On Monday July 13 in one of boxing's worst kept secrets it was announced during a press conference that Shotwime would be holding a super middleweight tournament featuring Arthur Abraham, Andre Dirrell, Carl Froch, Mikkel Kessler, Jermain Taylor, and Andre Ward. Promoters and fighters made media stops in New York and then Copenhagen and took to the podium to share their thoughts on being part of the epic event.
Noticeably absent from the group was 2004 Olympic gold medalist and world rated contender Andre "SOG" Ward who joined his fellow combatants in Berlin on Tuesday to participate in the pre-fight festivities.
Said Ward, "I am disappointed that I was unable to make the first portions of the announcement tour, but as soon as I was physically able, I flew out to join my fellow competitors. I am not 100 percent recovered from the flu, but I feel it's important to be here and I am excited about the tournament."
Ward, the Oakland, CA native, is coming off of the biggest win of his professional career as he pounded out a one sided unanimous decision over the rugged Edison Miranda. Ward looks to keep the momentum going as he challenges WBA super middleweight king Mikkel Kessler in the first stage of the tournament.
Kessler, now two fights removed from his lone loss to Joe Calzaghe, will be making the third defense of his belt.
"I am the WBA World Champion, the most experienced fighter in the tournament, and I will prove my class."
The two remaining first stage bouts will have former middleweights Arthur Abraham, who recently vacated his IBF crown, taking on former champion Jermain "Bad Intentions" Taylor. Meanwhile Carl Froch's WBC 168 lb. title will be up for grabs as he defends it against promising contender Andre Dirrell.
Ward, the bay area boxing star, may not have been too pleased about being the last fighter to join the press conferences.
But come the end of the tournament he'll be more than happy to be the last man standing.
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