Andre Ward’s preparation for a fight is unmatched, trainer Virgil Hunter says

Andre Ward celebrates his lopsided unanimous decision over Alexander Brand in August at Oracle Arena in Oakland/Associated Press photo by Eric Risberg


Training camp can be a grind. But Andre Ward of Oakland seems to embrace it.

Ward on Nov. 19 will challenge Sergey Kovalev of Russia for his three light heavyweight championship belts at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas (on HBO pay-per-view). Ward on Monday officially began training camp for the biggest fight of his career, but his head was already there.

“I’ve been in pre-camp mode for weeks now following my last fight, and have been mentally preparing for the work ahead of me,” said Ward, who will train in Hayward. “It’s an exciting feeling to be in full camp mode, where I can dedicate 100% of my mind, body and soul to the battle I am about to face. This is a fight that we have been working up to since last spring. The game plan hasn’t changed. I am here and I am ready.”

Ward’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, said this attitude is what separates Ward from others.

“No one beats Andre Ward when it comes to training camp,” Hunter said. “We’re going into camp with the mentality of ‘Another day, another fight, another win.’ His strive for perfection, work ethic and consistency is what makes him a champion.”

Ward, a former super middleweight champion, is 32. He is 30-0 with 15 knockouts. Kovalev, 33, is 30-0-1 with 26 knockouts.





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Frank Espinoza believes Oscar Valdez could move up to as high as lightweight

Oscar  Valdez

Oscar Valdez/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


Making a splash in more than one weight class is popular is this day and age. Apparently, Oscar Valdez of Mexico is no different. Valdez on Nov. 5 will make the first defense of his featherweight world title when he takes on Hiroshige Osawa of Japan underneath the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas welterweight title fight at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95). But there is no telling how long Valdez will remain at 126 pounds.

“I think he is going to move up when it’s time,” said Valdez’s manager, Frank Espinoza. “I think his body will tell us when he’s ready to move up. But, yeah, I see him going to 130 (junior lightweight), 135 (lightweight). He still has youth on his side; we’ve got time.”

Interestingly, Espinoza said Valdez, 25, recently discussed a different idea with him.

“He’s even telling me, ‘What do you think? What about making 122?’ ” Espinoza said. “I go, ‘I don’t know. Can you really do that?’ But he’s a comfortable 126. So right now we’re enjoying the ride right here at 126. When it comes time to move up, we’ll talk and then
we’ll move him up.”

Valdez is 20-0 with 18 knockouts. Osawa, 31, is 30-3-4 with 19 knockouts.

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Jessie Magdaleno looks for first title, but will have hands full with Nonito Donaire

Jessie Magdaleno

Jessie Magdaleno/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


World-class boxer Jessie Magdaleno was born in Pomona, but he moved away at age 4 and has since called Las Vegas home.

“Vegas, it’s been good to me,” Magdaleno said. “It’s been a great city and I just have so many kid memories from there.”

It is therefore appropriate that Magadaleno will fight for his first world title in his backyard. He’ll challenge Nonito Donaire for his super bantamweight belt on the undercard of the Manny Pacquiao-Jessie Vargas welterweight title fight Nov. 5 at Thomas & Mack Center.

“It’s a huge opportunity for me,” Magdaleno said this week at an L.A. news conference.

That’s for sure. Donaire, of San Leandro via the Philippines, has won world titles in four weight classes. He’s more than likely going to one day be inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Nevertheless, the undefeated Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs) speaks in undaunted tones about this shot.

“It’s a big challenge for me, but like I tell everybody, I have this vision and I feel like my age and my speed and my power is really going to overcome him,” Magdaleno said. “I take nothing from him. He’s a great fighter. He’s accomplished what he’s accomplished in the sport.

“But I believe it’s time there’s a new champion and I believe it’s me.”

Magdaleno, a southpaw, is just 24. Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) is 33 and has been in plenty of ring wars. Frank Espinoza, Magdaleno’s West Covina-based manager, intimated his fighter has to go hard all the way through to take full advantage of his youth.

“We’ve gotta look to go all 12 rounds and wear him down because we are the younger fighter,” Espinoza said. “I think it’s his time and I believe Jessie Magdaleno is going to become a world champion Nov. 5.”

For Donaire, he’s stoked about fighting on the same card as Pacquiao for the first time. He also likes where his head is at, and he figures that’s bad news for Magdaleno.

“Most of all, I’m very excited for the mind-set that I have,” he said. “The person that’s within this ring, that’s going to be in that ring is a man who’s a king. And whoever steps in that ring, it’s my ring.”

This card will be available on Top Rank pay-per-view for $59.95.

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Vasyl Lomachenko, Nicholas Walters set for what could be Nov. 26 barnburner

Vasyl Lomachenko

Vasyl Lomachenko/Photo courtesy of Top Rank Inc.


When talk of a fight between super featherweights Vasyl Lomachenko and Nicholas Walters began, the thought of it happening was enticing because these two guys are both mean hombres in the ring.

Well, an accord for the fight came to fruition Wednesday and the two will square off Nov. 26 at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas (on HBO).

Lomachenko (6-1, 4 KOs), of Ukraine, will be looking to make the first defense of the super featherweight world title he won from Roman “Rocky” Martinez via 5th-round knockout in June in New York City.

Lomachenko, who has also won a title at featherweight, said he’s stoked to be getting the opportunity “to test myself in the fight with the best.”

Walters (26-0-1, 21 KOs), a former featherweight champion who lost his belt on the scales prior to what would have been his fourth defense – against Miguel Marriaga – had a similar reaction.

“Any fighter can be knocked out no matter who he is,” said Walters, of Jamiaca. “I like fighting the best and I like fighting against great technical fighter like Lomachenko. Look at what happened when I fought a great technical fighter like Nonito Donaire. Lomachenko is great, he knows what he is doing in the ring.  But I always look for a knockout against whomever I fight.  If I can do it quick, I will.  This is the best fight out there in boxing today. It will be the Fight of the Year.”

Walters stopped Donaire in the sixth round of a featherweight title fight in October 2014 at StubHub Center in Carson.


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Cuban Yordenis Ugas dedicates win to late Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez

Yordenis Ugas punches to the body of Bryant Perrella on Tuesday in New Mexico/Photo by Jane Phillips, Premier Boxing Champions


Yordenis Ugas of Cuba may have three defeats, but he’s starting to make some noise in the welterweight division. Ugas on Tuesday night stopped previously undefeated Bryant Perrella in the fourth round at Buffalo Thunder Casino in Pojoaque, N.M.

It’s the second consecutive undefeated welterweight Ugas has beaten since his move up from junior welterweight. Ugas won a unanimous decision over Jamal James in August; James was 20-0.

Ugas (17-3, 8 KOs) decked Perrella (14-1, 13 KOs), of Fory Myers, Fla., in the first and fourth rounds.

Afterward, Ugas said he dedicated the victory to fellow Cuban Jose Fernandez, the late Miami Marlins pitcher who was killed Sunday in a boating accident.

“The right hand was there early and all night long,” Ugas said. “I was able to land it from the beginning. Then I went to the body. Before I left my corner to start the fight, I said a prayer for Jose, and for sure that was my motivation. I felt his spirit throughout the fight.”


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Longtime promoter Bob Arum shoots down foolish notion that boxing is dead


Bob Arum/Getty Images file photo


Longtime promoter Bob Arum on Tuesday played host to a news conference in Los Angeles to formally announce the undercard for the Nov. 5 welterweight title fight between champion Jessie Vargas (27-1, 10 KOs) and Manny Pacquiao (58-6-2, 38 KOs) at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas (on Top Rank pay-per-view, $59.95).

Not one to miss an opportunity, Arum closed the proceedings by talking about how alive and well boxing is – contrary to what some think. It wasn’t long ago that an L.A.-area columnist (not from this newspaper) who doesn’t even cover boxing said boxing was dead.

“Boxing not only isn’t dead, but it’s on the cusp of a great resurgence,” Arum said on the dais at the Conga Room. “You have all of these great, young fighters from the United States, from Mexico and from all around the world who are coming to the world stage.”

While pondering that, just think of all the terrific fighters not from the U.S. or Mexico making a big splash here these days. We’re talking the likes of Gennady Golovkin, Vasyl Lomachenko, Sergey Kovalev, Kell Brook and Carl Frampton to name just five.

“We are on the cusp of really a time in boxing where people all around the world will join together to watch our great athletes perform,” Arum said.

The main undercard fight for Pacqjuiao-Vargas will have Nonito Donaire (37-3, 24 KOs) of San Leandro via the Philippines defending his super bantamweight belt against Jessie Magdaleno (23-0, 17 KOs) of Las Vegas.

Also, newly crowned featherweight champion Oscar Valdez (20-0, 18 KOs) of Mexico will defend his title against Hiroshige Osawa (30-3-4, 19 KOs) of Japan.

Finally, Zou Shiming (8-1, 2 KOs) of China and Prasitsak Papoem (39-1-2, 24 KOs) of Thailand will duke it out for a vacant flyweight world title.


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Jorge Linares makes a happy man out of his promoter, Oscar De La Hoya

Anthony Crolla, left, and Jorge Linares pose after this past Friday’s weigh-in for their fight Saturday in England/Photo courtesy of Lawrence Lustig, Matchroom Boxing


Jorge Linares of Venezuela entered his fight this past Saturday against WBA lightweight champion Anthony Crolla having already held the WBC belt. But Linares was stripped of that title in February when he could not make a mandatory defense because of a fractured hand.

That said, Linares was eager to once again be a world champion. He did not disappoint himself as he took Crolla’s title via unanimous decision at Manchester Arena in Crolla’s native England.

Linares’ promoter, Oscar De La Hoya, was stoked about what he saw from Linares and what he might see in the future from him.

“Jorge Linares has proven himself once again as a world champion fighter with incredible skill, strength and talent. This is a fighter that continues to fight the best and win against the best in the lightweight division,” De La Hoya said. “Linares gave us a highly entertaining and thrilling fight against Anthony Crolla today, and we can’t wait to see what more is to come from him following this tremendous … victory.”

Linares, 31, is now 41-3. Crolla, 29, is 31-5-3. He was trying to make his second successful title defense.

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Trey Lippe Morrison adds another notch to knockout belt with first-round beatdown of Ed Latimore in Oklahoma

Trey Lippe Morrison hammers Ed Latimore during the first round of their heavyweight fight Friday in Miami, Okla./Photo courtesy of Tom Casino, Showtime


Heavyweight prospect Trey Lippe Morrison is now 12-0 with 12 knockouts after his first-round knockout of Ed Latimore on Friday night at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla. The card was televised on Showtime as part of its ShoBox series.

Morrison, of Tulsa, is the son of late heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison, who died in 2013 at age 44. The younger Morrison, who will be 27 on Tuesday, is a former college football defensive end who did not lace up the gloves until he was 24.

Latimore (13-1, 7 KOs), of Pittsburgh, was expected to be Lippe Morrison’s stiffest test to date.

“To win a fight like this is definitely a relief,” Lippe Morrison said. “I was nervous about the fight, but not about fighting on TV.  This was supposed to be my toughest fight on paper, and I think I did well.

“I feel I may have opened some eyes, but that’s in large part to (trainer) Freddie Roach. I feel I’m improving, thanks to Freddie. I’m throwing quicker, snappier punches and the coordination between my footwork with my hands is way better. All that is because of Freddie.”

 It was Morrison’s television debut.

In the light heavyweight main event, Radivoje “Hot Rod” Kalajdzic (22-1, 15 KOs) of Bosnia and Herzegovina stopped previously unbeaten Travis Peterkin (16-1-1, 7 KOs) of Brooklyn in the fifth round.

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Tyson Fury for the second time pulls out of rematch with Wladimir Klitschko

Tyson Fury/Photo courtesy of Hennessy Sports


The heavyweight championship rematch between Tyson Fury of England and Wladimir Klitschko of the Ukraine on Friday was called off for the second time. The two were to tangle Oct. 29 in England, but a statement from Hennessy Sports, which promotes Fury, indicated it won’t happen.

The two first fought this past November in Germany, Fury winning a unanimous decision and Klitshcko’s three belts. They were slated to go at it again in July, but Fury claimed to have a sprained ankle.

Here is the today’s statement, verbatim, from Hennessy Sports: “It is with the deepest regret that we have to announce that the World Heavyweight Championship rematch between Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko, scheduled to take place on the 29th October 2016 at the Manchester Arena, will not be going ahead.

“Tyson has, this week, been declared medically unfit to fight. Medical specialists have advised that the condition is too severe to allow him to participate in the rematch and that he will require treatment before going back into the ring. Tyson will now immediately undergo the treatment he needs to make a full recovery.

“We and Tyson wish to express our sincerest apologies to all those concerned with the event and all the boxing fans who had been looking forward to the rematch. Tyson is understandably devastated by the development.

“We will be making a further statement in due course. Until then, we ask that Tyson and his family be given the privacy and the space he needs to recover during this difficult time.

 The statement did not include what is wrong with Fury. A story on that cited sources suggested mental health issues might be at the forefront.
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Radivoje Kalajdzic looking to take controversial loss out on Travis Peterkin

Image result for Radivoje Kalajdzic photos

Radivoje Kalajdzic/Photo courtesy of


Travis Peterkin (16-0-1, 7 KOs) is undefeated, but on Friday night he’ll be going against a ticked-off fighter who still hasn’t gotten over what he believes was a poor decision. That would be Radivoje Kalajdzic of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Kalajdzic (21-1, 14 KOs) – nicknamed “Hot Rod” – in April lost a split-decision to Marcus Browne at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

“I was very upset after my last fight,” said Kalajdzic, who will take on Peterkin at Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla. (on Showtime). “I wasn’t really mad necessarily at myself or my team; it was mostly the referee (Tony Chiarantano). Then, afterward when I saw the reaction from the fans, who totally booed the decision – even took their Marcus Browne T-shirts off – I didn’t feel so badly.

“On Friday, I want to come in and look great and hopefully stop this guy. I want to look better and cleaner than I did against Browne. I fought OK against Browne, but I should have used my jab more and not allowed him to grab and hold me so much.”

Peterkin, of Brooklyn, figures this will be a difficult fight to win, but he seems confident enough.

“The key is controlling what goes on in the ring, be smart and listen to my corner,” he said. “I feel this is definitely the toughest fight for me, and for him, too.”

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