Boxing


Andre Ward Dominates Ashworth to Grab Third Pro Victory

09.04.05 - (TEMECULA, CALIF.) – 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist Andre Ward (Oakland, Calif.) climbed through the ropes to the cheers of a raucous Pechanga Resort and Casino crowd and emerged to the same sound after a third round disqualification victory over Roy Ashworth (Lake Charles, La.) on April 7..

The middleweight bout was messy from the opening bell as Ashworth looked to wrestle instead of box, but the 21-year-old Olympian maintained his composure through the holding, wrestling, and even Ashworth’s attempt to climb on Ward’s back and throw punches. After an extremely messy first round in which referee Ray Corona took a point for holding from Ashworth, Ward became to open it up in the second round.

“When you are fighting a wild guy, you have to stay composed,” Ward said. “Anything can happen, that’s why you have to be prepared.”

Landing his jab to both the body and head at will, Ward showcased his spectacular speed and footwork in the second stanza but it was round three that truly showcased Ward’s skills. He landed four and five punch combinations, frustrating his dirty opponent before Ward dropped Ashworth with a picture-perfect left uppercut, 1:12 into the third round. After being dropped, Ashworth continued with his dirty tactics, even grabbing Ward’s head with both gloves and head butting him. But the Olympic gold medalist responded with his quick hands, landing every punch in the book before referee Ray Corona had seen enough and disqualified Ashworth. Hitting after the break was the official reason for the disqualification, but he could have chosen from several of Ashworth’s infractions. Although Ward was close to stopping Ashworth as he landed spectacular combinations with Ashworth stuck on the ropes, Ashworth chose a different solution.

“Once he got dropped, he knew that he was either going out on his back or by disqualification so he chose the latter,” Ward said.

Now that he has taken care of business in the ring, Ward returned home to Oakland for two important events beginning with an appearance at the Oakland Boys and Girls Club “Salute to Youth” on Sunday, April 10. He will then test his luck in a different sport as he throws out the first pitch at the Oakland Athletics home opener with the Toronto Blue Jays on April 11.

Ward’s final appearance will take him to the New York Athletic Club for the Sullivan Award ceremony. Ward is one of ten finalists for the prestigious award, which recognizes the nation’s top amateur athlete. The 21-year-old joins elite company in multi-time gold medalists Michael Phelps and fellow Bay Area athlete Natalie Coughlin, gold medal gymnasts Carly Patterson and Paul Hamm, and 2004 Heisman trophy winner Matt Leinart of the national champion USC Trojans. While no boxer has ever won the award, Ward hopes to make history at the award ceremony on Wednesday, April 13.

Article posted on 09.04.2005



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