Andre Ward-Carl Froch U.K. Press Conference Quotes/Photos – Super Six World Boxing Classic: The Final
August 23, 2011
LONDON, ENG – World Boxing Association (WBA) Super Middleweight Champion Andre Ward and World Boxing Council (WBC) Super Middleweight Champion Carl Froch kicked off a three-city international press tour today in the United Kingdom to formally announce The Final of the Super Six World Boxing Classic LIVE on SHOWTIME, Saturday, Oct. 29 at 10 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast) from the historic Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Ward and Froch, along with their respective promoters Dan Goossen and Eddie Hearn, and Ken Hershman, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports and creator of the Super Six World Boxing Classic, spoke to the media at Matchroom Sport headquarters, a sprawling estate in Essex, just outside London.
Less than 10 weeks out from the culmination of the groundbreaking two-year tournament, Sky Sports, BBC, and a host of other sports and mainstream media gathered to see England’s current No. 1 fighter face off against America’s last Olympic Gold Medalist in boxing and discuss their upcoming high stakes clash. Here’s what the men had to say:
“This is my first time back in England since 2001 when I fought with the U.S. team against the U.K. I get quite a bit of fan mail from here so I know not every Brit is against me.
“This is what we, as fighters, dream of. It’s what we fight for. This one is for all the marbles.
“When I started in this tournament everyone had questions about me. Everyone had doubts. Now, there are some people that say I’m the favorite, but I don’t feel that way. I still have that chip on my shoulder.
“We know why we’re here. I expected from the beginning to make it to The Final. And slowly but surely we made believers out of a lot of people that doubted me. But I would not call either one of us ‘great’, Carl nor I. That term is thrown around too loosely today. You have to earn that and that’s what I want to do, to earn that name ‘great.’ This is the kind of fight you have to fight and win in order to be considered ‘great.’”
“This has been a fantastic tournament by SHOWTIME Sports. Some have said that it has taken too long or that it’s been drawn out. But these fights that were made possible in the Super Six World Boxing Classic, with the six best guys out there, would not have happened had we not had the tournament.
“And The Final is what a top sport is all about; we have the two best fighters facing off for it all. That’s what this tournament has delivered.
“I have set myself up for 10 solid weeks of training. I’m solely focused on claiming this hardware and bringing it back to England where it will remain for a long, long time.
“I owe a big thanks to Eddie Hearn. I feel as though there’s been a weight lifted from my shoulders. He takes care of all the business and I am free to focus on the fight and prepare for Oct. 29.
“I have not been impressed with Andre and his level of opposition. Look at his record. He’s fought good fighters but not at the level where we are now. The only opponent that is up there on his record is Mikkel Kessler. And I watched that fight. I didn’t care for it, to be honest. I didn’t like that Mikkel had to travel with his title only to have Andre throwing his head around in there, causing the cuts and such.
“On Oct. 29, as long as it’s a clean, fair fight I am not worried about Ward. He has no power whatsoever. And his hand speed, sure it’s fast, but even he’ll tell you it’s not as fast as Andre Dirrell’s. And I handled Dirrell quite easily.”
Ward responded to these comments saying, “I’ve been in boxing for a long time, over 15 years; I know what he’s doing. He has to do this in his mind, he has to minimize me. Minimize my accomplishments and performances. And that’s ok. I understand. I’ll just remind him that we have a date set. Oct. 29, that will come soon enough and we’ll see.”
Ken Hershman of SHOWTIME Sports
“This is a spectacular setting for what we expect will be a spectacular fight.
“When we began the Super Six World Boxing Classic in 2009, we never could have imagined all the ups and downs that this tournament would produce. We expected a wild ride and what a ride it has been.
“Carl Froch and Andre Ward are the two best boxers in the super middleweight division. Ranked No. 1 and 2, I don’t think anyone disputes that; we have the right fighters in The Final.
“Whoever hoists the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup in the end will have accomplished something unprecedented in this sport. We are very proud to be here.”
Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport
“Today is a special day. Today represents Matchroom’s return to big-time boxing.
“This tournament has revolutionized the sport of boxing. It has taken out the politics of the sport that can hinder big fights and has left the best men in the division to square off.
“Through it all, we’ve ended up with the two best fighters set to compete in The Final.”
Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor Promotions
“The box office at the historic Boardwalk Hall is set to put tickets on sale this Friday. I’ve spoken to the box office manager and he told me that the pre-sale response for this event has been terrific. He said it is reminiscent of the Arturo Gatti days. And for those of you that know Gatti and his accomplishments, for us to get that reaction in New Jersey this early on is a great sign.
“The Super Six World Boxing Classic is one of the most innovative things to ever happen in boxing. This Cup and the road to get to The Final has raised the level of awareness not only for these guys sitting up here, but for the sport itself. And I’m proud to be part of it.
“As we said earlier, we have the two right fighters in The Final: one from Europe and one from America. Each man brings his championship belt. And both men, sure they can do their talking at these events and in the buildup to the fight, but most importantly they bring it in the ring. There are too many fighters today that can talk a great game but they can’t back it up. These guys can back it up and I can’t wait to see this fight.”
WBC SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT CHAMPION CARL FROCH, FORMER WORLD CHAMPION GLEN JOHNSON FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS
June 2, 2011
Photos by: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME
NEW YORK CITY — WBC Super Middleweight Champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch and former World Champion Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson and their respective camps held their final press conference Wednesday at the Edison Ballroom in New York City to discuss their Super Six World Boxing Classic Semifinal at the Adrian Phillips Ballroom at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City on Saturday, June 4 and televised LIVE on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the west coast).
Both fighters were respectful to each other, but they are predicting radically different outcomes of Saturday’s highly anticipated fight.
Froch feels he will dominate every round, while Johnson and his team feel that Froch is in way over his head with a lighter, faster Glen Johnson.
The following are quote highlights made by all the speakers on Wednesday:
Ken Hershman, Executive Vice President and General Manager SHOWTIME Sports:
“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Glen Johnson and Carl Froch in these Semifinals. They’re proud warriors who signify everything that’s great about this sport.
“FIGHT CAMP° 360, the latest episode that introduces everybody to this Semifinal will be airing all week on SHOWTIME Extreme, so plenty of opportunities to catch a great show. We’re also running a special 15-minute recap of Pacquiao/Mosley FIGHT CAMP 360° leading into Saturday night’s fight.
“We look at FIGHT CAMP 360° as exactly what it says: a 360 view, which includes post-fight; the good and the bad from both camps, and that’s what separates us from our competitors. You’ll see some really compelling footage that no one has ever seen before on that show.
“The Super Six has been a challenging roller coaster. As everyone knows, we’ve been through some ups and downs in this tournament, but one thing is certain: all the fights have been interesting and compelling, many of them more than compelling. … thrilling.
“We have whittled the field down from six to now three and after Saturday night it will be two. So, again, I think the tournament has served its purpose. It’s designed to keep attention on boxing and attention on these great champions throughout the entire 18 months to two years that this has been gong on. It’s certainly done that; in between fights; after fights; before fights. Lots of drama. Lots of politicking and drama out of the ring. There has also been a lot of great action in the ring, so we couldn’t be more thrilled.
“A goal of ours in boxing is to eliminate the idea that a loss is such a setback. And somehow you have to go back to the beginning of the process to rehabilitate yourself. If you’re fighting the best; if you’re fighting the caliber of fighters of Carl Froch and Mikkel Kessler and Glen Johnson and Andre Ward, you’re going to lose. That’s not an indictment of your skill set. It might not be your night, but you deserve the chance to come back and I think we’ve seen what a great champion Carl Froch is and his ability to come back and get right back in the title hunt and now he’s well-positioned to get into the finals.”
Lou DiBella, Event Co-Promoter of DiBella Entertainment:
“This tournament was a wonderful idea. Ken has gotten all the kudos for it and it’s deserved. It’s a great tribute to SHOWTIME Sports in how far they’ve come. SHOWTIME has become a well-rounded sports outfit and Ken and his team deserve all the credit.
“I have the utmost respect for Carl Froch, but remember, an old man showed us a few weeks ago what’s possible if there’s still some greatness left in his body. And there’s still some greatness in the man to my right (Johnson).
“I remember when I made the first call to Ken about Glen joining the tournament. Ken said there’s no way he can make 168. I said, if Glen says he can, he can and he weighed 167 the night of that fight and he weighs 167 now. My co-promoter Leon has been with him for years. I came in three or four years ago and it’s been a tremendous honor to promote “The Road Warrior”. He’s one of the most decent men I know.”
Leon Margules, Event Co-Promoter of Warriors Boxing:
“Thank you to Ken Hershman for allowing Glen this opportunity. Ken has given Glen two great opportunities: Chad Dawson at 175 and now Carl Froch to prove he’s the best 168.
“This is a tremendous event and this goes a long way towards getting boxing where it should be: seeing the best fight the best all the time. I have tremendous respect for Carl but if he thinks he’s fighting Arthur Abraham again, he’s wrong.
“I think Glen after you win this tournament, you should let each of us keep the Cup for a while.”
“We had a great training camp. Everything went well. We went through a lot of stuff we wanted to go through and we came out very successful.
“I have to thank SHOWTIME for considering me for the Super Six. When they heard the name Glen Johnson they could have said, ‘He’s an old guy and it might not go over very popularly,’ but they took a chance on me and I want to say thanks so much. I’m going to go out there and do everything to make you proud and not regret that decision.
“You have to respect a man who can go out there and become a two-time world champ. Every man does it their own way and he found a way. I give him respect.
At the end of the day, it’s a fight. I’m not about lip service or talk. That’s not what I do. I’m about boxing. I will wait for Saturday to finish the rest of the conversation.”
Orlando Cuellar, Johnson’s Trainer
“Carl, congratulations on winning the 168-pound world title, but there will be no finals for you. This will be your last run on Saturday night.
“Glen: you know what he brings. Glen has been there and done that and seen every style. He has beaten every style. No man has ever beaten up Glen Johnson and it won’t be happening in this next fight either. We know Carl’s strengths and we’ll get around those. We know his weaknesses and we’ll expose those. Carl has been in with good fighters, but now he’s in with one of the most successful fighters of the last 10 years.
“I wish Carl luck, but the winner will be Glen Johnson.”
“Glen Johnson’s trainer is delusional. He’s not only not going to win the fight; he’s not going to win a round. I’m too young and fresh. From round one to 12, I will dominate.
“I’m WBC champ and everybody talks about my one loss, against Mikkel Kessler, and 80 percent of the people don’t acknowledge it was a loss. The fight could have gone either way.
“That’s all behind me now I’ve redeemed myself. I’m the first man to out-box and outclass the top KO specialist Arthur Abraham. Nobody had ever put a beating on him.
“I’m getting tired of hearing about how many big fights I’m fighting in a row. That’s why I’m here. I don’t want to fight bums.”
Rob McCracken, Froch’s Trainer:
“I’m a man of few words. Training camp went very well. I know you have to say that, but I know it’s gone really well. He’s focused now. I know he wasn’t 100 percent focused at other fights, but he’s motivated again.
“He’s got a little son he has to take care of. You saw the real Carl Froch in his last fight (a dominant decision over Arthur Abraham). He was fantastic. He’ll be fantastic on Saturday too. Glen is a great road warrior but his journey is over.”
Eddie Hearn, Froch’s Promoter
“I think in any sport in the world, fans and media prefer to see the best fighting the best. Only America could produce a concept like this tournament. It’s been a breath of fresh air for boxing.
“A lot of you don’t know, but in the UK, Carl is one of the greatest fighters who has ever come out of the country. There’s never been a UK fighter fight so many big shows in a row like this.
“Carl Froch is a complete warrior. There’s no person in the world I would rather send into war than Carl Froch.
“Glen has shown us respect, but Carl Froch is on the verge of creating a great legacy in British sports when he wins Saturday and then goes on to fight Andre Ward. We aren’t looking past Glen but we’re all very proud of Carl and we know he’ll do his business on Saturday night and put on a great show.”
Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson is presented by DiBella Entertainment and Warriors Boxing, in association with Matchroom Sports and Caesars Atlantic City.
Shark Fights 15 Final Results and Main Event Photos
May 30, 2011
Joey Villaseñor vs Chris Camozzi - DRAW - 29/28, 28/29, 29/29
Dave Branch def Jeremy May – Referee Stoppage, Rd 3 @ 3:19
Fredrico Lopez def Bobby Huron – Unanimous Decision – 30/27, 30/27, 30,27
Artenas Young def Kyle Bracey – Referee Stopage, Rd 1 @ 4:04
Frank Gomez def Tim Snyder – Tapout (Rear Naked Choke), Rd 1 @ 3:19
Lionel Lanham def Eric McElroy – Referee Stopage, Rd 1 @ 0:14
Russell Wilson def Robbie Gutierrez – SPLIT DECISION – 29/28, 28/29, 29/28
Frederico Crosby def Kasey Yates – Referee Stopage, Rd 1 @ 1:11
Adam Gonzales def Zac Hynes – Tapout (North/South Choke), Rd 1 @ 2:48
Edgar Lopez def Derek Perez – Referee Stopage, Rd 1 @ 2:22
Randy Ray Sanchez def Armando Mendiblez – SPLIT DECISION – 30/27, 28/29, 30/27
ANDRE WARD ADVANCES TO SUPER SIX WORLD BOXING CLASSIC FINAL WITH DOMINATING DECISION OVER ARTHUR ABRAHAM
May 15, 2011
Photos by: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME
CARSON, Calif. – Undefeated World Boxing Association (WBA) champion Andre Ward moved one win away from claiming the ground-breaking inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup with a convincing 12-round unanimous decision over “King” Arthur Abraham at The Home Depot Center Saturday on SHOWTIME.
Ward (24-0, 13 KOs) will face the winner of the June 4 Super Six Semifinal on SHOWTIME between World Boxing Council (WBC) super middleweight champion Carl “The Cobra” Froch (27-1, 20 KOs) and former world champion Glen “The Road Warrior” Johnson (51-14-2, 35 KOs) of Miami, Fla., for the right to fight for the Super Six title and 168-pound world supremacy sometime in the fall.
Fighting outside the comfortable confines of Oakland, Calif., for the first time in 20 months spanning three fights, Ward defended his WBA belt for the third time in what SHOWTIME expert analyst Al Bernstein called one of Ward’s “most complete wins he’s ever had in his career.”
Judge Stanley Christodoulou scored every round to Ward (120-108) while German judge Ingo Barrabas had it (118-110) and Dr. James Jen Kin had Ward winning, 118-111.
A boisterous crowd cheered both for the Californian Ward and Abraham, backed by hundreds of loud Armenian fans from Southern California. “Arthur Abraham was strong and very determined,” Ward said. “He had passionate fans and he didn’t want to lose in front of them. I’m going to stay humble and keep working hard. I want to be champion for a long time and take the least amount of punishment possible.”
Abraham (32-2, 26 KOs), of Berlin, Germany, by way of Armenia, lost for the third straight time but vowed after the fight that he would remain in the talent-rich super middleweight division.
“I started well and thought I was doing OK for the first three rounds,” said Abraham, the former International Boxing Federation (IBF) middleweight world champion. “He never hurt me and I was blocking all his punches. But then I cramped up when I was trying for the knockout and I couldn’t do it.
“I gave it my all and fought really hard and will stay at super middleweight.”
Ward seemed to get stronger and stronger as the fight went on while Abraham looked visibly tired towards the end of the fight, absorbing Ward’s hard body shots and a variety of assorted jabs and uppercuts.
“My trainer says that I’m the type of fighter to make adjustments and that’s what I did,” said Ward, who threw 289 jabs during the fight, landing 178 of his 444 total punches. “I wish the refs would have let me fight on the inside – that’s what we trained for. But we made adjustments and got the victory. After a hard hit, I would go back to my corner and I would do two things: I would listen to my corner and talk to myself and I would say, ‘Bite down and fight back.’ “
Ward will be intently watching on June 4 in Atlantic City, N.J. “I’ll fight Johnson or Froch, but I think the public wants to see Froch-Ward,” he said.
In a non-televised undercard fight, heavyweight world contender and popular Southern California slugger
Chris Arreola turned in an impressive performance against Nagy Aguilera, stopping him in the third round.
The event was co-promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Antonio Leonard Productions and Sauerland Event and sponsored by Corona.
BOGERE DEFEATS BELTRAN IN BLOODY SHOBOX MAIN EVENT
May 14, 2011
Photo credit: Rich J. Hundley III/SHOWTIME
PRIMM, Nev. – Up-and-coming lightweight prospect Sharif “The Lion” Bogere fought to a close – and bloody – unanimous decision victory over Ray Beltran by the scores of 97-93 and 96-94 twice from Buffalo Bill’s Star of the Desert Arena in Primm, Nev. In the co-feature, top American heavyweight prospect Seth “Mayhem” Mitchell knocked out Evans Quinn at 2:38 of the first round on ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME.
Bogere (20-0, 12 KOs) of Las Vegas, Nev., and Beltran (24-5, 16 KOs) of North Hollywood, Calif., battled for ten blood-filled rounds before the judges declared Bogere the winner. Bogere had the momentum early as both men established their game plans. Beltran kept heavy pressure – and his weight – on Bogere to tire out the younger fighter and prevent him from getting into a rhythm. Bogere used his speed and volume punching to make his mark through the first several rounds.
Head butts dominated a large portion of the fight with Beltran suffering from a cut just above his left eyebrow in the third before returning the favor just below Bogere’s left eyebrow in the fourth. Both men punched, landed and bled in the middle of the ring for most of the fifth before Beltran landed some hard lefts to finish the round with the upper hand.
Beltran’s plan to take Bogere into deep water seemed to be coming together by the eighth, as the pressure seemed to be affecting the Las Vegas resident. Beltran rocked him with a big left uppercut and a short left that forced Bogere to lunge in an attempt to hold before eventually hitting the canvas. It was not ruled as a knockdown. Later in the eighth, Beltran slipped while trying to land a homerun punch.
One last cut-causing butt reared its ugly head in the ninth as blood poured from Beltran’s hairline. Despite the crimson streaked faces of each fighter, the two men battled until the final bell of a fantastically close fight that thoroughly pleased the crowd.
In the telecast’s first bout, Mitchell (22-0-1, 16 KOs) of Bradywine, Md., steamrolled over a completely apathetic Quinn (20-6-1, 18 KOs) of Bluefields, Nicaragua, in the scheduled 10-round heavyweight affair that didn’t go much past the first bell. Mitchell began the bout by popping his jab through Quinn’s lax guard. Quinn responded with a few flurries of wild punches, but Mitchell was unfazed and continued to pressure the Nicaraguan.
As the round entered the final minute, Mitchell connected with some hard shots including a left to Quinn’s head that was followed by some body blows and one last right that caused Quinn to drop to his knees. Referee Joe Cortez counted to 10 as Quinn looked up and shook his head to confirm that he would not continue.
After the fight, Mitchell commented, “He couldn’t handle my power. He couldn’t handle it.”
The card was presented by Golden Boy Promotions and sponsored by Corona and DeWalt Tools. The telecast will replay on Thursday, May 19 at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME Extreme and be available On Demand from May 16 through May 29.
Curt Menefee called the action from ringside with Steve Farhood serving as expert analyst. The executive producer of ShoBox is Gordon Hall with Richard Gaughan producing and Rick Phillips directing.
ANDRE WARD & ARTHUR ABRAHAM SUPER SIX WORLD BOXING CLASSIC SEMIFINALS FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES & PHOTOS
May 13, 2011
Photo Credit: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME
BURBANK, CALIF. – The final press conference for the kickoff of the Semifinals of the Super Six World Boxing Classic turned tense on Wednesday at Arnie Morton’s The Steakhouse in Burbank, Calif., just three days before tournament favorite Andre Ward defends his WBA super middleweight title against former world champion Arthur Abraham, LIVE on SHOWTIME (10 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
In a detailed and lengthy speech, Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, told Abraham that his trainer and promoters are displaying a lack of confidence in him to win on Saturday by demanding neutral judges and officials for the Semifinal showdown. Abraham’s promoter responded that they were trying to protect their fighter and claimed that the referee in the Ward-Mikkel Kessler Group Stage 1 bout did not fairly officiate the match.
The Ward-Abraham winner advances to the tournament Final against the winner of the Carl Froch-Glen Johnson Semifinals showdown. The tournament champion earns the inaugural Super Six World Boxing Classic Cup and global recognition as the world’s No. 1 168-pound fighter.
The 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist, Ward (23-0, 13 KOs), of Oakland, Calif., has emerged as the tournament favorite after impressive triumphs in Group Stage bouts over Kessler and Allan Green, as well as Sakio Bika.
Abraham (32-2, 26 KOs) entered the Super Six as a favorite alongside Kessler. But after emerging from Group Stage 1 as the points leader with a knockout over Jermain Taylor, he is now trying to bounce back from consecutive tournament losses to Andre Dirrell and Froch in Group Stages 2 and 3, respectively.
In a non-televised undercard fight, heavyweight world contender and popular Southern California slugger Chris Arreola will try to stay on track for another opportunity of a world championship when he takes on Nagy Aguilera.
The event is co-promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Antonio Leonard Productions and Sauerland Event and sponsored by Corona.
What the participants had to say on Wednesday:
“I’m born and raised here in America and I don’t talk that much. I think everyone in this room understands that. There’s not much else to say. I’ve prepared the way I’m supposed to prepare, the way a champion is supposed to prepare.
“I respect Arthur Abraham, it’s going to be a tough fight. I want to be a great fighter, but I’m not there yet. These are the kind of fights that you have to take and you have to win to be a great fighter.
“I won’t hear the crowd, I won’t hear anybody on Saturday night. I’m locked in. I’m here to defend my belt and to keep my belt right here in America.”
“My first goal is to win and I know winning in this sport takes care of a lot of problems.
“Sugar Ray Leonard came from a totally different time. Fighting on the network that he fought on, having Howard Cosell, it was just a totally different ballgame. Oscar De La Hoya had the Hispanic community and different things like that, so you have to look at those situations because I’m in a different time. It might be a little bit harder to get the exposure and the just due.”
“At the end of the day, the way my father raised me was to put my nose down to the grindstone and keep working and allow God to open those doors in due season. So I’ve never begged for it and I’ve never demanded it. I just have to understand that I have to keep working and it will come. “
“I appreciate everyone who attends the fights, but it comes down to going home and kissing my wife and kids, keeping my title and moving on with my career. But with that being said, I think I take the risks I’m supposed to take. I think I do what I’m supposed to, but if you get enough people saying one thing, people start to believe it. I think my fight with Kessler was a very entertaining fight but it’s not me taking punishment so people think it’s not entertaining. From a little boy, I was never taught to get the best bout trophy, I was always taught to get the best fighter of the night. That’s the way it is because whoever I am when my career is said and done, nobody’s going home with me.”
“My coach has always taught me from day one, he’s always wanted me to be a master and masters are able to fight into their late 30s and early 40s like Bernard Hopkins and Glen Johnson. I’m just going to continue to naturally evolve and I hope everyone enjoys my fights. But, ultimately, it’s about winning in this sport. “
“I don’t have to speak much. We just want to perform in the ring and we don’t have to do much talking. We’re here to win in the ring.
“Of course my trainer and my promoter respect me. There’s no question of that. In Europe, we don’t talk very much. I’m here to win.
“I have a lot of respect for Andre Ward. He’s a technically sound boxer. But that talk doesn’t matter when we get in the ring on Saturday. I’m here to win and I’m here to destroy him.
“I’m very happy to be part of this tournament. This tournament started well for me and it will end well.
“I had to make some adjustments to my style for moving from middleweight to super middleweight and then we had to make some more after the losses. We have made the necessary adjustments.”
DAN GOOSSEN, Ward’s Promoter:
“I really do believe in the concept of this tournament and think it’s terrific. We’ve had some challenges getting to this point but I really feel it’s the best thing for this sport because you have the best fighters fighting the best on a continual basis. Because of that, there is no need to sit there and think anything other than that it’s great for our sport.”
WILFRIED SAUERLAND, Abraham’s promoter):
“We liked the idea of the tournament when we first heard about it. There have been some issues but it’s still a good idea because it brings together the best in the division. And it’s still not finished.
“There has been a lot of uproar about us asking for a new referee but that was in the contract – a contract is a contract.
“Virgil, we asked for a neutral referee because the referee in the Ward-Kessler fight gave a very bad performance.
“Dan complained that Andre had to travel 500 miles for this fight. Arthur has travelled over 40,000 miles for this tournament.”
“Dan is a good host and we have a good understanding. We look after him in Germany and he looks after us here.”
VIRGIL HUNTER, Ward’s Trainer:
“I’ve been appalled as some of the things that have happened to this point. If Andre wasn’t perceived as a threat, I don’t believe we would have ever heard complaints about the referees like we have. Andre Ward still to this point has not gotten the recognition that he deserves.
“Arthur, this is to you: By complaining about the officials, your promoters are saying they have lost confidence in you. Don’t let anyone speak to you about the officials. Your promoters have lost confidence in you. It’s as simple as that.”
JAMES PRINCE, Ward’s Manager:
“We have respect for Arthur Abraham and his accomplishments in boxing, but come Saturday it’s going to get real hot in the ring. You were a great fighter at 160 pounds but I feel like your advisors have tricked you into placing you into a different weight division where you don’t belong. I want to extend my warmest hospitality and welcome you to the States, but that’s where it ends.”
ULLI WEGNER, Abraham’s trainer:
“I’m really looking forward to seeing an exciting fight on Saturday night.
“I know it will be a very difficult fight for us and I’m hoping that the better man will win.
“I hope that we have a fair fight and we put on a good fight for the fans.
“Now we’re done with the talking and we’re ready to get inside the ring.”
CHRIS DeBLASIO, SHOWTIME Director of Communications
“The Super Six World Boxing Classic has been dramatic and competitive as much as it’s been contentious and compelling both inside and outside the ring since this tournament was announced in July of 2009. The results of which have made the Fight Camp 360 program: Inside the Super Six World Boxing Classic can’t-miss television for sports fans. The SHOWTIME sports documentary series has revealed the business of boxing, the personalities in this tournament and of course the tournament fight themselves like no other show has ever done on television before and we’re very proud of that.”
“I cannot overlook Nagy Aguilera. This man is a tough fighter. I’m in this shape for him, to fight him. Not to look at two or three fights from now. My main motivation right now is him. Every fighter I’ve ever boxed I’ve respected and now I’m respecting boxing, the sport I love.
“I would love to see this type of tournament for the heavyweights. I don’t think it would ever happen but it would be a great thing.
“I’m a Ward guy, always have been. I try to emulate him. Not only his fighting but his training and that he works so hard. I think he’s the best American fighter right now. And I’m No. 2, but I think Ward by far is the best.”
“It’s a difficult opponent for me, especially coming off of a loss. But this time I’m focused and I’m training hard.
“Arreola said that boxing is his wife. Well, boxing is my life. I had a lot of problems in my fight against Antonio (Tarver) and now I’m just focused and ready to win.
“My training went well. We’ve been preparing for eight weeks.”
Pat Bennett Aiming to Halt Guram’s Hype-Train at M-1 Challenge XXVI
May 11, 2011
Standing on the brink of greatness, ready to cement himself as a crowd-shocking phenomenon at M-1 Challenge XXVI, decorated American wrestler, Pat Bennett will stand opposite monster Georgian powerhouse and reigning Heavyweight Champion, Guram Gugenishvili on July 8th; dethroning Guram in the evening’s main event would catapult Bennett on to the radar of MMA fans around the world.
But there is a reason why Guram stands as the sports #1-ranked heavyweight prospect and the New Jersey native and Team Bombsquad fighter needs to deliver a career performance to make his championship dream a reality. Any mistakes and Bennett will be put to sleep and thrown into the deep list of those who have previously fallen in Guram’s devastating wake
Bennett sports an established 7-2 combined amateur and professional mixed martial arts record heavily weighted in the ‘win’ column with five first-round TKO’s. Although known for his proud wrestling pedigree, Bennett has thus proven he is a multidimensional fighter able to transition his skills to whatever is set in front of him; he’ll need his full arsenal in the face of Guram and isn’t shying away from the champ in any respect. “It’s no surprise that Guram is rated as high as he is. On one side he hasn’t gone more than 10 minutes, on the other side there is a reason for that. However my camp and I are very dedicated to bringing home the belt and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish this task. As far as Guram is concerned, I hope he packs a lunch because July 8th is going to be a long day.”
As a key member of the Team Bombsquad contingent, Bennett’s manager, Ryan Ciotoli, has nothing but praise for the heavyweight’s performances to date. “Pat’s a three time All-American wrestler, so he possesses a great base and he’s an electrifying striker; hence the reason for his five first round wins. I definitely consider Bennett to be the top contender in the heavyweight division.”
Bennett had recently set his wrestling on the back burner in favour of striking throughout his 2010 M-1 Selection Americas tournament run, displaying a wide array of talents. Opening up the brackets against Nick Smiley, the mild-mannered monster needed a total of 37 seconds to destroy Smiley by TKO and leave him in the ring busted and bloodied. His semi-final bout was a marathon war with Mehdi Hassan where he earned a unanimous decision victory. The run was halted in the finals however as Bennett fell victim to Kenny ‘Deuce’ Garner’s lead left hook; unable to answer Garner’s striking, Bennett notched the second loss of his career via TKO at the midway point of the opening frame.
Bennett’s first trip to M-1’s larger, international stage was in December at M-1 Challenge XXII where he faced Alexander Volkov; the staunch American went back to his decorated base with a game plan to exploit the stylistic mismatch; defend the striking, set-up takedowns and demolish Volkov on the ground. Bennett did exactly this for four full rounds with precision execution. Although the initial decision was shrouded in controversy, an independent panel of judges rightfully scored the bout in Bennett’s favour.
The heavyweight title fight against Guram will likely send Bennett back to his fundamental and highly decorated base. “I’m a dominant wrestler and seemed to have gotten away from what I do best,” says Bennett. “I’ve watched Guram’s videos. I know a lot about him and his weaknesses. Stylistically this is a great match-up and I know what I have to do to be successful.”
At 6’ 3”, 240 pounds, Bennett has heavy hands that deliver unforgiving power; if he connects with his overhand right, there is a real possibility to see Guram fall. But Bennett will have to successfully defend takedown attempts and push the pace as he sees fit while being cautiously aware of Guram’s strength. These monsters matchup extremely well: both possesses strong wrestling bases, are incredibly strong and are mirror images physically, the only difference in their builds is a two-inch height advantage and 10 pounds in favour of the champ.
With the American crowd in his corner on July 8th, Bennett controls his own destiny as the underdog in the biggest fight of his career, intent to dethrone the world’s #1 ranked heavyweight prospect and build some much deserved clout of his own. “First and foremost it is always a pleasure to fight under the M-1 banner and I can’t wait for this fight. This opportunity means the world to me and my family on so many levels and I take my career very seriously.”
With M-1 Challenge champions established in all five weight classes, a true contenders system will fuel events throughout 2011, driving M-1 Global’s growth as a leading brand in the US and international markets.
2011’s full slate of M-1 Challenge events held in the United States and Europe are primed to be mega-event spectaculars where Champions defend their titles and contenders jockey for position for a coveted shot at the gold. Feeding the contention system will be two Selection tournaments in 2011 with details being announced shortly.
Rebel Fighter: Explosive
April 29, 2011
Photo Credit- Conrad Melendez
SUPER SIX WORLD BOXING CLASSIC SEMIFINALISTS & WBA WORLD CHAMP ANDRE WARD OAKLAND MEDIA DAY QUOTES & PHOTOS
Photo Credit: Laura de la Torre / Goossen Tutor Promotions
OAKLAND, CALIF. – Super Six World Boxing Classic Semifinalists and WBA 168-pound champion Andre Ward hosted a media day and workout with his trainer Virgil Hunter and promoter Dan Goossen on Thursday in Ward’s hometown of Oakland as he gets ready for his Semifinals showdown against Arthur Abraham on Saturday, May 14 at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., live on SHOWTIME.
Ward will defend his WBA Super Middleweight title against the European superstar and former world champion to kick off the Semifinals of the groundbreaking tournament. The Ward-Abraham winner advances to the tournament Finals against the winner of the Carl Froch-Glen Johnson Semifinals showdown. The winner earns instant bragging rights as the world’s No. 1 168-pound fighter.
The talented Ward (23-0, 13 KOs), of Oakland, Calif., has emerged as the tournament favorite after impressive triumphs in Group Stage bouts over Mikkel Kessler and Allan Green, as well as Sakio Bika.
The event is co-promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions, Antonio Leonard Productions and Sauerland Event and sponsored by Corona.
Tickets are available for as low as $25, with VIP floor seats priced at $200. Other tickets in the 8,000-seat outdoor stadium at The Home Depot Center are available at $50 and $100. Fans can purchase tickets at all Ticketmaster outlets and online at www.Ticketmaster.com as well as The Home Depot Center Box Office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.). Groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets by calling 1-877-234-8425.
In a non-televised undercard bout, heavyweight world contender and popular Southern California slugger Chris Arreola will try to stay on track for another opportunity of a world championship when he takes on Nagy Aguilera.
What Ward and Goossen had to say on Thursday:
In reference to Sauerland’s statement that the Ward-Abraham fight is in jeopardy:
WARD: “It’s news to me yesterday. That’s why I have my promoter with me today and I am sure that it is all going to get worked out. There will be a fight. There’s definitely going to be a fight. No fight, nobody makes any money. So I think they’ll get it worked out.”
On his belief that the original plan of neutral officials and judges will take place:
WARD: “Absolutely. “Dan has said it many times and I have said many times. I know people think that I have some dealing behind the scenes, setting everything up where it’s just right for Andre Ward but I have nothing to say about that, I have no say in that. That is why I have a promoter. That’s the promoter’s job to negotiate and deal and do whatever they are going to do. There should be fair judges, they’ll get it worked out.”
“If there were no California Officials Andre wouldn’t say anything. All we want is to get out there and fight. Even fighting at home, it’s never been a situation where Andre has said we have to fight at home. After the Kessler fight Green wanted to fight out here because he made a lot of money. Bika was the same situation; he made a lot of money fighting out here. These other guys didn’t have any homes so it wasn’t to protect Andre Ward and keep him at close quarters; it was just the way the situation evolved.
“In other words, we have done everything that we are supposed to do and lived up to and that is what we will continue to do. Now it’s just up to Sauerland and the Commission to work it out and that’s final.”
Ward on the Sauerland situation:
WARD: “They made a comment saying that King Arthur has no problem with coming into my backyard, and they should know that my backyard is about 5 to 6 hours away from Carson, California. Let’s not make Arthur Abraham out to be the hero where he is doing us the favor because he is coming here. They are allowing Arthur Abraham to come to this venue for a specific reason and I think we all know what that is – the Armenia population. They feel like they will have the advantage there and then it’s about the money. So they are not doing us the favor. This is a co-promotion; this is something that they’ve agreed to. There were other venues available on the east coast. I was excited about going there to Atlantic City, possibly Portland and a few others. So it didn’t have to be California, they wanted it to be here just as much as my side did.”
On Andre’s apparent willingness to fight globally judging from his Olympic days and his past fight record)
WARD: “People have to talk about something on the website and blogs. Me fighting at home is something that people continue to talk about , it’s not something I really pay a lot of attention to because I know how I got to this point and it certainly wasn’t fighting in Oakland. I have only had 4 fights out of 26/27 in Oakland and let’s not even talk about my amateur career. I am well schooled with fighting on the road, but again I think it was an awesome thing to be able to fight at home and we are looking to come back home and even make it bigger than it has been.”
On not changes his gameplan and the expectations for him to succeed:
WARD: “Absolutely. I have to stay like that because there is a lot of talk about what Arthur has left. Either they say his back is against the wall and he’s hungry so look out or they say this is going to be just a fight where that Ward is going to walk through him. I can’t believe that, I can’t believe either way. I have to prepare for each fight the same way, very methodically, mentally. I am expecting the best out of Abraham come May 14.”
On what Arthur Abraham will look like on May 14 and the problems he represents:
WARD: “The problems he represents remains to be seen, but his strengths are he believes in his punching power. They call him a puncher, they say that he hits hard and that he is physically very strong, but I believe that my physical strength is right up there with the best ever and I think he will see and notice that I hit a lot harder than what people perceive me to be. With that being said, it’s going to be the same Arthur Abraham, in terms of stylistically – he’s going to cover up and maybe open up a little bit earlier, but he is going to look for that one big shot, that’s what he does.”
On whether Arthur Abraham is similar to any other opponent that Ward has faced:
WARD: “Not really, but in terms of just being a big puncher and believing in his power, I can liken him to Edison Miranda. Not defensively, but in terms of looking for that one big shot all night long. He is probably the main guy that I can compare him to.”
On how Ward plans to approach Abraham knowing that he is waiting for an opening:
WARD: “We do what we gotta do. We don’t get caught up in his game. I know that if he lands a shot on me, I believe that I can take it.
“Also, we have been working for the last several months to not let him land anything, so we don’t change anything. We got the right sparring partners in here who fight as similar as they possibly can to Arthur Abrahams’ style. They’re wild, strong and coming and I am doing what I got to do to prepare for this kind of fight.”
On the probability of Ward not fighting the same way he fought his fights against Bika and Green:
WARD: “I don’t know. I think that you are going to see a little bit of everything. I have said that the last two fights because that is just my style. My style is adapting and doing what the other opponent doesn’t believe that I am going to do. We don’t have a fear factor in our camp where we’re going to be running away from Arthur Abraham, that’s not the case. He’s a 168 pound man and so am I. He’s a former world champion and I am the current world champion. He wants to get a world title again and I want to defend my title. I am going to conduct myself accordingly. So, in other worlds, I am going to be myself and do what I gotta do.”
Upon being asked if he is just as hungry to keep his championship status:
WARD: “I believe so. It’s just kind of the way I am wired. I love to win and I know that you just can’t love to win; you have to do what it takes in preparation to win. Unless I have done all that I can do, leaving my family, sacrificing, putting in the physical work and doing the mental work exercises – just everything that it takes to get ready for a championship fight. When we get out there we do what we do and we have fun and we let the chips fall where they fall.”
On his champion status and putting in the work to stay a champion:
WARD: “We don’t really have a championship training camp, I am not the center of attention here. My coach doesn’t pat me on the back everyday that I come in and tell me how great I am. You would think that I was still a young guy coming up in terms of preparation. Mentally and physically, if you listen to some of the things we talk about while doing the mitts and the drill you would think, ‘man, give this guy a little credit.’ But my coach is always asking for more and pushing me because he knows and he wants me to be a great fighter someday and in order to do that I can’t settle for just being good. This is always a camp where we are pushing, reaching and trying to do better.”
On ways he can improve:
WARD: “It’s hard to pinpoint one thing. I don’t like to pinpoint one thing because there are people reading these articles that I could possibly fight one day, but there is always something to work on whether it’s small, big, maybe something mental. There is just always something and that is something that Virg (trainer Virgil Hunter) is awesome at – he pinpoints it, he sees it, and he knows how to push that button to get me motivated in that area.”
On not getting complacent:
“That is the least of my worries. If anything, Virg is always pulling me back saying, ‘That’s enough. We still got three weeks left, we still got two weeks left. Hey, we’re not going to leave it all in the road or we’re not going to leave it all in the gym.’ He just wants me to continue to grow and not settle being a good fighter. I don’t feel like I am at my best, I feel like I am approaching my prime.”
On Abraham’s last two losses being a blue print for Ward:
WARD: “I think it is going to be similar in some ways but I think it’s going to have my own flair and my own special touch to it. I think Froch did an awesome job, I think Dirrell did an awesome job and believe that I am going to do an awesome job, but I am just going to do it my way. The way Froch and Dirrell did it is definitely a foundation and something to look at, study it and say this is somewhere to start.”
On the expecting the best out of Arthur Abraham:
WARD: “The only problem with that is that it’s a 12 round fight. If he tries that we have to have an answer, if he lays back and waits we have to have an answer, so when you have seven or eight weeks to sit down and prepare you’re supposed to go over every possibly scenario. But then it comes to a point where it’s not about what he’s going to do, it’s about what we’re going to do. That’s when the mind set shifts and two-and-a-half weeks before the fight is where I am at right now. It’s not about what Arthur is going to do or how many fans will be there in the arena. I am going to be mentally locked in. I wont hear anything that night. That’s all I am focused on.”
When asked if he is winding down since it is two weeks before the fight:
WARD: “Not quite yet, we’re still working hard. We have to be careful not to just leave it on the road and want to push harder when you run or push harder in the gym. You just have to really be sensitive and that’s why it’s awesome to have a coach that not only knows boxing but knows you, and Virg knows me extremely well. You know, there are days I get up mad and I am ready to push and he says we’re not doing that this morning, just meet me at the gym at this time. And those are the types of things that he brings to the camp and really allows me to peak at the right time.”
On the Andre Ward-Sugar Ray Leonard comparison:
WARD: “I appreciate the comparison but I feel that I got a lot of work to do to be in that company. I got a lot of work to do but I appreciate even the smallest comparison.”
On being able to adjust during a fight:
WARD: “That’s something that’s really evolving in my game is adjusting on the fly. We like game plans, but I am not really a game plan type of guy. We’ll have a general game plan but at the same time things happen so fast in a fight and you have to make split-second decisions and Virg allows me to make those decisions. I can give you an example: the Allen Green fight. We weren’t going to fight that type of fight that soon, it just happened. That was a fight that was going to happen on the other side of six but it happened starting in the second round. I thought, ‘Man, he’s letting me do this to him inside.’ So I stayed there and Virg adjusted and said, ‘If you are going to be there, this is what I need you to do.’ So, yeah that is something that is evolving as well is the ability to adjust.”
On the heavy Armenian population and the possibility of being the one that is booed on May 14:
WARD: “Just buy a ticket and tune in. It’s all good. Just buy a ticket. Tune in, that’s all we are concerned about. I could be but I feel like there will be a lot of Bay Area people in the house. I got fans in Southern California. I think it could be even. His fans could be there but I am going to be mentally locked in.”
About Virgil not taking it soft on Andre:
WARD: “It’s never been like that. I don’t think he knows how to do that and sometimes it can get to you. You know, we have our moments but that’s to be expected. At the end of the day it’s always love and we always understand each other, but you know, trust me, we have our moments in there where I am saying, ‘Hey Man, listen. What now?’ And he’ll tell me, ‘You can be one of the greatest fighters who ever did this and I am going to get that out of you.’ So I have to respect that and honor that.”
If Andre is trying to get Abraham on the defensive?
WARD: “Absolutely. The key is to remind him of all those fights that he had and all the ways that he felt after. He really didn’t believe that he put on a bad performance against Dirrell because of the way that it ended. He felt that that he was coming on and that Dirrell quit. Carl Froch, he couldn’t deny that. My job is to remind him of the Carl Froch fight as soon as possible. We’re gonna set the tone. We’re going to be smart about it and set the tone.”
On his power:
WARD: “Some guys talk about my power or lack of power before the fight but if you look at the top guys that I fought from Miranda on out, none of these guys have said anything after the fight and I think that is key because they were able to get in there and feel it for themselves.”
On his inclusion in the top 10 pound-for-pound Ring list:
WARD: “Unbelievable. I don’t have time to get caught up in it at the moment, but that’s just unbelievable. I’ve looked at that list for years and years and years and years and wanted to be at the very top of it. To be No. 10 is awesome and I thank everyone for their votes. Some people think that I shouldn’t be on there, some people believe I should. I just want to continue to work hard and show that I am worthy to be on there. It’s about putting in the work. It always goes back to Kobe, Kobe Bryant.”
WARD: “I love sports but what I watch, I like to watch the best and I like to watch their mindset when they’re winning, when they’re down. I just wan to follow these guys, I want to watch them and I want to read them. I have watched Kobe for many, many years. People say what they want to about him but the guy is a beast. He’s a competitor. The only time you see him smile is when his team has secured a victory and there’s about two or three minutes left or maybe a minute left and they’re up by 15 and the game is over. This guy has plenty of credentials, he’s got plenty of honor, plenty of rings, but he’s still got something to prove and I liken myself to him in that respect.
“It’s just something that, I don’t know if you’re born with it, I don’t know if you can teach it but I have always been like this. I want to win. I like to win. That’s my mind set. I don’t know if you can teach it, it’s just in me. I don’t believe that I am the most talented guy. Although, I have been boxing since I was 9 years old and there are thing that I can do in my sleep. Personally, I don’t feel like I am a Floyd Mayweather type that could do certain things without even trying. I feel like I work hard to accomplish certain things and I am always working on the basics. I just don’t want to be out worked. I do know that God has given me some internal attributes and I just want to tell him thank you by working hard everyday and giving it all I got.”
Darchinyan Vs. Perez Weigh-In Photos
April 23, 2011
Photos: Tom Casino / SHOWTIME
Two-division world champion Vic “Raging Bull” Darchinyan and former International Boxing Federation (IBF) bantamweight champion Yonnhy “El Colombiano” Perez both made weight one day before their main-event meeting on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING this Saturday, April 23, live on SHOWTIME (10:30 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast) from Nokia Theatre L.A. LIVE.
Darchinyan (35-3-1, 27 KOs), of Sydney, Australia, by way of Vanadzok, Armenia, weighed in at 117.8 pounds and former IBF bantamweight champion Perez (20-1-1, 14 KOs), of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., by way of Cartagena, Colombia, tipped the scales at 117.6 pounds at the LA Live JW Marriott. Both will clash in the 12-round main event.