Andre Ward to return against Paul Smith?
According to U.K. newspaper The Daily Mail, WBA super middleweight titleholder Andre Ward is set to announce his return to the ring against Britain’s Paul Smith on June 20 in Oakland, California.
Ward has not had a fight since he outpointed the previously unbeaten Edwin Rodriguez in November 2013. Since that time he has either been injured or involved in a contractual dispute with Goosen Promotions, but a return to action was only a matter of dates when the unbeaten American signed with Roc Nation in January.
Smith, 35-5 (20 knockouts), is coming off two inspired showings against WBO titleholder Arthur Abraham, both of which he lost by unanimous decision. The 32-year-old’s successes have come exclusively at domestic level, where he has annexed both British and Commonwealth titles at 168 pounds.
Due to Ward’s lay-off, THE RING were left with no choice but to declare their super middleweight championship vacant and the 31-year old, who is 27-0 (14 knockouts), was also removed from the pound for pound rankings.
Tom Gray is a member of the British Boxing Writers’ Association and has contributed to various publications. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Gray_Boxing