Ward vs. Brand is Set For Aug.6

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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.

Photos/Quotes: Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. & Rafael Rivera Media Workout Ahead of Dec. 5th Clash

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Photo Credit: Roc Nation Sports & Miguel Cotto Promotions

KISSIMMEE, FL (Dec. 4, 2015) – Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions hosted a media workout ahead of throne boxing: Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. vs. Rafael Rivera which is set for Saturday, Dec. 5 from Osceola Heritage Park Exhibit Hall A in Kissimmee, Florida televised live on HBO Latino Boxing beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT. Former WBO Junior Featherweight World Champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. (24-1-5, 19 KOs) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico and undefeated Rafael “Big Bang” Rivera (20-0-2, 14 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico worked out ahead of their ten-round featherweight showdown this weekend.

Below is what the fighters had to say about their upcoming bouts.

WILFREDO VAZQUEZ JR., FORMER WBO JUNIOR FEATHERWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION:

“I feel explosive and ready. I have that motivation that keeps me on. I’ve been working on my speed and movement just like I did when I began my career.

“Rivera is a classic Mexican fighter that will try to put pressure on me. We are ready to handle and take care of whatever he brings Saturday night.”

RAFAEL “BIG BANG” RIVERA, UNDEFEATED FEATHERWEIGHT:

“Just like my nickname says, I will be using my speed and my agility to win. I’m going to use all of the strategies I’ve been training with for the last two months.”

Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. vs. Rafael Rivera, a ten-round featherweight bout, takes place Saturday, Dec. 5 at Osceola Heritage Park Exhibit Hall A in Kissimmee, Florida. This throne boxing event is presented by Roc Nation Sports and Miguel Cotto Promotions and sponsored by Corporate Travel Management Solutions (ctms), Tequila Cazadores, Venue Kings and SportsLock. Also featured will be Alexander Brand vs. Medzhid Bektemirov in a ten-round light heavyweight bout which is presented in association with Camponovo Sports and Gary Shaw Productions. The doubleheader will be televised live on HBO Latino beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.

Tickets priced at $65 and $33, plus applicable service charges, are available for purchase tickets at www.ticketmaster.com and www.ohpark.com. To charge by phone, call Ticketmaster at (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available for purchase at the Osceola Heritage Park box office which is open weekdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday, Dec. 5 beginning at 8:00 a.m.

For more information please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation. Follow the conversation using #throneboxing.

Canelo Decisions Cotto to Pick Up Title and Undercard Results.

LAS VEGAS (Nov. 21) – In one of the most anticipated fights of the year, Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs) and Canelo Álvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) thrilled fans from start to finish with high-intensity action just as promised, but it was Canelo that persevered and was crowned the new WBC, Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Champion with a unanimous decision win after 12-rounds.

Entertainment and sports figures including JAY Z, Beyonce, Mark Wahlberg, Nicey Nash, Mario Lopez, Paulina Rubio, Kate del Castillo, Michael B. Jordan, Sammy Hagar, UFC Bantamweight Champion Holly Holm, Kelly Rowland, Charles Barkley, Erick Aybar, Angie Martinez and former and current fighters Evander Holyfield, Andre Ward, Zab Judah, were all in attendance to catch the excitement live in Las Vegas at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. 

“I have a lot of respect for Miguel,” said Canelo Álvarez following the fight. “He is a great champion and a great fighter. We knew going into this fight that it would be a difficult journey, but I feel that I was the faster and stronger fighter tonight. I wasn’t hurt by his punches. I want to thank my trainers, they are like my family and the best people I know and I couldn’t have done this without them.”
 
Álvarez continued, “I’m not afraid of any fighter. Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is a great fighter, and he is my friend. I have respect for him, but if we do fight, it’s going to be at my weight class. I’m the champion, and I don’t have to do what he wants.”
 
“I was fully prepared for what Cotto was going to do in the ring, whether that was take a defense stance or be the aggressor,” Álvarez said lastly.
 
“We are very proud of Canelo today,” said Eddy Reynoso, trainer for Canelo Álvarez. “As we all know, he started from the bottom and now he is the champion.. I was never worried about him from the first round through to the 12th round. He has great defense strategy, but I was hoping that he would have finished Cotto sooner. I know that he was looking for the knock out and as a result didn’t throw as much as he should have to put Miguel on the canvas. We have a lot of respect for Miguel, he is a great fighter, and we have tremendous respect for Freddie Roach as a trainer.”
 
“I knew he was winning,” said Jose “Chepo” Reynoso, trainer and manager for Canelo Álvarez. “He went into this fight with a clear head and a full heart and that is what he needed to be successful tonight. I am proud of him, proud of his simplicity to admit that we were once no one and now he is the middleweight champion. I wish he would have put more pressure on Cotto from the beginning, but I knew he was enjoying himself. He showed how beautiful the sport can be when you fight in an intelligent way.”
 
“This fight will take Canelo to a whole new level now – this is a new era in our sport,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions, at the post-fight press conference. “Canelo’s next fight will be in May for the weekends of Cinco de Mayo and in September for Mexican Independence Day.”
 
After the fight, Miguel Cotto said, “Wow…(then directed his attention to Freddie Roach and said) Are you okay? That’s all that matters.”
 
In Cotto’s locker room after the fight, Roc Nation Sports founder JAY-Z said of Cotto’s performance, “Great fight” and Juan Perez, president of Roc Nation Sports said to Cotto, “We are proud of you.”
 
Freddie Roach, Miguel Cotto’s trainer, said after the fight in Cotto’s locker room, “We thought it was much closer than the score cards showed. It was a very competitive fight. Miguel’s defense was unbelievable.”
 
For the evening’s co-main event, Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas(23-0-1, 17 KOs) was crowned the new WBC Super Featherweight World Champion, retaining his undefeated status after securing a technical knockout in the ninth-round over Takashi Miura (29-3-2, 22 KOs).
 
“I’m the champ, I’m the champ!” said Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas. “This is a dream come true for me, something I have been fighting for my whole life. I knew Takashi was going to be a tough opponent, that’s why he is the champion, so I had to make sure I was prepared to face a fighter like him. I feel that my preparation paid off for this fight. I knew I had to be very aggressive, and I showed that in the first round so he knew that I would not be bullied. When I was knocked down in the fourth round, I felt even more motivated to win this fight. I made sure to fight the way I wanted, how I wanted and my style and now I’m the champion of the world! I hope all the fans enjoyed themselves tonight with my performance.”
 
Former WBA and WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0, 10 KOs) made his return to the ring for the first time after signing with Roc Nation Sports and secured the win against Drian Francisco (28-4-1, 22 KOs) in a 10-round super bantamweight fight. 
 
“I feel terrific after the fight,” said Guillermo Rigondeaux. “He threw heavy but his style has nothing on mine. My style outmatched his. It’s been 11 months since I’ve been in the ring and I definitely felt some cobwebs but I d like to see some other fighters be out 11 months and come back with a win. I definitely wanted to give the fans a better fight so I need to get back in to the gym, get more active to give a better performance. I promise that with the tools I have now after signing with Roc Nation that next time I’ll be explosive. Thank you to my team for helping me get this win.”
 
“Rigondeaux is not a fighter, he is a runner,” said Drian Francisco. “He is afraid of getting hurt and doesn’t want to fight. I felt pressured into being the aggressor during this fight because he wasn’t fighting, he was running away. He is not a power puncher and won by points. I trained really hard for this fight and I feel like it was a waste of time because I didn’t encounter a fighter tonight.”
 
Opening up the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast, Santa Ana, California’s Ronny Rios (25-1, 10 KOs) battled Jayson “Star” Velez (23-1-1, 16 KOs) of Junco, Puerto Rico for a hard-fought victory after 10-rounds to secure the WBC Silver Featherweight Title.

“I felt like I dictated the pace of the fight, and I felt like I was landing more power punches than him,” said Ronny Rios. “He did throw a few body shots at me that hurt but they weren’t significant enough for me to stop pressuring him and doing what I needed to do to secure this victory. He actually surprised me; I thought he was going to use the jab all night but he was definitely getting in the inside. This is a really big victory for me. I have a belt now, and I know that bigger things will come my way because of it.”

“I was expecting that to be a tough fight, but I did my job,” said Jayson “Star” Velez. “He had some good rounds, I had some good rounds. I think the deduction is what really got me. I did my job tonight but he was better at his job tonight.”
 
In preliminary undercard action, San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Alberto “El Explosivo” Machado (12-0, 9 KOs) faced Tyrone “Hands of Stone” Luckey (8-5-2, 6 KOs) of Long Branch, NJ in a six-round lightweight bout. Machado used his power to get a first-round knockdown
 
Puerto Rican favorite Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez (16-0, 11 KOs) held on to his undefeated status with a unanimous decision win over Oscar Mojica (8-1, 1 KO) of Dallas, TX in a six-round junior bantamweight fight.
 
“I’m proud of my team and myself,” said Jose “Chiquiro” Martinez.”I want to thank God and my family. This was a very tough fight, but I am just going to keep working to achieve more wins.”
 
Zhang “Big Bang” Zhilei (6-0, 3 KOs) of Zhengzhou, China, a Silver Medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, took on Juan Goode (6-3, 5 KOs) of Taylor, MI in a four-round heavyweight bout. Zhilei, an imposing figure, quickly took control of the ring and dominated the first two rounds. The taller Zhang came out landing hard straight left hands to the head of Juan Goode early on. Utilizing his superior height and reach, Zhang was able to effectively smother Goode’s attack for most of the fight until the final round. Goode was able to land a hard right hand in the fourth, which dropped Zhang, but Zhang rose to meet the count and managed to hold on to win a unanimous decision.
 
“I feel very good that I am still undefeated,” said Zhang “Big Bang” Zhilei. “I was careless during that knock down. I am going to keep fighting until I am a world champion.”
 
Opening up the card, San Antonio up-and-coming prospect Hector “El Finito” Tanajara (4-0, 3 KOs) took on Uruapan, Baja California, Mexico’s Jose Fabian Naranjo (3-2-1, 1 KO) in a four-round lightweight bout. Tanajara quickly dominated the pace of the fight with his aggressive attacks on Najaro and won the fight via first round knockout when Najaro couldn’t make the count.
 
“I am happy that I got to fight on the undercard of Cotto-Canelo, one of the biggest fights of the year,” said Hector “El Finito” Tanajara, Jr. “Because of this I knew I had to train for this fight and make sure I looked good in ring and today I accomplished it.  This is a win for Mexico and I hope I started the trend tonight, victories for Mexico, go Canelo.”

Fans in the Mandalay Bay Events Center were also treated to a special performance by Latin Grammy nominee Yandel prior to the main event, which also aired on the HBO Pay-Per-View broadcast. Las Vegas’s own DJ Franzen kept the raucous crowd entertained in between rounds spinning hits from the DJ booth.
 
Cotto vs. Canelo was a 12-round fight for the Cotto’s Ring Magazine and Lineal Middleweight World Championships that took place Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The fight was presented by Roc Nation Sports, Golden Boy Promotions, Miguel Cotto Promotions and Canelo Promotions and sponsored by Corona Extra; Mexico, Live it to Believe it!; O’Reilly Auto Parts; Tequila Cazadores and Corporate Travel Management Solutions (ctms). Also featured on the Pay-Per-View telecast was Takashi Miura vs. Francisco Vargas in a 12-round co-featured fight for the WBC Super Featherweight World Championship presented in association with Teiken Promotions; Guillermo Rigondeaux vs. Drian Francisco in a 10-round super bantamweight bout presented in association with Caribe Promotions; and Jayson Velez vs. Ronny Rios, a 10-round bout for the WBC Silver Featherweight championship, which opened the Pay-Per-View telecast. The event was produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
 
Also part of the preliminary undercard available on digital platforms was a four round heavyweight bout featuring 2008 Olympic Silver Medalist Zhang Zhilei who faced Juan Goode.
 
In addition to the great action inside the ring, the event featured a special live performance by 2015 Latin Grammy nominee Yandel. The performance was produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View after the second fight of the Pay-Per-View telecast.
 
For more information, visit www.rocnation.com, www.goldenboypromotions.com, www.promocionesmiguelcotto.com, www.canelopromotions.com.mx, www.hbo.com/boxing and www.mandalaybay.com; follow on Twitter at @RocNation, @GoldenBoyBoxing, @RealMiguelCotto, @Canelo, @HBOBoxing, and @MandalayBay; become a fan on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/RocNation, www.facebook.com/GoldenBoyBoxing, www.facebook.com/RealMiguelACotto, www.facebook.com/SaulCaneloAlvarez, www.facebook.com/HBOBoxing and www.facebook.com/MandalayBay; and follow on Instagram @rocnation, @GoldenBoyBoxing, @realmiguelacotto, @Canelo, @HBOboxing and @MandalayBay. Follow the conversation using #CottoCanelo.