Sherdog.com's live coverage of the light heavyweight championship rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev kicks off at 10 p.m. ET live from the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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Undercard ResultsJunior featherweight prospect Tramaine Williams was too much for California-based journeyman Christopher Martin to handle as “The Mighty Midget” easily dispatched him within two rounds. Williams (11-0, 4 KOs) swarmed his vastly outgunned foe from the start and dropped him with a flurry of punches late in the first. The Connecticut fighter continued his assault and Martin (30-9-3, 10 KOs), who was warned by referee Kenny Bayless between rounds to show him something, was drilled with a right to the head and follow-up punches, the fight was halted. Bayless intervened at the 1:44 of the frame.
John Bauza tore up Brandon Sanudo in their junior welterweight showdown and stopped him in the second. Bauza (7-0, 4 KOs) floored Mexican with a right hook to the intestines in the first and then finished him with a sizzling left-right to the noggin that dropped him again. Once Sanudo (5-5, 2 KOs) hit the deck, his corner tossed in the towel, ending the slaughter at the 1:14 mark.
Middleweight prospect Bakhram Murtzaliev improved to 9-0 with his seventh pro knockout when he flattened Sandro Duarte (6-1, 4 KOs) in the opening round of their encounter. Murtazaliev felled the Brazilian twice, both with right hands, before referee Robert Byrd had seen enough and ended the brawl in just 93 seconds.
In the opening bout of the afternoon, K-1 Max and Kunlun Fight veteran Enriko Gogokhia (5-0, 2 KOs) kept his pro boxing record intact with a dominant performance against Jonathan Steele over six rounds at welterweight. The Georgian kickboxer kept Steele (7-1, 5 KOs) away with his long left jab and crisp straight rights upstairs to win a unanimous decision via tallies of 60-54 and 59-55 (twice).
Junior Younan easily wiped out fellow super middleweight Zoltan Sera in just 99 seconds Younan (12-0, 8 KOs) pounded on the Hungarian immediately and blasted away until Sera (28-13, 19 KOs) crumbled onto the canvas. Referee Russell Mora waived it off as soon as Sera was felled.
Middleweight Vaughn Alexander kept his unblemished record safe by forcing opponent Fabiano Pena to stay on his stool after the fourth round. Alexander, the older brother of former multi-division world champion Devon Alexander, returned to the ring for the first time in a dozen years after spending Tim in prison. Alexander (10-0, 7 KOs) used a crippling body assault early and often and eventually the abuse forced Pena (16-8-1, 13 KOs) to retire after sustaining a rib injury.
Cuban middleweight Luis Arias was a dominating wrecking machine against Arif Magomedov in the opening bout of the PPV-televised bout. Arias clipped the Russian with nearly everything he threw, whether it was leads to the head or vicious hooks to the body; the Milwaukee-based fighter couldn’t miss. Magomedov continuously charged headfirst into what he hoped was a brawl, but Arias (18-0, 9 KOs) was too slick and far too accurate with his punches. Magomedov (18-2, 11 KOs) was finally knocked off his feet in the fifth from a dizzying flurry of punches and when his glove touched the canvas during another exchange, his corner mercifully threw in the towel. Referee Robert Byrd quickly waived the mugging off, ending the slaughter at the 1:16 mark of the fifth.
Dmitry Bivol, one of the more promising young lions in the sport, tortured Chicago fighter Cedric Agnew and forced him to quit mid-round. Bivol (11-0, 9 KOs) pounded on Agnew with power punches to the head and body routinely, reducing his foe to single-digit punch outputs in each stanza. A burst of shots to the cranium midway through the opening frame turned the American’s knees to jelly and then a follow-up volley sent him to the canvas. Agnew (29-3, 15 KOs) survived the round, but after absorbing dozens of hard, clean shots both upstairs and down, a bloodied Agnew turned away from Bivol in the fourth and quit, citing an eye injury. The end of the light heavyweight duel came at the 1:27 of the frame.
One of the world’s top fighters pound-for-pound, Guillermo Rigondeaux doesn’t always knock his opponents out. And after his co-featured fight with Moises Flores, the Cuban scored a knockout, though the vast majority of those watching felt it should have been ruled otherwise.
Rigondeaux (18-0, 12 KOs) was in complete control of the action early as he made “Chucky” miss dozens of wild, reckless punches. “El Chacal” picked him apart from a distance but when the stanza came to a close, the two super bantamweights were in the midst of a heated exchange. Both men launched hellfire after the bell, but Rigondeaux’s left hook exploded on the Mexican’s jaw, dropping him. Flores stumbled onto his back and referee Vic Drakulich hovered over the fallen fighter, seemingly indecisive as to how to rule the occurrence, and that’s when things became interesting.
The veteran third man eventually waived off the bout when he realized that Flores (25-1, 17 KOs) was not only unable to continue, but he couldn't even get up. Debate flurried around the arena as to whether Flores would win by disqualification because the punch clearly was thrown after the bell, or if it would be ruled a “No Contest” because the foul was unintentional. After several minutes of deliberation between Drakulich and other Nevada Athletic Commission officials, the ref deemed that the punch was legal and that Rigondeaux won via knockout.
It’s interesting to note that Drakulich never once bothered to administer a count when Flores was dropped; rather he squatted next to him and determined that “Chucky” was unable to continue after several moments. The still-filling arena lustily booed the verdict, which officials was ruled a knockout after the first. Somehow, the official time of the knockout is being announced as 2:59.
World Middleweight Championship:
Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev
Round 1Tony Weeks is the referee for this 12-round light heavyweight world championship. The two come out and meet in the center of the ring, pawing with jabs. Ward backs off as Kovalev comes after him and slams a right to the body. Kovalev misses a right to the head as Ward dues under for a body shot. The American ties up, but Sergey breaks free quickly. A tiff left jab from the Russian, followed by a chopping overhand right to the ear and shoulder. Ward eats a glancing pair of punches to the head and clinches again, but Weeks separates them. Ward is going straight for the clinching strategy, which elicits a few boos from the crowd. Kovalev eats a right and then answers with a harder on, forcing Ward to tie up. They trade blows on the inside, but nothing meaningful lands for either man. Ward closes the round with a stiff left jab to the mouth 10-9 Kovalev.
Round 2Ward backs off to open the frame and is tagged by a sweeping left jab. Ward backs off again and suckers the Russian into a jab of his own and then ties him up. Kovalev tosses out a few nasty overhand rights, but Ward wards them off easily. They trade jabs and when Sergey gets close enough on the inside, he’s tied up. Weeks will have his hands full tonight, no doubt. A jab-straight right to the Elon from Kovalev and Ward backs away to reset. A short exchange ensues but when Ward ties him up, Kovalev complains of a low blow. After a brief pause, the fight resumes. The light heavies trade left hooks to the body before Ward cracks him with a left hook. Another exchange happens in a neutral corner before before the round ends. It’s another close round, but the Russian gets it based on aggression. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 3Ward blocks a right to the head and immediately clinches. Kovalev is growing frustrated with the tactic early on, which could be disastrous for him down the road. Ward drills the Russian with a short left hook and then exits before a counter right can connect. Kovalev misses a few left jabs and then is tied up again. “Krusher” Digs a few hooks to the body after Ward octopuses him again. When they break, Ward pops him with a left upstairs. Kovalev traps the American against the ropes and tries to make it a brawl, but Ward is too smart to allow that. Andre lands a glancing left hook on top of his foe’s head late and then tags him with a right cross. 10-9 Ward
Round 4Ward opens the fourth with a lead left uppercut, but Kovalev blocks it. Sergey comes right at him and then eats a right hand, though it’s mostly blocked. A left-right to the head by Kovalev as Ward charges at him, but “SOG” shakes it off. Ward’s movement is giving Kovalev trouble now. A stiff left jab to the chin from Ward snaps the Russian’s head back midway through. Ward pops him with another strong jab and Kovalev is growing frustrated. Weeks warns the two for clinching and when they reset, Ward jabs him cleanly again. Kovalev connects with a few solid rights and lefts upstairs, but Ward counters him with a short right cross. Some decent two-way action at the bell, but Ward has seized full control of the bout. 10-9 Ward.
Round 5They tie up right as the frame begins but when they separate, Ward cracks him with a sharp right cross. There is some redness on Kovalev’s face as well. A short right the noggin from Ward comes next and Kovalev is out of position to counter. The Russian backs Ward into the ropes and lands a few scattered punches to the arms and body. Andre misses a wild right hook but connects with a follow-up left hook to the jaw, the best punch the fight. Kovalev walks right through it and tries to answer, but Ward is already gone. Ward swallows a powerful left jab and then backs away The light heavies trade hooks to the body late and its another round in the bag for the American. 10-9 Ward
Round 6Ward is in slow motion early but Kovalev allows him to tie him up. Kovalev comes right after his foe when they reset and digs a left to the body. Ward counters with a sharp overhand right upstairs before clinching again. Ward misses with a lead right an has to absorb a right to the head in return. Kovalev lands a few jabs but he is breathing heavily at the midway point. Sergey walks into a choppy left hook to the head, but he’s not bothered by it. “Krusher” flicks out several jabs and then avoids a wild left hook. He counters that with a right, but Ward punctuates the round with a right to the forehead. Another super close round that could go either way. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 7They tie up immediately and trade meager uppercuts to the body. Ward ties his foe up as soon as the fight resumes, and then does it again. Weeks isn't warning him, though Kovalev traps the American’s head briefly. “Krusher” stalks the champ but misses with his jab and right hook. The 175-pounders exchange jabs in the center of the ring, but Kovalev follows that up with a left-right that’s mostly blocked. Kovalev is hit low and complains to Weeks, but the ref isn’t buying it. They trade jabs late, but “Krusher” ends the round with a glancing right across the face. They again, the round is a toss-up. 10-9 Kovalev
Round 8“SOG” opens the frame with a loopy overhand right than connects. Kovalev shakes it off but ties the American up. A brief exchange on the inside and then Kovalev slams a left hook to the head. Ward ducks under and seats another, but he takes them both well. Ward regroups and circles away and when they throw punches again, Kovalev claims that he was hit low. He complains to Weeks, who denies him. A missile of a fight from Ward lands cleanly and Kovalev is badly rocked. Kovalev backs away and Ward is all over him. Kovalev is in full retreat mode and when he backs into the ropes, Ward appears to land a left hook on the groin. Kovalev doubles over in pain and clutches his groin, but Weeks intervenes and calls off the fight. “Krusher” vehemently protests, but the ruling stands.
The Official ResultAndre Ward def. Sergey Kovalev via TKO R8, 2:29
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