2012-09-08 Andre Ward w rsc 10 Chad Dawson, Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, USA - WBA/WBC/The Ring

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2012-09-08 Andre Ward w rsc 10 Chad Dawson, Oracle Arena, Oakland, California, USA - WBA/WBC/The Ring. Referee: Steve Smoger.

With Brian Magee, the WBA ‘interim’ champion, due to challenge Karoly Balzsay for his WBA ‘second tier’ title, the fight was called off twice due to the latter suffering a back injury. In early November, Magee was awarded the WBA ‘second tier’ title, having already been booked to fight Mikkel Kessler on 8 December at the MCH Fair Centre Arena, Herning, Denmark. The fight duly took place, Kessler winning by a third-round stoppage.

Earlier, on 10 November, Stanyslav Kashtanov outpointed Server Yemurlayev over 12 rounds at the Druzhba Sports Palace, Donetsk, Ukraine, to win the vacant WBA ‘interim’ title.

Due to Ward’s long-term shoulder injury, the WBC vacated the title on 11 April 2013. Following that, Ward was named as their ‘emeritus’ champion and told that he would be the prime challenger when fully fit again. However, once the WBC decided that Sakio Bika would be meeting Marco Antonio Periban for the vacant title on 22 June, Ward effectively discarded the ‘emeritus’ tag on a matter of principle. Bika had beaten Nikola Sjekloca (w pts 12 at the Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, New Jersey on 16 February) in a final eliminator, while Periban had knocked out Samuel Miller (w co 2 at the Grand Oasis Resort, Cancun, Mexico on 16 March) to win the vacant NABF title.

When Carl Froch successfully defended his IBF title against Kessler (w pts 12 at the O2 Arena, Greenwich, London on 25 May 2013) he also took over the latter’s WBA ‘second tier’ title.

On 24 August 2013, Kashtanov made a successful defence of his WBA ‘interim’ title when outpointing Jaime Barboza over 12 rounds at the Donbass Arena, Donetsk, Ukraine, prior to announcing his retirement on 2 September 2014 following health problems.

In a fight in which Ward was down to defend The Ring and WBA belts against Edwin Rodriguez at the Citizen’s Business Bank Arena, Ontario, California on 16 November 2013, when the latter came in two pounds over the weight it lost its title status. With Rodriguez unable to win the title, Ward cantered to 12-round points victory.

A week later, on 23 November, Froch made a successful defence of the WBA ‘second tier’ title when defeating George Groves (w rsc 9 at the Phones 4u Arena, Manchester, England), and followed that up with another win over Groves (w rsc 8 at The Stadium, Wembley, London, England on 31 May 2014). On both occasions, Froch's IBF title was also on the line.

Following Kashtanov's retirement, Fedor Chudinov won the vacant WBA 'interim' title when knocking out Ben McCulloch in the second round at the Dynamo Sports Palace, Moscow, Russia on 11 December 2014.

In February 2015 Ward was stripped of The Ring recognition for not making a defence against a top-five man for over two years.

On 9 May 2015, Chudinov outpointed Felix Sturm over 12 rounds at the Festival Hall, Frankfurt, Germany. The contest was originally billed as a defence of Chudinov's 'interim' crown, but after Froch had been stripped two days earlier for not defending the 'second tier' title it was the latter belt that was on the line.