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

Ross Houston
June 20, 2017

Ward then back him up against the ropes and landed three left hooks to Kovalev's body, one which was a low blow that was missed by referee Tony Weeks.

Having inflicted the 34-year-old Russian's first ever defeat in a close bout in November last year, 33-year-old Ward put the result beyond doubt this time.

"But when you are facing a great fighter you have to raise your game to the next level". "I could tell he was reacting to my body shots, and I knew I had him then".

The talk in Sergey Kovalev's camp, meanwhile, was about protesting the outcome of Saturday night's fight because the referee did nothing about borderline low blows that helped bring the fight to an end in the eighth round.

Ward improved to 32-0 with 16 knockouts as he held onto three of the four major boxing belts that he snatched from Kovalev by winning the first fight in November by a slim unanimous decision.

Now, 79 years after the 1938 Louis vs. Schmelling rematch, history will record the June 17, 2017, rematch between light heavyweights Andre "SOG" Ward (31-0, 15 KOs) and Sergei "The Krusher" Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs).

"I knew that this fight was going to be different", Ward said.

Kovalev said he hoped to have a third fight, but that is quite improbable, given the awful rancor between Roc Nation Sports and Kovalev promoter Main Events, not to mention that the first fight was not a commercial success and the rematch was not likely to be one either.

Ward and Kovalev have previously met, battling out on November 19 previous year.

So, with yet more controversy thrown into the pot, a whole lot of verbal swiping is surely about to begin between Kovalev and Ward supporters, and all the more so since Kovalev insisted it was in fact a low blow that had him doubled over moments before Weeks stepped in. "I've never seen somebody knocked out on a low blow until tonight, and I hope I never have to see it again". Why did Tony Weeks stop the fight? Kovalev tried to tie the American up, but Ward was relentless, slamming punches to the head and body. But the fight is going to happen, so it's time to report on what we are hopeful doesn't turn out to be the ridiculously one-sided bout most are predicting. "Not every round, but I thought I was doing very good". The match-up is fascinating; Ward exploited his speed advantage vs Kovalev, but Stevenson's quicker than Sergey.

“When he cant get you out of there he fades, ” Ward said.

Indeed, the win boosted Ward to 32-0 and marked his 16th stoppage in a career that's now six months past its 12th birthday, stretching back to when he came out of the 2004 Summer Games in Athens, Greece, with the only US boxing gold medal.

But by the sixth, Ward said he could sense Kovalev was fading.

"I felt like I was up, I don't know by how many, but a championship fight really starts at the end of six rounds", Ward said. "The public and the fans wanted it, and the fight has been delivered". All three judges scored it 114-113 after a furious rally late by Ward. "Heavyweight? Hey, you have to be able to dream". With a $6.5 million payday in his bank account, Ward will look toward other challenges. "I don't feel like it affects me".

On the undercard, two-time Olympic gold medalist Guillermo Rigondeaux defeated Moises Flores with a controversial fight-ending punch at the close of the first round to retain his WBA junior featherweight title.

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