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Andre Ward TKO's Sergey Kovalev in light heavyweight boxing world championship

24 Juin 2017

American boxer Andre Ward kept his IBF (International Boxing Federation), WBA (World Boxing Association) and WBO (World Boxing Organisation) titles by stopping Russian brawler Sergey Kovalev in the eighth round of their light heavyweight rematch on Saturday.

As expected Andre Ward was all smiles and thanked God for the victory while Sergey Kovalev took exception to the low blows that ultimately decided the outcome of the fight.

But no it was Ward who was the more aggressive and stronger fighter on this night and he began to go to work on Kovalev's body early in the fight and began to break him down.

While the judges verdict divides opinion, Ward was confident he'd get the nod but fully aware that the fight was close especially facing a deficit from the knockdown.

A badly beaten Kovalev (30-2-1, 26 KOs) slouched over in pain and stopped defending himself, which left referee Tony Weeks no choice but to jump in and stop the fight without a count, with Kovalev still on his feet.

In the second round, Ward just missed with a big right hand and then grazed Kovalev with a left-right combination - just before Ward landed a low blow and was warned by Weeks.

"If you look at the end of the fight I walked around the ring with my hand raised. Why stop the fight?"

"I have never been the most talented, I have never been the biggest, I just keep knocking down giants one by one", said Ward. I sparred 123 this time, against four different guys. After 12 rounds of fighting, Ward earned a narrow decision victory but it was immediately clear that these two would be going at it again in the near future.

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He lost two of 33 rounds while plowing through second-class citizenry at 175 but provided as many questions as answers following a reed-thin defeat of Kovalev last November in which he was dropped in the second, rattled several more times and greeted by calls of "bulls--" from the beaten man's camp. It is historic. And the Bay View has been documenting Andre Ward's career since 2009.

CompuBox figures confirmed that the 12-round bout may have been hard to call, with Kovalev connecting on just 10 more punches than Ward, 126-116.

"I couldn't believe it, I could win", Kovalev said. Both fighters had their moments. "I didn't feel like I was getting knocked down with his punches".

Judges Glen Feldman and Dave Moretti had Ward ahead 67-66 while Steve Weisfeld had Kovalev ahead 68-65 as did this writer.

"From Day 1 I predicted a knockout", said Michael Yormark, Ward's promoter from Roc Nation Sports. Ward added. "Of course, I hope so, but I don't get a vote, and hopefully we top that pound-for-pound list now".

Ward received a guaranteed $6.5 million payday for the fight.

Sergey Kovalev continues to show a distinct lack of class, walking out of major press conferences, accusing all of lying on him when his history of racism is both accurate and obvious. I'm just going to leave it at that.

Andre Ward TKO's Sergey Kovalev in light heavyweight boxing world championship