Boxing superstar and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward officially vacated his WBA super middleweight title Thursday, as he pursues a showdown with WBO, IBF and WBA light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. The move means, after much speculation, Ward (28-0, 15 KOs) is officially moving up to light heavyweight to pursue bigger challenges against bigger opponents.
From 2009-13, Ward defended the belt six time in victories over Allan Green, Sakio Bika, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Chad Dawson and Edwin Rodriguez. Ward has not defended the title since a lopsided decision win against Edwin Rodriguez in November 2013.
Ward said in a statement:
“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. 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.”
Ward’s WBA super middle weight title reign was a successful one, marred by contract controversy and injuries that have kept Ward relatively inactive with only three fights in the last three years. Despite his inactivity, Ward essentially cleaned out the super middleweight division by beating all of the top names.
Besides the remarkable streak of title defenses, Ward will carry on continuing his unbeaten streak which dates back to when he was a 13-year-old amateur.
He was supposed to debut as a light heavyweight in the co-featured bout on the Miguel Cotto vs. Saul “Canelo” Alvarez pay-per-view card Nov. 21, but a knee injury has postponed the start of his career at 175 pounds.
With Jay Z’s Roc Nation Sports as his new promoter, Ward hopes to land a mega fight with Kovalev by 2016.