Roc Nation Sports is pleased to announce that Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, March 26, to begin his assault on the light heavyweight division when he takes on undefeated and number one rated IBF light heavyweight contender Sullivan Barrera (17-0, 12 KOs) in a 12-round bout at Oracle Arena in Ward’s hometown of Oakland, California. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT.
Tickets priced at $300, $150, $100, $50 and $25, not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 5:00 PM PT and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.
“I don’t really have much to say other than this. On March 26, it will be very simple. I’ll be in a new weight class against a tough opponent, but I’m coming with the same approach,” said Ward. “I’ll be in great shape and ready for battle. Sullivan Barrera has had a lot to say lately, and I love it. He’s going to have an opportunity to back up every word that he has spoken. These are the type of challenges I like and on March 26, it’s go time.”
“We as a team had a tough choice to make – crash the party by taking out Ward first or wait for the mandatory and take out Kovalev,” said Barrera. “We decided that the time is now. Ward will fall first and then we will go after the belts.”
“Having cleaned out the super middleweight division, Andre’s next challenge is to become the best light heavyweight in the world, and that challenge begins with the IBF’s number one rated contender in Sullivan Barrera,” said David Itskowitch, COO of Boxing Roc Nation Sports. “With both fighters having their sights set on an eventually showdown with Unified Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey Kovalev, there’s a lot on the line in this fight, but only one man will move on. March 26 is a night of boxing that no fan should miss.”
“I’m excited to be on Team Ward as we enter the light heavyweight division. No weapons formed against us shall prosper,” said James Prince, Ward’s manager.
On March 26, before a hometown crowd, pound for pound star Andre Ward returns to HBO in his light heavyweight debut against undefeated Sullivan Barrera” said Peter Nelson, Executive Vice President, HBO Sports. “With a perfect record dating back to the age of 12 years old, Andre has risen to every challenge as both an amateur and a professional, including world titles and an Olympic gold medal. Now, he takes on Barrera, one of the toughest challengers as Ward moves up the scale. Boxing fans won’t want to miss it.”
Known for his strong character and integrity outside the ring and his warrior’s instinct inside it, Ward’s skill and talent were apparent early in his outstanding amateur career. He racked up every title in the books, culminating with a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. As the only male American boxer to claim Olympic gold since 1996, 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 13-year-old amateur. Ward recently stepped in front of the camera for a completely different role, a part in the New Line/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Warner Bros. feature “Creed.” Fellow Bay Area natives, director Ryan Coogler and the film’s star Michael B. Jordan, reached out to Ward so that he could provide his expertise for the film. In addition to working in front of the camera with Ward, Jordan spent time at Ward’s home gym in preparation for his role as Apollo Creed’s son. Now it’s time for Ward to get back to his day job when he faces the undefeated Barrera on March 26.
Born in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Barrera had an impressive amateur run with a record of 285-27. As an amateur, he was able to earn World Amateur Championships in Germany, Cuba, Venezuela and Central America. During his amateur career, he also defeated former Light Heavyweight World Champions Chad Dawson and Beibut Shumenov.
Following his defection from Cuba, where he was a member of the country’s national team, Barrera made his professional debut in 2009 with a first round technical knockout win over Anthony Adorno in his adopted hometown of Miami, Florida. He would go on to knockout the first five opponents he faced in his professional career in either the first or second round.
Barrera made his television debut in January of 2015 with his appearance on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, when he scored a fourth-round knockout win over former Super Middleweight World Champion Jeff Lacy. Barrera quietly rose through the ratings of the light heavyweight division until he was afforded the opportunity to fight former Light Heavyweight World Title Challenger Karo Murat to become the IBF’s number one rated light heavyweight contender. Barrera seized the opportunity, knocking out Murat in the fifth round on December 12, 2015, in his HBO Latino Boxing debut at the Civic Auditorium in Glendale, California.
Sullivan is trained by legendary trainer, Abel Sanchez, who is best known for his work with middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. When he is not at The Summit in Big Bear Lake, California training with Sanchez, Barrera resides in Miami, Florida.
Ward vs. Barrera, a 12-round fight which is presented by Roc Nation Sports in association with Main Events, takes place Saturday, March 26, 2016, at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT. Follow the conversation using #WardBarrera.
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