Andre Ward gets stitches removed, back training for Carl Froch fight; Rau’shee Warren Makes History

LOS ANGELES, CA - (Oct. 3) Andre Ward is back to work after having his stitches removed this past Friday by Dr. Paul Wallace. The cut caused Andre to postpone the upcoming SHOWTIME Super Six Final and World Boxing Association (WBA) - World Boxing Council (WBC) unification bout with Carl Froch to December 17. The location of the fight is still Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

Ward stitches video

Andre (SOG) Ward Gets Stitches Removed !!!

Rau’shee Warren Makes History in Baku as Three U.S. Boxers Qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games

COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.) – The stakes were high for Team USA on Tuesday at the 2011 World Championships in Baku, Azerbaijan as five U.S. boxers competed for a berth in the 2012 Olympic Games. A trio of American pugilists accomplished their goal with third round victories, and two-time Olympian and 2007 World Champion Rau’shee Warren (Cincinnati, Ohio) marked his place in the history books as the first U.S. boxer ever to qualify for three Olympic Games. Bantamweight Joseph Diaz, Jr. (S. El Monte, Calif.) and welterweight Errol Spence (Desoto, Texas) both enjoyed impressive wins on Tuesday as well to punch their tickets for London.

Warren was clearly on a mission in his third round contest with Rey Saludar of the Philippines. The 24-year-old American started the bout on fire, peppering the unprepared Saludar with lightning quick combinations in the opening round. His efforts earned Warren a 7-2 lead after the first round. Saludar attempted to adjust to Warren’s tremendous hand speed in the second but had no answers as Warren moved out to 16-8 lead with one round remaining. He continued to add to his lead over the final three minutes to win a 22-12 final decision and clinch a berth in a historic third Olympic Games.

Warren was the youngest U.S. male athlete in any sport in the 2004 Olympic Games at only 17-years-old. He then entered the Beijing Olympics as the favorite in his weight class following a gold medal at the 2007 World Championships, which served as the first international qualifier for the 2008 Olympics. Yet, he was unable to fulfill his dream of putting a gold medal around his mother, Paulette’s neck in both Athens and Beijing, so he made the rare decision to come back for a third attempt at his lifelong goal. Warren will continue his run toward a second world title in a quarterfinal contest with England’s Khalid Saeed Yafai on Wednesday evening.

Diaz competed in one of the best bouts of the day in his third round match-up with 2008 Olympian and 2009 World Championships bronze medalist Oscar Valdez of Mexico. The two boxers were throwing punches in bunches from bell-to-bell as they battled it out for a berth in the 2012 Olympic Games. Diaz got the better of the exchanges and held a 6-4 lead after the first round. The high pace continued in the second, but Valdez couldn’t dent Diaz’s advantage and the American took a 15-13 lead into the final round of action. Despite Valdez’s best efforts, Diaz held on to a one-point lead over the last three minutes to win a 22-21 final decision and clinch his Olympic berth. He will compete for a spot in the semifinal round on Wednesday in a bout with Cuban Lazaro Alvarez Estrada.

Spence won the final U.S. Olympic spot of the day in his welterweight showdown with the number one seed in the tournament, Hungary’s Imre Backsai. Once again, the American boxer took the key early lead in the bout. He claimed a 7-3 advantage after the first round of boxing in their welterweight contest. Backsai picked up the pace in the second but Spence matched his efforts as both boxers put 10 points on the board. Spence took a 17-13 lead into the last round but he didn’t rest on his advantage. The Dallas boxer kept his foot on the gas, pushing his lead to a 10-point margin to win a 26-16 final decision and an Olympic berth. Spence will compete in quarterfinal competition on Wednesday in a contest with two-time light welterweight World Champion Serik Sapiyev of Kazakhstan.

Light heavyweight Marcus Browne (Staten Island, N.Y.) was the first American boxer to compete in Tuesday’s third round action as he faced 2009 Heavyweight World Champion Egor Mekhontsev of Russia in the morning session. Browne stayed close through the first round, facing a slim 4-2 deficit after the opening stanza. Yet Mekhontsev began to pull away in the second, and following a warning for holding, Browne faced a 10-4 deficit as the final round began. Mekhonstev went on to win a 14-6 final decision over Browne to end his World Championships run.

Middleweight Jesse Hart (Philadelphia, Pa.) was the next U.S. athlete to take the ring in Baku, and he battled Kazakhstan’s Danabek Suzhanov in middleweight action. Hart grabbed a 5-3 advantage after a relatively slow paced first round of action. Yet the referee began to get highly involved in the second, taking his first of two points from Hart. The bout moved into the final round with the two boxers deadlocked at 9-9. After the referee took a second point from Hart in the third round, he looked to make up the points he lost with a strong two-punch combination. Yet when the final bell rang, it was Suzahanov winning the 17-15 decision to eliminate Hart from the 2011 World Championships.

Lenroy “Cam” Thompson (Lenexa, Kansas) closed the day for his U.S. team in a close bout with two-time Olympian Viktar Zuyev of Belarus. Like Hart, it was Thompson taking the first lead in his bout with the experienced Belarusian boxer. Thompson held a 6-4 edge after one round, but after the referee penalized Thompson in the second, Zuyev took a 13-11 advantage into the final round. Zuyev went on to win an 18-15 final decision over Thompson.

The three remaining U.S. competitors will all return to the ring on Wednesday in quarterfinal action in Baku.

USA Boxing National Coach Joe Zanders (Long Beach, Calif.), coaches Ronald Simms (Stafford, Va.) and Manny Robles (Los Angeles, Calif.), technical advisor Ken Porter (Akron, Ohio), and Team Manager Ken Buffington (Marshalltown, Iowa) are leading the United States team in Baku.

The 2011 World Championships are the first international qualifying tournament for the 2012 Olympic Games, and the light flyweight through light heavyweight boxers must place in top ten to qualify for London while the heavyweight and super heavyweight competitors need to place in the top six.

For the full brackets for all 10 weight classes and the most up-to-date results, go to For more information on Team USA, go to USA Boxing will tweet all the American results as they happen @usaboxing.

The first AIBA Men’s World Championships were held in 1974 in Havana, Cuba. The event, which consistently showcases the best boxers in the world, is held every two years.

U.S. Results
114 lbs: Rau’shee Warren, Cincinnati, Ohio/USA dec. Rey Saludar, PHI, 22-12

123 lbs: Joseph Diaz, Jr., S. El Monte, Calif./USA dec. Oscar Valdez, MEX, 22-21

152 lbs: Errol Spence, Desoto, Texas/USA dec. Imre Backsai, HUN, 26-16

165 lbs: Danabek Suzhanov, KAZ, dec. Jesse Hart, Philadelphia, Pa./USA, 17-15

178 lbs: Egor Mekhontsev, RUS, dec. Marcus Browne, Staten Island, N.Y./USA, 14-6

201+ lbs: Viktar Zuyev, BLR, dec. Lenroy “Cam” Thompson, Lenexa, Kansas/USA, 18-15

USA Boxing, as the national governing body for Olympic-style boxing, is the United States’ member organization of the International Amateur Boxing Association (AIBA) and a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).

Bam on boxing

Part of a Team

When you compare boxing to any of the four major sports—baseball, football, basketball, ice hockey--you will notice there are simply two guys in the ring battling. Yet you rarely to hear a fighter say he did it on his own. Fighters don’t do it alone! The pressure may be on them the night of the fight--to carry their team--but that night, as well as leading up to that night, is a team effort.

Fighters train side by side. In the amateurs they work as a team. Jump rope, shadow box, sit-ups, mitt-work--all done together. Olympic boxing is a team sport and no fighter will tell you otherwise.

When a fighter becomes a professional, everything changes. His team no longer consists of himself, his trainer and other fighters. The new team consists of the fighter, head trainer, cut man, manager, promoter, as well as others (public relations person, etc). It is crucial for a fighter to surround himself with people who have his best interest at heart; people who understand who he is and where he wants to go.

Unfortunately, it is rare to find modern-day managers who have more than a financial interest in the sport. Years ago, a fighter’s manager knew the business and the sport inside and out. Managers were gym rats. There were more fighters for managers to work with. Men like Joe Gramby, who also trained fighters, excelled at being a boxing manager. He worked with some of the best in the Philadelphia area, including Hall-of-Fame lightweight champion Bob Montgomery, as well as welterweight contenders Gil Turner (for a short time) and Charley Scott, light-heavyweight contender Richie Kates, heavyweight contender Randall “Tex” Cobb and super middleweight contender Tony Thornton, aka The Punching Postman.

Gramby was just as successful managing fighters in the 1970s and 1980s as he was in the 1940s and 1950s. He stuck to his old-school principles despite the changing times. He made the decisions and his fighters listened. Otherwise, what is the point of having a manager? Whether or not Gramby would be as effective in today’s world where athletes want more control is another question.

In the past, the fighter’s job was simply to fight. Fighters worked for managers then; managers work for fighters now. I’m not saying which system in better, but I am saying that the system that works for the entire group is the system that’s best for the fighter.

It seems more and more current managers become paper pushers. They give their fighter money, hoping the fighter ends up with a world title shot where the manager can recoup the money and then some. When a fighter has a manager who understands the fight game and makes the business decisions, that’s when you know the manager truly knows the fighter and is looking out for the fighter’s best interest.

When a fighter’s team is intertwined, they become family. If a fighter is lucky to have a team he can trust, chances are he is with the right people. They not only understand the importance of what goes on inside the ring, but also what goes on outside the ring. A fighter needs to know his team is there at all times.

One of my favorite local manager-fighter duos is Stephen Edwards and Julian J-Rock Williams. Edwards reminds me of the old-time managers, the ones who know the game. He knows his fighter inside and out because when Williams is up running, Edwards is right next to him. Edwards is more of a trainer-manager.

The sport needs managers who are at the fighter’s side. If not actually helping the fighter train, at least the manager knows the capabilities of his fighter. The way local manager Doc Nowicki checks in with his fighters (Mike Jones, Teon Kennedy, etc.) on a regular basis and the same with the way Jimmy Deoria is with Ronald Cruz. A potential manager should be like Edwards, Nowicki and Deoria and become part of the team on all occasions, not just on fight night.

A fighter has to trust his team and a fighter has to want to succeed. Different opinions are expected. Some teams don’t want their fighter fighting unless it will benefit them in the rankings. Others know the ring experience is benefit enough. It depends on the team’s outlook. Neither side it right or wrong--it is just an opinion.
A fighter should be ready and willing to fight at any time and the preparation starts with his team.

Article posted on 04.10.2011

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