Name: Andre Ward
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA
Hometown: Oakland, California, USA
Height: 6′ 0″ / 183cm
Reach: 71″ / 180cm
Boxing Record: click
Trainer: Virgil Hunter
Manager: James Prince
Promoters: Goosen Tutor Promotions and Antonio Leonard
On September 8, 2012, in Oakland, California, Andre Ward was on his way to superstardom when he knocked down the well-established and respected Chad Dawson three times before finally ending the bout in the 10th round. Ward, spurred on by the home crowd at Oracle Arena, gave his fans something to cheer about when in round three he caught Dawson with a left hook, putting Dawson on the canvas for the first time in the bout. Ward kept the pressure on in the following round catching Dawson with a short left hook again putting him on the canvas. Ward continued the domination of Dawson through the tenth round, where Ward put the finishing touches on Dawson, buckling his legs and knocking Dawson down for the final time when the referee stopped the bout. The performance generated a buzz throughout the sport that Ward was on his way to becoming the most dominant force in boxing.
Ward followed up his best performance against Dawson with the announcement that he was taking on former world champion Kelly Pavlik on January 26, 2013 at the Galen Center at USC in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, in December while training for the bout, Ward suffered an injury to his shoulder ultimately resulting in surgery and the cancellation of the Pavlik bout.
Following his surgery, Ward focused fully on his intensive recovery from the shoulder injury, putting all his energy into his physical therapy. Once cleared by his team of doctors to resume boxing training, the search was on for his next date and opponent. Initially targeting a September 2013 return, Ward eventually settled on a November 16, 2013 date to get back into the ring. Nearly fourteen months from the Dawson fight, Ward certainly isn’t taking the slow road back to the top and instead is challenging another undefeated super middleweight, Edwin “La Bomba” Rodriguez, the #1 world-rated fighter in the world. Rodriguez (24-0, 16 KOs), a strong and confident twenty-eight year old, believes it’s his time to defeat the invincible Ward.
Rodriguez won’t be the biggest name on Ward’s resume, but he’s the latest undefeated fighter to take on Ward that hasn’t held a world championship belt around his waist. On December 17, 2011 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, Ward captured the WBC world championship belt, the Ring Magazine belt and the Super Six Championship Cup. The victory was the culmination of a 25-month gauntlet of one champion after another, in an unprecedented tournament pitting the elite of the super middleweights against one another in a round robin tournament.
Ward’s sterling performances against both Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham in 2011 earned Ward the highly-coveted ESPN and Sports Illustrated “Fighter of the Year” awards, topping it off with the prestigious Boxing Writers Association of America “Fighter of the Year” award. Also taking home hardware that year was Andre’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, who was named “Trainer of the Year.”
After the highly anticipated culmination of the Super Six tournament, the new multi-world champion told the media “believe it or not… I can still get better.” True to his words, Ward was well on his way after his thorough and exciting destruction of Dawson.
His rise to the top of the sport moved quickly following his selection to participate in the groundbreaking Super Six World Boxing Classic super middleweight tournament despite few pundits picking him to emerge from the pack of more experienced and accomplished opponents.
In his first Super Six Bout, Ward fought and beat the tournament favorite, Mikkel Kessler, on November 21, 2009 in Oakland, CA. Andre fulfilled his dream and a goal he set for himself at the tender age of nine to become a world champion when he completely dominated the “Viking Warrior” with his superior speed and punching accuracy en route to an 11th-round TKO victory. The victory – in front of 12,000 supportive hometown fans --gave Andre two points in the tournament, as well as the WBA Super Middleweight Championship and raised many eyebrows taking the title from the tournament favorite with such a dominant performance.
In his second Super Six contest in Oakland on June 19, 2010, Ward successfully defended his world title for the first time by pitching a virtual shutout against knockout artist Allan Green, a replacement for Taylor, who retired after being knocked out by Abraham. The two points earned in the victory increased Ward’s total to a tournament-leading four points and secured him the only guaranteed spot in the semi-finals.
Andre’s scheduled third Super Six opponent --fellow 2004 Olympic medalist Andre Dirrell --had to pull out of the tournament. Despite already clinching a semifinal berth, on November 27, 2010, Andre put his world title on the line in a non-tournament bout against the rugged top-ten contender and current world champion Sakio Bika (28-4-2, 19 KOs). But the native of Cameroon was no match for the ever-improving American, who beat Bika at his own rugged game in taking another one-sided unanimous decision.
On May 14, 2011, Andre put his world title on the line for the third time against “King” Arthur Abraham in the semifinals of the Super Six World Boxing Classic at the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. Boxing masterfully, Andre’s skills and speed again were more than the hard-hitting Armenian could handle as Ward took another one-sided unanimous decision to advance to the Finals of the Super Six to face Froch.
He capped the tournament off with another unanimous decision win over the trash talking Froch on December 17, 2011 in the Super Six finale.
From the day that the late Frank Ward took his nine-year-old son to meet veteran trainer Virgil Hunter at King’s Gym in Oakland, CA for his first boxing lesson -learning how to hit without getting hit ---it was clear that Ward had the desire and raw talent to do something special in the sport. The elder Ward wasn’t quite sure that first day in the gym, but fortunately he listened to Hunter’s sage advice to give him some time in the sweet science.
It’s been some journey for Andre through these years as Ward racked up every accolade in the game, advancing to the number two spot on the sport’s pound-for-pound list. “My dad was my inspiration in my personal and professional life, and it was very satisfying to become a gold medalist for my country and a world champion for my family,” said Ward. “I display that love and devotion of my dad with his initials on my trunks.”
Andre’s desire, talent and strong faith in God, has enabled the 29-year old “S.O.G.” (Son of God) as Ward is known, to work his way from the streets of San Francisco and Oakland as a teenager to Olympic Gold and an unbeaten professional record with multiple world championship belts. This extraordinary talent is managed by James Prince.
According to Hunter, who doubles as Andre’s mentor and godfather, Ward outworked everybody including Hunter’s teenage fighters, showing maturity well beyond his years growing up and has kept the work ethic ever since. Andre and Hunter have been inseparable, and the duo plan to rise to new levels inside the ring.
Ward’s last loss in a bout, amateur or pro, came at the tender age of 12, where he lost a controversial decision against the current twice beaten professional Jesus Gonzales (27-2, 14 KOs). His crowning moment as an amateur came at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece when he beat Magomed Aripgadjiev, of Belarus, for the gold medal in the light heavyweight division.
The historical significance of his Olympic Gold medal has not been lost on Andre and he has continued in the path of those who have gone before him, such as Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) who won the Gold in 1960, Joe Frazier in 1964… George Foreman in 1968… Sugar Ray Leonard in 1976… and Oscar de la Hoya in 1992—all great Olympians, who went on to have great and notable professional careers.
Andre eyes a bright and ambitious view for his future. “I want to be a prototype and blaze a new path for fighters who not only start well, but finish strong. So many fighters have a great start to their career, but don’t have much to show for their life outside the ring. I want to start well, be strong, and finish strong, both physically and financially. And I want to show other fighters how to finish strong too. I want to retire from boxing, not have boxing retire me.
Following the Dawson fight and facing the reality of having to take the many months to rehabilitate his shoulder keeping him out of the ring, Ward turned his attention to his exploits outside the ring and entered into a multi-year deal with HBO to become one of their new faces on their boxing telecasts. Andre has appeared on several HBO telecasts to date and his expert analysis and overall on-air presence have been well received. “I have so much knowledge and love for the sport, and it has been great to be able to share that with fans.”
FAMILY: Andre was raised in the Bay Area by his parents, Frank and Madeline. His godfather, trainer and mentor Virgil Hunter and his wife Millicent, have long been parental figures in Andre’s life, especially after his dad’s passing. Andre’s immediate family consists of wife Tiffiney, sons Andre, Jr. (age 12), and Malachi (11), Micah (1) and daughter Amira Lecian (5).
EDUCATION: Andre attended public school in the Hayward, California school system. He went to Fairview Elementary School and the Bret Harte Middle School before going on to Hayward High School. He left school a year before graduating and says he plans on finishing someday, although his education in the Christian faith is ongoing.
A multi-sport athlete, Andre was an All-Star baseball player in Little League and Pony League, but concentrated on football in school. As a running back and strong safety, Andre attracted interest from Oregon State University and several junior colleges.
WHY BOXING: When he was a youngster, Andre’s father, who was 15-0 as a heavyweight, used to tell him stories about how he trained and some of the rivals he had. Andre is driven like his father, and he wanted to follow in his footsteps as a boxer. So they went to the gym one day and worked with the house trainer and met Virgil Hunter. They invited Virgil to their home for dinner and Andre worked out on the deck outside the house, which was shaped like a boxing ring. With Andre’s fast hands hitting the mitts, Virgil liked what he saw, and they have been together ever since, going on 18 years.
Andre’s father remains a guiding influence even though he passed away in 2002, when Andre was 16 and had yet to win the Gold. All of Andre’s fights are dedicated to his dad, Frank. Virgil Hunter, who became Andre’s godfather, has been a strong adult role model in Andre’s life, especially since his dad’s passing. As his trainer, Hunter always takes a long-term, career view over short-term gain. Hunter is widely viewed as an unorthodox trainer and keeps his methods close to his vest, a method that has achieved tremendous results and placed him amongst the best trainers.
- Amateur Record: 114-5
- 2001 United States Amateur Middleweight Champion
- 2003 United States Amateur Light Heavyweight Champion
- 2004 Qualified as a light heavyweight for the United States Olympic Team. Results were:
- 2004 Light Heavyweight Gold Medalist for the United States at the Olympics in Athens, Greece. Results were:
- Has a record of 7-0 (1 KO) in World Title fights.
- Has a record of 5-0 (1 KO) against former or current world titlists:
- Has a record of 2-0 (2 KOs) in fights outside his native United States.
Regional & Minor Titles
The Ring Magazine Titles
- World Super Middleweight Title (2011-present)
Transnational Boxing Rankings Board Titles
- World Super Middleweight Title (2011-present)
- World Super Middleweight Title (2011-present)
Awards & Recognition
- Boxing Writers Association of America Fighter of the Year (2011)
- The Ring Magazine Fighter of the Year (2011)
| WBA Super Middleweight Champion
2009 Nov 21 – present
| WBC Super Middleweight Champion
2011 Dec 17 – 2012 Apr 26
Declared Champion in Recess
2012 Apr 26 – 2012 May 15
Champion in Recess
2012 May 15 – 2013 Apr 11