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Andre Ward Fighting Paul Smith June 20 on BET

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BET NETWORKS ANNOUNCES EXCLUSIVE BROADCAST PARTNERSHIP

TO TELECAST ROC NATION SPORTS throne boxing EVENTS LIVE

WITH PREMIERE MAIN EVENT TO FEATURE

WBA SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION ANDRE WARD

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WARD TO FACE PAUL SMITH ON JUNE 20, 2015

AT ORACLE ARENA IN OAKLAND, CALIFORNIA LIVE ON BET

NEW YORK — April 23, 2015— BET Networks is pleased to announce that it is stepping into the ring with Roc Nation Sports as their exclusive broadcast partner to air live throne boxing events on the network.

The partnership between BET Networks and Roc Nation Sports is the first of its kind for the network and includes airing up to nine live, two-hour telecasts of Roc Nation Sports throne boxing events over the next 18 months.

The first main event fight to air on BET Networks will feature WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Andre Ward (27-0, 14 KO’s) facing former World Title Challenger Paul Smith (35-5, 20 KO’s) of England on Saturday, June 20, 2015 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California. In addition to the great action inside the ring, the telecast will feature several notable Roc Nation touches that offer an unprecedented fan experience, including a live musical performance and a name DJ to keep the energy at a high level throughout the night.

Fans can catch the action live on BET in the United States and globally on TIDAL.com, the newly launched music streaming service that combines the best high fidelity sound quality, high definition music videos and expertly curated editorial.

Tickets priced at $250, $125, $90, $60 and $30, not including applicable service charges and taxes, go on sale Friday, April 24 at 10:00 AM PT and will be available at all Ticketmaster locations, online at Ticketmaster.com and charge by phone at (800) 745-3000.

“BET is constantly searching for ways to expand its portfolio of content with the sole goal of satisfying our audiences,” said Stephen G. Hill, President of Programming, BET Networks. “Roc Nation is doing very exciting things in the entertainment space and we are excited to partner with them on this groundbreaking deal positioning BET Networks as a go-to destination for premier live boxing events. Together, we’ll provide unique entertainment.”

“We’re thrilled to not only be introducing our newest broadcast partnership with BET Networks, but also to use this new platform to telecast Andre Ward’s highly anticipated return to the ring,” said David Itskowitch, COO – Boxing of Roc Nation Sports. “On June 20, we will once again provide fans a night of exciting throne boxing fights, live musical entertainment and an unprecedented fan experience.”

“I’m very excited to be coming back on June 20 at Oracle Arena in my hometown of Oakland which has been a long time coming,” said Ward. “I’m equally excited to be fighting on BET in front of a potential viewership of over 90 million homes. As a fighter, this diversifies my portfolio and puts me in front of a whole different audience.

I have an extremely tough fighter in front of me in Paul Smith who’s looking to pull the upset, but I can’t let that happen. I have to be on my best game to turn Smith away and beat him the way I want to beat him. As always, I’m ready to put on a tremendous performance in front of my hometown fans and those watching on BET. This is a fight you don’t want to miss.”

“I cannot wait to get back in the ring and test myself against a class act like Andre Ward. I proved that I belong at the top level with my performances against Arthur Abraham and this is a challenge that I am relishing,” said Smith. “Andre is a top pound-for-pound fighter and someone I respect a lot, but he has only boxed once in almost three years and I will give it everything I have got. I am fresh and confident going into this fight. It’s a massive opportunity for me and one that I took with both hands when it was offered. I have spent a lot of time boxing in the United States and I look forward to returning for this fight.”

Known for his strong character and integrity outside the ring and his killer instinct inside it, Andre Ward’s skill and talent were apparent early in his outstanding amateur career.

He racked up every title in the books, culminating with a gold medal in the light heavyweight division at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. As the only male American boxer to claim Olympic gold since 1996, Ward joined the likes of Muhammad Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard and Oscar De La Hoya.

He turned professional on December 18, 2004, scoring a second round technical knockout victory over Chris Molina at Staples Center in a fight that was televised live on HBO. He has gone on to rack up 26 more victories since then, building an ever-growing legion of fans in the process.

After becoming the Ring Magazine and WBA Super Middleweight World Champion, rising to the number two spot on the pound-for-pound list and winning the 2011 Fighter of the Year Award (ESPN, Sports Illustrated, Ring Magazine and the Boxing Writers Association of America), it was announced that Ward signed an exclusive promotional agreement with Roc Nation Sports in January 2015, opening a new chapter in his storied boxing career. Now the Bay Area product is ready to return to the ring on June 20 at the Oracle Arena in front of his hometown fans in Oakland, California.

Paul “Real Gone Kid” Smith enters his fight against pound-for-pound star Ward coming off of two heroic performances against WBO Super Middleweight World Champion Arthur Abraham.

Smith challenged the Armenian-German for his title in Kiel, Germany in September 2014 and put on the performance of his career in his world title first shot. The 32-year-old native of Liverpool was the clear winner of large parts of the fight and celebrated at the bell in front of a hushed partisan crowd that thought that Abraham had been dethroned.

Smith was not expecting the wide scorecards that were read out in favor of the hometown fighter and, judging by the far-reaching outrage at the lopsided numbers, neither were the majority of the boxing world and beyond, with Smith receiving support from some of Britain’s biggest sports stars on social media.

A rematch was the only possible scenario and, like a true champion, Abraham duly obliged.

Smith returned to Germany in February of this year to face Abraham again, this time in Berlin, but Abraham was a different fighter the night of their second fight, successfully defending his belt against a brave challenge from Smith.

Once again the judges’ were forced to give a verdict and this time a decision win by Abraham was met with no outcry of controversy. On June 20, “Real Gone Kid” will return to the ring and once again venture into hostile territory to take on one of boxing’s best, looking to silence the crowd.

Ward vs. Smith, presented by Roc Nation Sports, takes place Saturday, June 20 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, will be televised live on BET and streamed globally on TIDAL.com at 10:00 PM ET/7:00 PM PT and is presented in association with Matchroom Sport.

ABOUT BET NETWORKS:

BET Networks, a subsidiary of Viacom Inc. (NASDAQ: VIA, VIA.B), is the nation’s leading provider of quality entertainment, music, news and public affairs television programming for the African-American audience. The primary BET channel reaches more than 90 million households and can be seen in the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, the United Kingdom and sub-Saharan Africa.

BET is the dominant African-American consumer brand with a diverse group of business extensions: BET.com, a leading Internet destination for Black entertainment, music, culture, and news; CENTRIC, a 24-hour entertainment network targeting the 25- to 54-year-old African-American audience; BET Digital Networks – BET Gospel and BET Hip Hop, attractive alternatives for cutting-edge entertainment tastes; BET Home Entertainment, a collection of BET-branded offerings for the home environment including DVDs and video-on-demand; BET Event Productions, a full-scale event management and production company with festivals and live events spanning the globe; BET Mobile, which provides ringtones, games and video content for wireless devices; and BET International, which operates BET in the United Kingdom and oversees the extension of BET network programming for global distribution.??

ABOUT ROC NATION SPORTS:

Roc Nation Sports, a sub-division of Roc Nation, launched in spring 2013. Founder Shawn “JAY Z” Carter’s love of sports lead to the natural formation of Roc Nations Sports, helping athletes in the same way Roc Nation has been helping artists in the music industry for years.

Roc Nation Sports focuses on elevating athletes’ career on a global scale both on and off the field. Roc Nation Sports conceptualizes and executes marketing and endorsement deals, community outreach, charitable tie-ins, media relations and brand strategy.

Roc Nation Sports launched its boxing division, a full service promotional company which represents world champions Miguel Cotto and Andre Ward, in August 2014.

Roc Nation Sports’ roster includes premiere athletes such as Robinson Cano, Skylar Diggins, Kevin Durant, Geno Smith, Victor Cruz, CC Sabathia, James Young, Dez Bryant, Ndamukong Suh, Rusney Castillo, Yoenis Cespedes, Jaelen Strong, Todd Gurley, Wilson Chandler, Erick Aybar and Frances Tiafoe. For more information please visit www.rocnation.com. Follow Roc Nation on Twitter and Instagram @rocnation and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/RocNation.

ABOUT ORACLE ARENA & O.co COLISEUM:

Oracle Arena and O.co Coliseum, managed by AEG Facilities, are the premiere sports and entertainment complexes in Northern California. Home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, the NFL’s Oakland Raiders and MLB’s Oakland Athletics as well as host to concerts, family shows and special events. Additional information on Oracle Arena and O.co Coliseum, including a complete schedule of events can be found online at www.coliseum.com. Follow Oracle Arena on Twitter, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat @OracleArena and on Facebook www.faecbook.com/OracleArenaO.coColiseum.

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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