Boxing


Andre Ward vs Edison Miranda

The wait is over. Undefeated and No. 1 ranked 2004 Olympic Gold medalist Andre Ward's long-desired dream of staging a professional fight in his hometown will become reality on Saturday, May 16, when he climbs into the ring – and takes a big step up in class -- against Colombian knockout artist Edison Miranda. The 12-rounder for Ward’s North American Boxing Organization (NABO) and North American Boxing Federation (NABF) Super Middleweight titles will be the featured bout on a Special Edition of ShoBox: The New Generation on SHOWTIME (9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the west coast)..

The May 16 event will originate from the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Calif., and will be promoted by Goossen Tutor Promotions in association with Antonio Leonard Productions. Tickets go on sale this Saturday, April 18. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. PT. The first non-televised fight is at 5 p.m. PT.

Ward, a highly-touted and talented 25-year-old, is 18-0 (12 KOs) and was the only boxer from the United States to capture a Gold medal at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece and remains the last American to win Gold.

“I’ve wanted to fight in my hometown for a long time,’’ Ward said. "After my last fight, I said I wanted the next one to be in Oakland and it is. It will be exciting for me finally to be able to fight in front of my friends, family and Bay Area fans.

“For the longest time, people would ask me why I wasn’t fighting in my hometown. But now I am. This will be a great fight and a great night for the fans. I can’t wait.’’

“This fight fits into our plan of having Andre fight for a World Championship by the end of the year," promoter Dan Goossen told ESPN.com. "Miranda is the kind of World contender who will be a barometer for Andre to show the world that he is ready for that next step. We think it's a tremendously competitive match. It's a high-profile fight in the Bay Area, his hometown. Those are the types of events you like to do for the fans and your fighters."

In his last fight, Ward outclassed Henry Buchanan (17-2, 12 KOs) of Chesterfield, SC, to capture the vacant NABF title while defending his NABO 168-pound belt on Feb. 6, 2009, in Lemoore, Calif., on SHOWTIME.

In his outing before last, Ward returned from a knee injury in December to stop Esteban Camou in three rounds.

“Andre has only 18 fights but maturity-wise, he's had 36 fights," Goossen said. "I believe he's a seasoned veteran right now and ready for the next level against the likes of an Edison Miranda, who is a dangerous and confident fighter. Miranda is the type of challenge that will provide Andre with the opportunity to showcase all of his offensive and defensive weapons. Edison will be looking to end it on one punch, which I believe will play to Andre’s strength."

A former world title challenger and top 10 super middleweight contender the 28-year-old Miranda (32-3, 28 KOs), promoted by Seminole Warriors Boxing, knocked out Joey Vargas on March 20, 2008, in London, England, in his last fight.

The hard-hitting Miranda lost a very controversial decision to International Boxing Federation (IBF) middleweight champion Arthur Abraham in 2006. In his other defeats, he lost to World Boxing Council (WBC) and World Boxing Organization (WBO) titlist Kelly Pavlik in a May ‘07 slugfest and to Abraham in a non-title rematch in June ’08.

Ward won the 2004 Olympic Gold medal at light heavyweight and became the only American to win an Olympic boxing gold medal since David Reid in 1996.

Ward, whose nickname is S.O.G. for “Son of God,” currently trains out of King’s Gym in Oakland under head trainer Virgil Hunter, but has announced that he will be moving his training to Las Vegas to prepare for May 16.

“Like any other job, the monotony of training can get to you,” Ward said. “But, I heard a quote from a young man the other day, ‘The difference between losers and winners are losers focus on what they’re going through, and winners focus on what they’re going to.’

“That’s basically our mind-set here. We have a goal, so we can endure the monotony of training and everything that’s associated with training camp. We’re embracing that right now and looking forward to this fight.”

Before this year started, Ward predicted a huge 2009. “I wanted to just continue to win and win spectacularly, regardless of who was in front of me,” he said. “We want to have a big year in ’09. That’s what we’re looking for.”

Tickets priced at $125, $75, $50 and $25 at the ORACLE Arena Box office: Mon-Fri 10-5:30pm, Saturday 10-2:00pm, Sunday Closed or On-Line through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.com or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or through Ticketmaster Outlets at the following outlet partners: select Macy’s stores and select Ritmo Latino stores. All information can be obtained at www.ticketmaster.com.

Article posted on 16.04.2009



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