Sergey Kovalev promoter incensed by low blows during Ward TKO

Lynette Rowe
June 20, 2017

The California-native landed a massive right hand that stunned the Russian, and followed it up with a barrage to the body that forced Kovalev to his knees and referee Tony Weeks to stop the contest. Why did Tony Weeks stop the fight?

Ward not letting Kovalev get the big shots off. Kovalev connects to the face.

This was at 2:29 of the eighth round during Saturday night's light heavyweight unification title bout: Challenger Sergey Kovalev was doubled up on the ropes, and champion Andre Ward was about to hit him one more time after three ferocious uppercuts to the body.

Kovalev seemed to get the early advantage with his aggressiveness as he pressed forward with his punches while backing Ward up with a straight jab. "Great fighters have to raise their game to the next level, and that's what I had to do tonight".

After the fight, Kovalev's promoter Kathy Duva was incensed that Kovalev lost when he was hit below the belt.

"I don't have anything on the books right now for a cruiserweight fight, a heavyweight fight".

If the matchup isn't attractive enough, the two fighters have a genuine dislike for each other they were not afraid to voice this week. Ward conversely knew where he was going, Every clinch, he battered the Russian's body from the inside. But Kovalev was fading, just as he had in the first fight, and he picked up the pace.

Kovalev did the bulk of his damage to Ward's head in their first meeting, landing 89 percent (113 of his 126) of his total punches.

"Kovalev fought a good fight but once I compute a fighter in my brain and have him in there, I know what I need to do the next time around".

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"I told [the media] this week I have only trained Andre for a knockout twice", Hunter said. He didn't let me continue to fight. A low blow - and I felt this.

Ward, who won an Olympic gold in 2004 and hasn't lost a fight since he was 12, took a few rounds to find his mark but once he did the two engaged in close rounds that were hard to score.

Ward admitted he knew the punches were borderline but continued to attack in hopes of forcing the stoppage.

It's been a year of many firsts for the 26-year-old with only 10 professional fights.

But by the end of the first fight, both boxers were clearly fighting for a decision win and neither was looking for the finish. "It didn't hurt like I could go down on the floor but it was a low blow", Kovalev said. He appeared confident he would do just that, coming into the ring doing a little dance before turning to salute the crowd. "I didn't want him to be comfortable and I don't think he was". Both boxers are 6-feet tall and Ward is about 11 months younger than Kovalev.

Guillermo Rigondeaux (18-0, 12 KO) kept hold of his WBA Junior Featherweight title in dubious circumstances - depending on your opinion - with Rigondeaux knocking out challenger Moises Flores (25-1, 17 KO) with a left hook on/after the bell to close the 1st round.

"They can talk about the low blows but there were rabbit punches that he threw, too", Ward said.

A knockout "was only a matter of time", Rigondeaux said.

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