NEW YORK – In advance of his upcoming move up to the light heavyweight division, WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Andre Ward (28-0, 15 KO’s) is vacating his title. Ward originally claimed the belt in November 2009 with a victory over long-time champion Mikkel Kessler in his opening fight of the Super Six tournament.
“I won the WBA belt for my first world title in 2009 and have defended it six times and it’s been a wonderful ride with the WBA,” Ward said. “Gilberto Mendoza and his team have shown me nothing but respect and I’m looking forward to moving up and hopefully winning the WBA light heavyweight belt.”
“Andre Ward has been one of the finest champions in the WBA super middleweight division’s history,” said WBA President Gilberto Mendoza Jr. “We have always been honored to be represented by such a great athlete, gentleman and incredible role model. We wish him the best success in the future and hope we can facilitate the path to him becoming a two-division world champion at light heavyweight.”
Ward’s six successful WBA title defenses came in victories over Allan Green, Sakio Bika, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Chad Dawson and Edwin Rodriguez.
Known for his strong character and integrity outside the ring and his warrior’s instinct inside it, Ward’s skill and talent were apparent early in his outstanding amateur career. He racked up every title in the books, culminating with a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. As the only male American boxer to claim Olympic gold since 1996, Ward joined the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya. He turned professional on December 18, 2004, scoring a second round technical knockout victory over Chris Molina at Staples Center in a fight that was televised live on HBO. He has gone on to rack up 27 more victories since then, building an ever-growing legion of fans in the process. After rising to the number two spot on the pound-for-pound list and winning the 2011 Fighter of the Year Award (ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America), it was announced that Ward signed an exclusive promotional agreement with Roc Nation Sports in January 2015, opening a new chapter in his storied boxing career. The Bay Area product returned to the ring on June 20, 2015 at the Oracle Arena in front of his hometown fans in Oakland, California and scored a ninth-round knockout over Paul Smith, continuing his unbeaten streak which dates back to when he was a 13-year-old amateur. Ward recently stepped in front of the camera for a completely different role, a part in the upcoming New Line/Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer/Warner Bros. feature “Creed,” hitting theaters on November 25, a few days following fight week. Fellow Bay Area natives, director Ryan Coogler and the film’s star Michael B. Jordan, reached out to Ward so that he could provide his expertise for the film. In addition to working in front of the camera with Ward, Jordan spent time at Ward’s home gym in preparation for his role as Apollo Creed’s son.