#WardBrand Press Conference, Lake Merritt, Oakland

#WardBrandOakland (12) OAKLAND, CA (August 4, 2016) – On Thursday, August 4, Roc Nation Sports hosted the final press conference for Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) and power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) at Lake Merritt Amphitheater in Oakland, California in advance of their August 6 fight at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Ward and Brand will meet in 12-round WBO Intercontinental title fight televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf sent senior special adviser, Penny Moore, to kick off the press conference with an official proclamation honoring Ward’s contribution to the city and declaring August 4 as Andre Ward Day.

On a dreary day along side Lake Merritt the bright spot was Andre Ward. The champ, the top pound per pound fighter, always is. There was about 20 reporters and cameras there; about double that in the audience. Each fighter had his team, family, friends; along with five other boxers from the undercard.

About four guys sat on each side of the dias, Andre and crew on the left side. One of the opening speakers was Tony Walker, representing HBO. One of the things he said was that Andre was a joy to work with.

Team Brand was up next. Their manager complimented Andre, noting that Andre has never lost a round (True?). Alexander Brand, using a translator, said ” I want to give a good show”, ‘I want a good fight”.

James Prince, noted that Brand has has over 400 fights and will not be taken lightly. Prince was corrected by the audience when he said that Andre hasn’t lost a fight since he was 13. Lots of “12” were hollered out. But he had the best line of the day- “We’re going to put a SOG brand on Brand” That got the audience going!

Virgil Hunter, Ward’s trainer, was up next: a man of few words. He wasn’t at the press conference after the last fight. It was good to see him and here a few words from him. Virgil encouraged everyone to buy tickets- the more we sell the more fights can be had in Oakland.

And then we had Andre Ward. He thanked everyone for coming out. He talked about how hard boxing is: leaving family and friends to train hard. ” It’s best to be here [Oakland]”. Andre wanted us to know how blessed he is.

Andre talked about the criticism he’s had in the past, such as around his law suit. ” I want to set the record straight- I don’t regret anything I went through. It’s not about where we’ve been, it’s about where we go”.

Andre stayed around a bit after the press conference for pictures and autographs. He looked good, relaxed.

Below is what the fighters and dais guests had to say at the press conference:

ANDRE WARD, Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter:

“The Bay Area is a beautiful place. I’m blessed to be here in my city and to represent you all. I’ve gotten a lot of heat in the press about fighting here but I won’t apologize. I dreamed about fighting here and being a headliner. We’re going to continue to headline. I’m thankful for all the sponsors that were named, HBO and everybody who supported on a small and big level.

“I’m excited about the future. I want to be the lightweight champion of the world, a two division champion. Everyone knows that, but it’s impossible for me to overlook this man (Brand). I’m not built like that. I wasn’t raised like that. I wasn’t groomed like that. As a young fighter, I don’t operate like that. This man is coming, this is his super bowl. Because this is his super bowl, it has to be my super bowl. My ribs are showing, I’m hungry. I’ll see you all Saturday night.”

ALEXANDER BRAND, Former WBC Latino Super Middleweight Champion:

“I want to thank you all for being here today. It’s a pleasure for me to be in this wonderful city. All I want to do is give a good show and make sure that I give that to my fans here in Oakland. I want to have a good fight and work hard. It’s really a true honor to be in the ring with a champion like Andre Ward.”

MICHAEL YORMARK, President and Chief of Branding & Strategy – Roc Nation:

“Over the last year and a half this city has become our home away from home, with Saturday marking Roc Nation Sports’ third big Bay Area fight in the last 16 months. More importantly, Oakland is also the home to the world’s greatest pound-for-pound boxer and Olympic gold medalist, your very own Andre Ward and now the new home of another Roc Nation star athlete, Kevin Durant. On Saturday at Oracle Arena and live on HBO, Andre looks to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand.”

VIRGIL HUNTER, Andre Ward’s Trainer:

“Thanks to the city of Oakland for coming out and supporting Andre. We hope you continue to do that as we continue to grow in his career and his journey. Much respect for Team Brand. We consider him a very formidable opponent. He cannot be taken lightly. We know he can fight, we know he is a great competitor. It is also an honor for us to be in the ring with him and his team.”

JAMES PRINCE, Andre Ward’s Manager:

“I like to thank God for this opportunity, HBO, Roc Nation, Antonio Leonard Promotions and Team Alexander Brand. Alexander Brand has over 400 amateur fights so this is an opponent we’re not taking lightly. Anybody who has 400 fights has a lot of experience so we look forward to fighting him. We had him on our radar a few months ago but we didn’t reel him in. We were injured and he got away from us. Come Saturday night, we’re going to put an S.O.G brand on Alexander Brand.”

ALEX CAMPONOVO, Alexander Brand’s Manager:

“It’s been a long road for Alexander Brand. He’s worked very hard to get where he is today. He was given the opportunity by HBO last December for a fight in Florida on HBO Latino and he showed his true colors. This is a great opponent, one of the greatest of all time, in Andre Ward. We know that this champion probably has never lost a round inside the ring and that is what Brand is here to do, to prove himself and to show that if you try and work hard, you can go very far.”

TONY WALKER, Vice President, HBO Pay-Per-View:

“On behalf of our executive Vice President Peter Nelson and the rest of the HBO Sports staff, I’d like to say that we’re very happy to be here in Oakland. We are looking forward to a great card on Saturday night. We’ve done three shows from Oracle, and each time, Andre Ward has put on an outstanding performance and showcased his skills as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world. We consider Andre one of the HBO family as he’s been able to showcase his skills, become one of the best boxers of this generation, recognized as a champion and he’s all done it with great character and great professionalism. He’s a joy to work with us at the network.

“I’d like to welcome Alexander Brand to the network as he’s here to spoil the party. Anytime you get in the ring, anything can happen as we’ve seen in boxing over the years. We welcome him and know that he’s going to give a great performance as he tries to elevate his own career.

“There seems to be an opportunity that people have been talking about this fall for Andre. With what we’ve seen in boxing over the past few years, I think we should wait to see what happens Saturday night, then start talking about what happens after that. The telecast starts at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT. We have a great broadcast crew, we guarantee you some informative and exciting discussion on boxing and a great night of television.”

——————–

Ward vs. Brand is a 12-round fight for the WBO Intercontinental title, presented by Roc Nation Sports and sponsored by Corona Extra, Verizon, ProSupps, Corporate Travel Management Solutions (CTMS), Jordan Brand, Shoe Palace, Kingsford, Autocom Nissan, Ticketmaster and The Clorox Company, supporting the Bay Area Community for over 100 years. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.

Tickets priced at $250, $100, $70, $40 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

For more information, visit www.hbo.com/boxing, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @HBOBoxing and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HBOBoxing.

Follow the conversation using #WardBrand.

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Andre Ward + Alexander Brand Media Workout

SHOWDOWN SET FOR SATURDAY, AUGUST 6 AT ORACLE ARENA IN OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA TELEVISED LIVE ON HBO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING ®

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OAKLAND, CA (August 3, 2016) – On Tuesday, August 2, Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) and power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) participated in a media workout at King’s Gym in Oakland, California in advance of their August 6 fight at Oracle Arena in Oakland. Ward and Brand will meet in 12-round WBO Intercontinental title bout televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.

After shadowboxing in the ring and a few rounds on the punching bags, both fighters participated in interviews with media members in attendance. Also on hand to catch the hometown hero were a dozen members of the West Oakland Boys and Girls Club chapter. Ward surprised the group of local youths with tickets to Saturday’s fight.

Below is what the fighters had to say during the final media workout:

ANDRE WARD, Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter:

“It was good to get back in camp right after the last fight. I was a lot sharper early in camp than I normally am. The last couple of years, typically, you have to get the rust off first, then work on getting sharp, work on technique and the game plan. This training camp was continuous of the last training camp, I probably put in over 130 rounds. I feel really good.

“I know enough about Brand. He’s got everything to gain and nothing to lose. He swings for the fences with every punch. He’s a dangerous guy to fight.

“It feels good to be back at Oracle Arena multiple times this year. I don’t know how much stock you can put into the last couple of years. A lot of people are talking about it, but people have to weigh in the amount of time I have been doing this, which is all my life. You look at Floyd Mayweather, he took a couple of hiatuses and it may have given him two or three more years. It was a mental break and it was a physical break. Taking those couple years where maybe you’re not fighting as frequently, it’s not always a bad thing, especially late in your career.

“I came up a little different in my Olympic days. Virgil Hunter is the type of coach who will get you away from everybody and turn your phone off. We didn’t have snapchat in 2004, we didn’t have Instagram in 2004. We had a room that we all had to huddle around with desktop computers where we all had to get news about what was going on. But now, in 2016, I see the USA team snapchatting and Instagramming. Part of you wants to tell them to shut it down and do it like I did it, but that may not be the right thing. Understand why you’re there, understand you’re not going to get this moment again. You don’t typically repeat when you go for the Olympics. Understand why you’re there, take it seriously and everything else will fall in place.

“The key is to have a good team. I’ve got a great lawyer, a great manager and a great promotional team in Roc Nation Sports. They are going to make sure the details are right. This is a very much a business, and before there’s combat, business has to be handled and taken care of. I think fighters and all athletes should be unapologetic about taking care of business. That way, when you get into that ring or field or court, your mind can be free.

“Unfortunately, our women don’t get the respect they deserve, they don’t get the notoriety. They don’t get the exposure that they probably should get. Raquel Miller, who will be on the card, and other female fighters, they do what we do. They’re training and grinding but they are not always noticed. I remember the Christie Martin days where she fought on the Mike Tyson undercards with Laila Ali. They got some good publicity and shine. However, there are so many other young female fighters coming up, ones who are established and have been fighting, whom people don’t know about. It’s a beautiful thing. I’m happy for Raquel and excited to have her on the card. I don’t believe when people say there is no market for women’s boxing. Let’s create a market then, let’s create some buzz!

“Sergey Kovalev is not on my mind at all. I’ve got a job to do. I haven’t even talked about Kovalev. We can talk about Kovalev on August 7th, that’s what I told my team. I didn’t watch his last fight, he’s not my next opponent but I know what happened and what people are saying about it.

“I’ve never seen Brand in person. It’s tricky, in my last fight, Sullivan Barrera was a little bit bigger than me. Everyone made a big deal about that, and Brand is smaller than me. You’ve got to be able to get it done, short or tall, explosive or wild. Brand is wild, so it’s going to take a few rounds to break him down and tame him before we start doing what we want to do. As a championship-caliber fighter, you’ve got to be able to deal with everything, every style and size. I’ve never seen the guy in person, so it’s hard to gauge.

“Taking away my opponents’ best weapon away is a skill that I developed as a kid, right here at King’s Gym. Virgil was a really, really good coach. He’s probably the last of the great teachers. I’ve been in here with pros at 13 and 14 years old. Seasoned veterans hitting me on my head, trying to discourage me, trying to bully me. I would go back to the corner and say, ‘Man he hit me on my head. Man he’s pushing my head back.’ And Virgil would say, ‘Then make him stop.’ In other words, I had to figure it out. Having those sessions here year after year, I had to get my respect in here first before I could even fight others. I had to learn to adjust here first before I had the chance to adjust in a big fight. So, it started here. And, it carried over. Even today, we bring in top sparrers. Sparring is different than a fight, but we bring in top sparrers to make sure my senses are on point. I don’t like to lose a second of a round so even when I am tired, I try to figure it out mentally. What can I do to offset him? How can I take that away from him? Exploit his weakness? That is constantly on my mind. I think it shows when the lights come on.

“Being back at home, it’s two-fold. Part of me wants to stop and take it in. Go down memory lane and remember all the times I’ve walked into the gym, all the battles I’ve had in here. Remember the good days and the bad days. Then there is another part of me that doesn’t like looking back too soon. I’ve got to stay in the moment. It’s kind of surreal. It’s surreal to be in the arena that I have driven past for years. Driving down 880 and wishing I could headline. I’m blessed. Not a lot of people get the opportunity. I know a lot of great fighters who didn’t get the opportunity for one reason or another. And to have that opportunity, I don’t take it lightly.

“I’ve been given a tremendous opportunity. God has blessed me a lot. There’s an inscription in the bible that says to whom much is given, much is acquired. He’s given me a talent, and I’m probably not the most talented, but I want to make sure I use it the best I can. I’m running my race right now in this professional game, and when I look back I want to say that I didn’t cheat anybody, that I gave everything that I had, and this is what I have to show for it. Finishing strong is really important to me. Becoming an all-time great is really important to me. I’m just giving God a return on his investment, because he’s invested a lot in me. I’m thankful.”

ALEXANDER BRAND, Former WBC Latino Super Middleweight Champion:

“I didn’t want to show too much at this media workout but I’ve got something in store for the day of the fight.

“It doesn’t really matter that the fight is in Ward’s hometown, it’s going to be a fight. Wherever it is, whether it’s in his backyard or anywhere else, I’m coming to fight and that’s the most important thing.

“It’s nothing new for me, I fought at 175 pounds in the amateurs. My last fight in December was at 175 pounds against an undefeated Russian when Andre Ward got hurt and couldn’t fight me on the Cotto-Canelo card.

“Whatever Ward brings, I’m going to have something for him.

“Ward still has 12 rounds to fight before he can think about Kovalev.”

Ward vs. Brand is a 12-round fight for the WBO Intercontinental title, presented by Roc Nation Sports and sponsored by Corona Extra, Verizon, ProSupps, Corporate Travel Management Solutions (CTMS), Jordan Brand, Shoe Palace, Kingsford, Autocom Nissan, Ticketmaster and The Clorox Company, supporting the Bay Area Community for over 100 years. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.

Tickets priced at $250, $100, $70, $40 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

For more information, visit www.hbo.com/boxing, follow on Twitter and Instagram at @HBOBoxing and become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/HBOBoxing.

Follow the conversation using #WardBrand.

Photo Credits: Roc Nation Sports/Tom Hogan – Hoganphotos

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2012 USA Women’s National Champion Raquel Miller Addedto Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand Undercard

marinaRoc Nation Sports is pleased to announce the addition of San Francisco’s Raquel Miller (1-0, 1 KO) to the undercard of Andre Ward vs. Alexander Brand at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California on August 6, 2016. This will be the first Roc Nation card to feature a female fighter.

Bayview-Hunters Point native Raquel “Pretty Beast” Miller will be making her second professional start since debuting against Sara Flores on May 21, 2016 in Richmond, California. In her augural pro fight, the former amateur standout wasted no time, scoring a technical knockout over her opponent within the first minute and 14 seconds of the first round. Miller was the 2012 Women’s World Championships Silver Medalist, 2012 USA Boxing Women’s National Champion and 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials Bronze Medalist, serving as the U.S Women’s Olympic alternate in the London Games. Miller will be taking on an opponent to be determined on August 6 at Oracle Arena.

Two-Time World Champion and top-rated pound-for-pound fighter Andre Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, August 6, to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs) at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. Ward vs. Brand is a 12-round fight for the WBO Intercontinental title, presented by Roc Nation Sports and sponsored by Corona Extra, Verizon, ProSupps, Corporate Travel Management Solutions (CTMS), Brand Jordan, Shoe Palace, Kingsford, Autocom Nissan, Ticketmaster and The Clorox Company, supporting the Bay Area Community for over 100 years. The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT.

Tickets priced at $250, $100, $70, $40 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, are available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

Ward-Brand Fight Week Schedule Open to the Public

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THURSDAY, AUGUST 4, 2016
1:00 p.m. ANDRE WARD VS. ALEXANDER BRAND FINAL PRESS CONFERENCE — OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!
Location: Lake Merritt Amphitheater – Between 12th Street and 1st Avenue, Lake Merritt Boulevard, Oakland, CA 94612

12:00 p.m. – Media + Fan Arrival
1:00 p.m. – Press Conference Begins

Roc Nation Sports will host the August 6 final press conference for Two-Time World Champion Andre Ward and power-punching Colombian Alexander Brand. Other guests on the dais will include Michael Yormark (President & Chief of Branding and Strategy – Roc Nation), Virgil Hunter (Ward Trainer), James Prince (Ward Manager), Alex Camponovo (Brand Manager).

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5, 2016
1:00 p.m. ANDRE WARD VS. ALEXANDER BRAND OFFICIAL WEIGH-IN — OPEN TO THE PUBLIC!!
Location: Oakland City Hall – 1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakland, CA 94612

12:00 p.m. – Media + Fan Arrival
1:00 p.m. – Weigh-In Begins
*Fans are encouraged to arrive early*

SATURDAY, AUGUST 6, 2016
2:45 p.m. ORACLE ARENA DOORS OPEN
Location: Oracle Arena – 7000 Coliseum Way, Oakland, CA 94621

3:30 p.m. FIRST FIGHT BEGINS
7:35 p.m. HBO WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING TELECAST BEGINS

A proud Oakland native, the undefeated Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, August 6 at Oracle Arena to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on power-punching Columbian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs). The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT. Follow the conversation using #WardBrand.

Tickets priced at $250, $120, $90, $40 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Tuesday, June 28 at 5:00 p.m. PT and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

Andre Ward on Hand for Team USA vs. Team China at Oracle Arena

Olympic Gold Medalist and Two-Time Boxing World Champion Andre Ward was on hand at Oracle Arena for the USA Basketball Showcase featuring Team USA vs. Team China on Tuesday night.

Ward cheered on fellow Roc Nation athlete and the newest Golden State Warrior Kevin Durant and Team USA as they cruised to victory by a score of 107-57.

A proud Oakland native, the undefeated Ward (29-0, 15 KOs) will return to the ring on Saturday, August 6 at Oracle Arena to continue his conquest of the light heavyweight division when he takes on power-punching Columbian Alexander Brand (25-1, 19 KOs). The event will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing® beginning at 10:35 p.m. ET/PT. Follow the conversation using #WardBrand.

Tickets priced at $250, $120, $90, $40 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Tuesday, June 28 at 5:00 p.m. PT and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

For more information, please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

All photos, courtesy of Khristopher “Squint” Sandifer

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