Roc Nation Sports and Main Events are pleased to announce the addition of four non-televised and two free-view fights, featuring a talented slate of ones to watch, to the undercard of Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” on Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The championship event featuring the highly anticipated main event and a full undercard, presented by Corona Extra, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
The non-televised portion of the action-packed undercard include Georgian Enriko Gogokhia (4-0, 2 KOs) vs. Jonathan Steele (7-0, 5 KOs) of Dallas, Texas, in a six-round welterweight bout; Russian Bakhram Murtazaliev (8-0, 6 KOs) vs. Gerald “G5” Sherrell (6-0, 2 KOs) of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in a six-round middleweight bout; North Bergen, New Jersey’s John Bauza (6-0, 3 KOs) vs. an opponent to be announced, in a four-round junior welterweight bout; and Brooklyn, New York’s Junior “The Young God” Younan (11-0, 8 KOs) vs. Hungarian Zoltan Sera (28-12, 19 KOs) in a six-round super middleweight bout.
The special free-view will begin at 7:00 p.m. ET/4:00 p.m. PT and will be available on YouTube.com/HBOBoxing, cable, satellite, and telco channels prior to the main event lineup. The first of two free-view telecasts pits undefeated top prospect Tramaine “Mighty Midget” Williams (10-0, 3 KOs) of New Haven, Connecticut, against tested veteran Christopher Martin (30-8-3, 10 KOs) of San Diego, California, in an eight-round junior featherweight showdown.
“A lot of people don’t even get one chance in life but I’m blessed to have gotten two, so I have to take advantage of it,” said Williams. “I don’t feel any different going into this fight, it’s just another day. My past success came from hard work and that was a gift. Christopher Martin is a good and tough fighter. He has been in there before against good opponents but they’re not Midget.”
“I’m looking to use my experience against Tramaine Williams on June 17,” said Martin. “I believe that is going to play a big part in me winning—whether by decision or knockout.”
“There are two main traits that are common amongst all successful people—sheer hard work, and the ability to overcome hardships and keep pushing. Tramaine possesses both of these traits, coupled with his God given talent, Midget is the real deal and soon everyone will know his name,” said Williams’s manager, Andre Prince.
“It’s great to see Tramaine Williams back on track and in the ring again,” said Michael Yormark, Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy. “He has always had the ability to ignite an audience which makes him the perfect fighter for the free-view portion of an action-packed night. Don’t miss the rise of a new star on June 17.”
In the second free-view telecast, a sure to be exciting eight-round middleweight fight, Vaughn Alexander (9-0, 6 KOs) of St. Louis, Missouri will take on Fabiano “Pit Bull” Pena (16-7-1, 13 KOs) originally from Miraselva, Parana, Brazil, but now fighting out of Tuxtla Gutierrez, Chiapas, Mexico.
When asked about the fight Alexander said, “I want to thank God, Main Events and my team. This has been a long time coming. I am inching closer to my dream and making steps towards domination.”
“I am prepared 100% to win this fight and then have a chance to face a top ten middleweight in my next fight,” said Pena.
Alexander’s manager, George Jakovic, added, “Vaughn can’t wait to get in the ring again. Fabiano Pena has been in with some experienced fighters but I can tell you that Vaughn takes no one lightly and he’s prepared for another victory. Vaughn’s story in and out of the ring is unprecedented and this is another step towards his goal, which is to become middleweight champion. With his mindset and having Main Events in his corner, the sky is the limit for Vaughn.”
“Whatever challenges we throw at Vaughn he rises to the occasion,” said Kathy Duva, CEO of Main Events. “He is jumping at the opportunity to perform in front of an international audience. I always look forward to watching him fight. He is always exciting!”
Enriko Gogokhia, (4-0, 2 KOs), 26, is originally from the country of Georgia and now lives and trains in Oxnard, California. He is a former professional kickboxer who ended his kickboxing career with a professional record of 42-7, 21 KOs. In his most recent fight, Gogokhia stopped Bryan Goldsby in the second round on the Sullivan Barrera vs. Paul Parker HBO Latino Boxing non-televised undercard at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut. This will be his first fight in Las Vegas and his first time fighting on a Pay-Per-View non-televised undercard as well.
Jonathan Steele (7-0, 5 KOs), 26, is a native of Dallas, Texas. In seven professional bouts, he has stopped five of his opponents for a 71% knockout-to-win ratio. He made his professional debut in 2013 with a second-round knockout over Christian Daniels in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Steele would go on to stop his next two opponents as well. In his most recent bout, he secured a close majority decision victory over the always-tough Marcus Beckford in Charenton, Louisiana. The judges scored the bout: 59-55, 57-57 and 58-56. This will be Steele’s fight time fighting in Las Vegas.
Bakhram Murtazaliev (8-0, 6 KOs), 24, is originally from Chelyabinsk, Russia, the same hometown as former light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev. He made his professional debut in 2014, in Russia, where he defeated the first six opponents he faced, stopping four of them. In November 2016, he made his US debut on the non-televised undercard of the first Kovalev-Ward bout with a second-round knockout over Botirsher Obidov of Andijan, Uzbekistan. In his most recent fight, he stopped Josue Ovando in the fourth round in Studio City, California in January of 2017. This young prospect is undefeated with a stellar 75% knockout-to-win ratio (six of eight).
Gerald “G5” Sherrell, (6-0, 2 KOs), 23, was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He made his professional debut in 2016 in his hometown with a first-round knockout over Turner Williams. He went on to win his next four fights, closing out 2016 with five wins and two knockouts. In his most recent bout, he defeated Danny Rosenberger via a unanimous decision victory. This will be his first fight outside of his home state of Pennsylvania.
John Bauza (6-0, 3 KOs), 19, was the number one rated youth amateur fighter in the nation at 141 pounds before turning professional on April 23, 2016 at the Roger L. Mendoza Coliseum in Caguas, Puerto Rico, where he scored a first-round knockout over Leroy Padilla. Bauza’s successful debut was followed by a televised fight on the acclaimed Boxeo Al Maximo series on Mega TV which took place in his family’s hometown of Cataño, Puerto Rico on June 4, where he notched a second round technical knockout victory over Mike Erosa. Bauza rounded out 2016 with three subsequent unanimous decisions against Jose Carmona, Christopher Russell and Rafael Francis. On April 22, 2017, at Claridge Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City, the prospect wasted no time knocking out Francis Gakpetor at the 17-second mark of the opening round. Bauza will put his undefeated record on the line in his Las Vegas debut, on June 17 against an opponent to be announced.
Junior “The Young God” Younan (11-0, 8 KOs), 21, has been touted as one of New York City’s best boxing prospects. An acclaimed amateur, Younan was the 2011 National Junior Golden Gloves champion and U.S.A. Boxing’s number one rated junior boxer in his weight class. Making his professional debut in 2013, Younan would go on to score six knockouts in his first seven fights. A nagging injury kept him out of the ring for most of 2015 but he has since returned with strong victories against Cristian Solorzano, Rodrigo Almeida and Jinner Guerrero. On March 28, at the Mountaineer Casino Ballroom in West Virginia, Younan pounded out a six-round unanimous decision over Miami’s Victor Darocha. Younan scored a knockdown in the third round and planted some vicious left hooks on Darocha, leaving no doubt on the judges’ final score cards (60-53 twice and 58-55). Younan will make his Las Vegas debut against Zoltan Sera on June 17.
Zoltan Sera (28-12, 19 KOs), 32, will be making his return to the American ring on June 17, after splitting his two most recent bouts in Germany (loss) and Hungary (win). The veteran boxer, who primarily fights in his native city of Budapest and Eastern Europe, was last seen stateside on the undercard of David Lemieux vs. Curtis Stevens in Verona, New York, where he was handed a fourth round technical knockout by D’Mitrius Ballard. Sera has had an active 2017 with five fights, already, in the first half of the year and will face Junior “The Young God” Younan on June 17 in Las Vegas.
Tramaine “Mighty Midget” Williams (10-0, 3 KOs), 24, showed no ill effects from a two-year layoff, impressively out boxing Eduardo Garza of Texas to win a unanimous eight-round decision at the Kansas Star Casino in Mulvane, Kansas on March 25, 2017. The undefeated southpaw floored Garza in the first and fourth rounds, wowing a live national television audience on CBS Sports Network. Touted since his teens, the Connecticut-native was a ten-time National amateur champion, a two-time Ringside World champion and a four-time Silver Gloves champion. On June 17, Williams returns to the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas where he made his pro boxing debut at age 19.
Christopher Martin (30-8-3, 10 KOs), 30, has shared the ring with world champions Gary Russell Jr., Jhonny Gonzalez and top prospects including Miguel Marriaga, Daniel Roman, Roberto Castaneda, Teon Kennedy, Luis Orlando Del Valle and Chris Avalos. Most recently, Martin stopped USBA Featherweight Champion Daniel “Twitch” Franco in the third round of a non-title fight, handing the young lion his first career loss.
Vaughn Alexander (9-0, 6 KOs), 31, is the older brother of former world champion Devon Alexander. Alexander made his professional debut back in 2004 with five straight victories, four of which were knockouts. Then he was sent to prison for 12 years and was released early last year. Since returning to the ring, he has four straight victories and has added two more knockouts to his resume. In April, he made his television debut with his appearance on HBO Latino Boxing. Alexander was originally scheduled to fight on the non-televised undercard of the Sullivan Barrera vs. Paul Parker telecast but when the co-feature fell out at the last-minute Alexander’s match-up with Andres Calixto Rey was extended from eight to ten rounds and added to the HBO Latino telecast.
Fabiano “Pit Bull” Pena (16-7-1, KOs), 29, made his professional debut back in 2012 and has been a very active fighter over the last five years. Last year, he fought on six separate occasions including a bout against current WBC International Light Heavyweight Champion, Joe Smith Jr. in April. Smith managed to stop Pena in the second round but Fabiano had four more fights in 2016 going 3-1, 3 KOs in the remainder of 2016. In his most recent fight, he took on the always-dangerous Tureano Johnson in March of this year. Like Smith, Johnson managed to stop Pena early but this has not stopped him from continuing to pursue bouts with top middleweights.
Before fans at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and those watching live on pay-per-view are treated to the much-anticipated rematch between Andre “S.O.G.” Ward and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev for the WBO, WBA and IBF Light Heavyweight World Titles on June 17, they will be excited by another stellar light heavyweight match-up between Dmitry Bivol (10-0, 8 KOs) and Cedric “L.O.W.” Agnew (29-2, 15 KOs). This 10-round bout is presented by Main Events and World of Boxing in association with DiBella Entertainment. The championship event, presented by Corona Extra, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT
“Cedric Agnew is the opponent with the biggest name in my career so far,” said Bivol. “He is an experienced fighter and is well-skilled defensively. The Kovalev and Ward rematch is the most important fight in the light heavyweight division right now and I am honored to be part of such an event. I am very motivated and excited about this fight and I am anxious to showcase my skills in the mecca of boxing of Las Vegas, USA live on one of the top boxing networks of HBO Pay-Per-View.”
Bivol’s promoter Andrei Ryabinsky of World of Boxing added, “Only two months after his last victory in the USA on June 17, Dmitry Bivol will come back into the ring against Cedric Agnew. This fight will be aired live on HBO Pay-Per-View as part of the telecast of the Ward vs. Kovalev rematch. It makes me happy that two boxers from Russia will headline such an important boxing event and I will be rooting for them!”
Finally, Bivol’s manager, Vadim Kornilov, said, “Initially Kathy Duva reached out to us about fighting Barrera on the Ward-Kovalev II card and we had to make a decision quickly. Even though Barrera chose to take another fight, Kathy came forward with another opponent to stick to her offer and keep Bivol on the card. It has been a pleasing experience in putting this fight together with Kathy and the rest of the Main Events team. In his last fight against Samuel Clarkson in April, Dmitry Bivol has proven that he is one of the major forces in his division and started building a US fan base for his aggressive and exciting style. On June 17, he will face Cedric Agnew on HBO Pay-Per-View in a fight where not only will he have to perform up to his reputation, but also be at his best on the biggest stage of his professional career. Bivol is in the third week of camp in Los Angeles with his trainer Genndaii Mashyanov and will be ready to shine come June 17.”
Bivol will face a great challenge with Agnew who replied, “This is my destiny and I won’t let anything or anyone stop me from conquering it. I will show everyone on fight night how serious I am. Team L.O.W.”
Main Events CEO Kathy Duva said, “Working with World of Boxing, Andrei, Vadim and Dmitry has been a delight. We were originally talking to them about facing Sullivan Barrera on the Ward-Kovalev 2 undercard, which would have been a huge step up for Dmitry Bivol, and he and his team did not hesitate in taking that fight. When Sullivan was offered a bigger opportunity against Joe Smith Jr. on HBO on July 15, it just made sense to stick with Bivol, who is a rising talent in the light heavyweight division, and find him an opponent. That part was not easy! All credit to Cedric Agnew who was willing to take on this undefeated prospect.”
“We’re aware that Bivol is considered the next big thing,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “Cedric Agnew is a true professional and a quality boxer. He was not an easy out for Kovalev. I don’t expect that he will be an easy out for Bivol. Agnew will show up to win.”
Dmitry Bivol (10-0, 8 KOs) is quickly making a name for himself as the next big knockout artist in the light heavyweight division. The 26-year-old from Tokmak, Kyrgyzstan, now residing in Saint Petersburg, Russia, made his professional debut in 2014 with a sixth-round knockout over Jorge Rodriguez Olivera. He has won his first 10 professional bouts with eight of those wins coming by way of the knockout for an 80% knockout-to-win ratio. In 2016, he handed Felix Valera his only career loss with a lopsided unanimous decision victory to secure the WBA Interim Light Heavyweight World Title. In February of this year, he had his first defense of his WBA Title with a fourth round TKO over Robert Berridge. Less than two months after his win over Berridge, he travelled to the US and stopped Samuel Clarkson in the fourth round in his second title defense of the WBA Interim Light Heavyweight World Title.
Cedric “L.O.W.” Agnew (29-2, 15 KOs), is a seasoned veteran southpaw despite still being in the prime of his career at age 30. He made his professional debut in 2007 with a second-round knockout and went on to win his next 25 fights in a row, stopping 12 of those opponents. Next, he challenged then WBO Light Heavyweight World Champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev who stopped him in the seventh-round back in 2014. Since, he loss to Kovalev he is 3-1, 2 KOs. His only other loss is a controversial split-decision against Samuel Clarkson, the young southpaw prospect from Texas. Two judges scored the bout 76-75 in favor of Clarkson and one judge scored the bout 76-75 in favor of Agnew. He holds notable wins over Yusaf Mack, Otis Griffin and Daniel Judah. In his most recent bout he stopped Martin Verdin in the second-round in February of this year.
Luis Arias faces Arif Magomedov on Ward vs. Kovalev II undercard
USBA Middleweight Champion Luis “Cuba” Arias (17-0, 8 KOs) and prime contender Arif “The Predator” Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs) will lead off the HBO Pay-Per-View lineup for Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” on Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The championship event, presented by Corona Extra, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Arias will be defending his title and undefeated record against one of the division’s top prospects. Magomedov has previously held the WBO’s Inter-Continental, Youth and NABO middleweight titles with only a single career loss coming against Andrew Hernandez for the vacant WBC USNBC middleweight title. Both fighters are eager to make an impression during their Las Vegas debut.
“Finally my opportunity has come. The road to the big stage has been long but it’s here and I’m ready. It’s time to prove to the world that I am a threat to anyone in this division. I have been saying it for some time, my record shows it, but now I’ll get the chance to prove it,” said Arias. “I’m coming to make a statement on June 17! My opponent has been beat before and will be beat again. Thanks to Roc Nation Sports and my handlers for making this happen. A new star will be born.”
“My goal is to be a world champion. I have been waiting for a fight like this. Arias is a tough opponent but I will be ready for him,” said Magomedov. “I am so excited to work with my new trainer, Marco Contreras and to fight on HBO Pay-Per-View. Be ready for ‘The Predator’ on June 17.”
“If the heat between the Ward-Kovalev rivalry hasn’t been felt yet, then the cross promotional matchup of Roc Nation Sports’ Luis Arias and Main Events’ Arif Magomedov will certainly add fuel to the fire,” said Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy Michael R. Yormark. “We are excited to have USBA Middleweight Champion Luis Arias make his Las Vegas debut and open the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast with a title defense on June 17 against Arif Magomedov.”
“Arif has been ready for this fight since the first Kovalev-Ward card in November. We are so pleased to finally give him this match-up,” said Main Events CEO Kathy Duva. “This is a huge opportunity for both Arif and Luis to test themselves on such a big stage. A win or a good showing by either fighter could catapult them in the rankings and put them on the map in this stacked middleweight division.”
USBA Middleweight Champion Luis “Cuba” Arias (17-0, 8 KOs), 26, takes great pride in his Cuban heritage. The Milwaukee-native chose his nickname in homage to his father’s homeland and its people, honoring them each time he steps into the ring. A former USA junior amateur standout, Arias made his professional debut on November 10, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, where he defeated Josh Thorpe via a four-round unanimous decision. Since joining Roc Nation Sports in February of 2015, Arias has advanced his undefeated record, paving way for his first title shot on August 20, 2016. In a homecoming at the Milwaukee Center, Arias captured the vacant USBA Middleweight title with a stoppage of Detroit’s Darryl Cunningham at the 1:11 mark of the fourth round. Arias successfully defended his title on March 31, 2017 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Virginia’s Scott Sigmon. All three judges scored the fight 99-91 for Arias who put on a potent body punching display to settle a long-standing grudge with Sigmon.
Arif “The Predator” Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs), 24, is a middleweight from Kizlyar, Russia. He made his professional debut in January of 2013 when he earned a decision win over Ruslan Sirazhev in Russia. Magomedov would go on to finish 2013 with a bang, posting a record of 8-0 with 6 KOs and none of those six opponents made it past the third round. He made his US debut in April of 2015 when he unanimously outpointed tough journeyman Derrick Findley. In May of 2015, he earned one of the biggest wins of his career when he scored a first-round knockout over the always tough and durable Darnell Boone. In July of 2015, Magomedov cruised to a unanimous decision win over previously undefeated and rising prospect Derrick Webster. In his most recent bout, Magomedov scored a second-round TKO over Chris Herrmann in Moscow, Russia. Arif is co-promoted by Main Events and Shamo Boxing and managed by Egis Klimas.
Ward vs. Kovalev 2: “The Rematch,” a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, sponsored by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and Powered by Monster. The championship event takes place Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets for Ward-Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” are available on axs.com and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center box office.