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Ward sees rematch with Froch happening

LONDON (16 Nov) – Super-middleweight king Andre Ward has laid down the gauntlet to Carl Froch, declaring he can knockout the ‘delusional’ British star in a world title unification rematch.

The WBA Super and Ring Magazine world champion has opened the door to a potential blockbuster matchup against the reigning IBF world champion Froch, should both men come through their upcoming battles.

Ward faces off against the unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez in Ontario, California this weekend, a fight you can see live and exclusive on BoxNation, with Froch taking on the rising George Groves in a grudge match later this month.

Should both prevail, Ward is convinced that a super-fight could be next up for the 168-pound division’s two top dogs.

“I think a fight with Froch is definitely something that could happen,” said Ward.

“I’ve said this so many times but I’m not chasing that fight. I won the last fight hands down, and I would be secure moving on. But it’s something that he feels he wants to get another crack at and I’m open for that, absolutely,” he said.

The Olympic gold medalist is also of the belief he can make an early night of it should he share the ring with the Nottingham man again, especially due to the fact he fought with a broken left hand in their first encounter.

“I think I could stop Froch in a rematch. I don’t believe the hype that Froch is invincible. I think he has a really good chin, has taken some big shots and stood up under them and I give him credit for that,” Ward said.

“But sometimes the media makes him out to be some iron man who can’t be stopped. He can be stopped if he gets hit with flush shots.

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“It’s only natural to think that if you come into a fight inhibited, injured and limited and you’re still able to do a certain amount of work – if you’re fully healthy just imagine what would happen,” he stated.

The bad blood between the pair has grown ever since their fight in December 2011, due in part to a perceived lack of respect from Froch who has questioned his contemporary’s drawing power.

“I don’t look at it as disrespect – I think he’s delusional,” Ward stated.

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“Look at Carl Froch and some of the stuff he says and it doesn’t always add up. One aspect he talks about [is drawing power], if you look at his last ratings on HBO and my last one, it’s night and day.

“He had a few hundred thousand people watch his fight in America and we had over a million watch my last fight with Chad Dawson, so I think he needs to focus on what he’s doing,” said Ward.

The 29-year-old from Oakland has also thrown into question Froch’s apparent warrior tag and has asked why he never brought it to the fore when they clashed.

“It’s funny when a guy says you’re boring but he had 12 rounds, 12 rounds, to make it interesting, to be the monster that he says that he is and get a war going,” he said.

“If you watch that fight I didn’t run, I didn’t duck, I didn’t dodge, I was right in the pocket with him. It was tougher than he thought it was going to be, so instead of giving me my just due he makes excuses,” Ward added.

“Now he’s turning into a TV executive, and then a promoter, when he’s talking about no one wants to watch me. Well, his fans in the UK want to watch me as well as fans in the US, so I just don’t think the stuff he says is accurate or adds up,” he said.

Ward believes that the three-time world champion should take a leaf out of Ricky Hatton’s book and give credit where credit is due.

The fan favorite ‘Hitman’ suffered defeats against two of boxing’s household names in Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao but was quick to praise both following his losses, something which Ward thinks Froch can learn from.

“It’s really sad a champion of his calibre can’t give a guy his just due and say ‘you know what, he was the better man that night’,” said Ward.

“I think the fans would respect him a lot more if he did that, American fans and UK fans. Look at Ricky Hatton, he was that type of guy, he lost and he said ‘no excuses, it was my fault’ and then moved onto the next one,” Ward said.

“I think that’s why Ricky Hatton is so beloved the way he is because he was going to give it his all, 100%, and if it didn’t go right he wasn’t going to make excuses. And that’s what Carl Froch specializes in – making excuses,” he said.

Andre Ward vs. Edwin Rodriguez is live on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) this Sunday at 2am. Visit to subscribe.

WSB: Arlans 4-1 Fires… The Champs are back!

The World Series of Boxing (WSB) Season IV kicked-off today in Almaty, Kazakhstan. It was as if we were never away with the action, picking up right where we left it in May, with Season III Champions the Astana Arlans Kazakhstan totally dominating their opponents. Today it was the WSB “Bad Boys”, the Baku Fires, who succumbed to the Alfa Wolf team.

Today we had the Light Flyweights (46-49kg), Bantamweights (56kg), Light Welterweights (64kg), Middleweights (75kg) and Heavyweights (91kg) in the ring. Let’s take a look at the action.

Bout of the match
WSB Middleweight legend Sergiy Derevyanchenko from Ukraine had a tough introduction to Season IV in the shape of the experienced Mikalai Vesialou of the Baku Fires. The southpaw Azeri came into the bout with a 7-0 unbeaten record and the reach advantage. It was enough to cause the WSB’s most experienced boxer some difficulties. Nonetheless Derevyanchenko, who became the first boxer to win across all four seasons, only just managed to scrape through the first round. But the Arlans veteran’s performance today was a little similar to a Stevenson’s Rocket steam train; a slow and grinding start, followed by a continual increase in momentum until he hit top speed and became a really unstoppable force. Taking the centre of the ring in the second, he finally found his range in the third round and landed some very heavy body shots and good combinations. By round four the Azeri was given two standing eight counts in extremely short succession. With the referee looking into the fighter’s eyes and deciding that he had seen enough, the bout was stopped shortly after. Thus, despite a slow start in round one, Derevyanchenko is most definitely back as a force to be reckoned with again this season.

Boxer of the match
Bagdad Alimbekov looked very solid for the Arlans against Magomed Gurbanov of Azerbaijan. The slick Kazakh Bantamweight managed to land good combinations on the Azeri to open a small cut in the first. Gurbanov responded well however and pressed hard early in the second. The Kazakh boxer seemed to make the better use of angles but the Azeri was relentless. In round three, Alimbekov tried to draw his opponent on by dropping his hands and Gurbanov actually followed suit which changed the dynamics a little. By the final round, both boxers looked tired after such a huge effort. During the bout it seemed that the Azeri threw a lot more shots, though the Kazakh threw more accurate and harder ones. Following the surprise defeat they had suffered at Light Flyweight (see below), the crowd looked visibly nervous. But they needn’t have been with the Azeri comfortably taking a straight 3:0 win giving him his 7th straight win in the WSB across two seasons. Credit should be given to Gurbanov however, who looked good on his debut in the WSB.

The Turning point
Light Welterweight Askhat Ualikhanov who was making his WSB debut today had a great opening round against Osman Aliyev of the Baku Fires. With the match currently standing at 1:1 Ualikhanov displayed no signs of nervousness as he flew around the ring and landed strikes on his opponent almost at will. The orthodox Azeri, opened round two with his lead hand low hoping to draw in the Kazakh boxer, but the local man was a little bit faster and tended to beat Aliyev to the punch, which somewhat negated the strategy. Ualikhanov who took the opening three rounds, knew he just had to stay out of trouble going into the fourth. He was very light on his feet and made good use of the ring as he tried to shut the bout down. In the end the Azeri had nothing to offer him. Ualikhanov looks like a great addition to the team this year, who knows where they have been hiding him.

Fact/Stat of the match
Today was the first time the WSB has trialled its new adidas lace-up and velcro gloves. Last season we used velcro gloves to speed up the processing back stage. This year however we have opted for enhanced quality. The new gloves mould beautifully to the hands and provide fantastic wrist support and protection for the athletes, whose initial feedback has been positive.

Wrap up of the rest of the day’s action
Elsewhere Southpaw Azeri Khamza Nametov won the opening bout of the season at Light Flyweight, causing something of an upset in defeating his orthodox opponent Anvar Muzaparov. This was an excellent and highly competitive bout, fought with plenty of heart by both men. The Azeri boxer gradually began to impose himself and scored two impressive knockdowns. On the second occasion, the Kazakh boxer did well to slip a punch before getting nailed with a straight left. It was enough to see the Baku Fires temporarily take the lead over the defending champions.

Later, with the score already 3:1 to the Arlans, the final bout of the day between Vasilii Levit and the experienced Abdulkadir Abdullayev was slightly academic. However, a win for either boxer would make the difference in the headlines between an “emphatic win for the Arlans” and something more along the lines of “the Arlans grind out an early win”. Abdullayev, a veteran of all three previous seasons with eight wins and only one defeat was facing a WSB debutant in 23 year old Levit. That didn’t stop the young gun blasting his way through his Azeri rival, which included giving him a standing eight count in round one. Under the vocal instructions of coach Sergiy Korchynsky, the young man didn’t lose his head and boxed well for the next two rounds before shutting the match down. “A dog’s head on a pup’s shoulders” is the expression that springs to mind to describe the mature display by the Arlans’ new boy, who is yet another excellent home-grown talent the Alpha Wolves have found.

Coming next
The Baku Fires will have an importan match at home in Azerbaijan against the visiting Mexico Guerreros while the Arlans head to St Petersburg to take on team Russia

We have got more amazing boxing coming your way this weekend featuring such matches as the Cuba Domadores vs Mexico Guerreros and Argentina Condors take on the Dolce & Gabbana Italia Thunder. For a full list of times, fixtures and to watch every bout live (and Free!) Check out the WSB homepage.

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