in the fall.

Bogota, Colombia native Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) turned professional at the relatively late age of 32 following a long and accomplished amateur career that saw him tally over 400 wins.  He burst on to the professional scene in 2009, scoring knockout wins in his first 12 fights and winning 15 of his first 17 bouts inside the distance.  His first and only professional setback came via an eight-round split decision loss to current WBC Super Middleweight World Champion Badou Jack in a 2012 fight that many ringside observers thought Brand had won.  Since that fight, Brand has passed every ring test with flying colors, notching eight consecutive victories.  In his last bout, Brand faced the sternest test of his career since the Jack fight when he fought a favored, undefeated and highly touted light heavyweight Medzhid Bektemirov on December 5, 2015 at Osceola Heritage Center in Kissimmee, Florida.  Brand weathered an early Bektemirov blitz, including recovering from a first round knockdown, and notched a 10-round split decision victory by the scores of 98-91, 98-91 and 94-95.  The 39 year-old Brand, who has held several regional title including the WBC Latino Super Middleweight and the WBC Silver Interim Super Middleweight Championships, will be looking to pull off another upset on August 6 and thrust himself into light heavyweight title contention.