USBA Middleweight Champion Luis “Cuba” Arias (17-0, 8 KOs) and prime contender Arif “The Predator” Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs) will lead off the HBO Pay-Per-View lineup for Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” on Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.
The championship event, presented by Corona Extra, will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT.
Arias will be defending his title and undefeated record against one of the division’s top prospects. Magomedov has previously held the WBO’s Inter-Continental, Youth and NABO middleweight titles with only a single career loss coming against Andrew Hernandez for the vacant WBC USNBC middleweight title. Both fighters are eager to make an impression during their Las Vegas debut.
“Finally my opportunity has come. The road to the big stage has been long but it’s here and I’m ready. It’s time to prove to the world that I am a threat to anyone in this division. I have been saying it for some time, my record shows it, but now I’ll get the chance to prove it,” said Arias. “I’m coming to make a statement on June 17! My opponent has been beat before and will be beat again. Thanks to Roc Nation Sports and my handlers for making this happen. A new star will be born.”
“My goal is to be a world champion. I have been waiting for a fight like this. Arias is a tough opponent but I will be ready for him,” said Magomedov. “I am so excited to work with my new trainer, Marco Contreras and to fight on HBO Pay-Per-View. Be ready for ‘The Predator’ on June 17.”
“If the heat between the Ward-Kovalev rivalry hasn’t been felt yet, then the cross promotional matchup of Roc Nation Sports’ Luis Arias and Main Events’ Arif Magomedov will certainly add fuel to the fire,” said Roc Nation President & Chief of Branding and Strategy Michael R. Yormark. “We are excited to have USBA Middleweight Champion Luis Arias make his Las Vegas debut and open the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast with a title defense on June 17 against Arif Magomedov.”
“Arif has been ready for this fight since the first Kovalev-Ward card in November. We are so pleased to finally give him this match-up,” said Main Events CEO Kathy Duva. “This is a huge opportunity for both Arif and Luis to test themselves on such a big stage. A win or a good showing by either fighter could catapult them in the rankings and put them on the map in this stacked middleweight division.”
USBA Middleweight Champion Luis “Cuba” Arias (17-0, 8 KOs), 26, takes great pride in his Cuban heritage. The Milwaukee-native chose his nickname in homage to his father’s homeland and its people, honoring them each time he steps into the ring. A former USA junior amateur standout, Arias made his professional debut on November 10, 2012 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, where he defeated Josh Thorpe via a four-round unanimous decision. Since joining Roc Nation Sports in February of 2015, Arias has advanced his undefeated record, paving way for his first title shot on August 20, 2016. In a homecoming at the Milwaukee Center, Arias captured the vacant USBA Middleweight title with a stoppage of Detroit’s Darryl Cunningham at the 1:11 mark of the fourth round. Arias successfully defended his title on March 31, 2017 at the Carnegie Music Hall in Pittsburgh, winning a 10-round unanimous decision over Virginia’s Scott Sigmon. All three judges scored the fight 99-91 for Arias who put on a potent body punching display to settle a long-standing grudge with Sigmon.
Arif “The Predator” Magomedov (18-1, 11 KOs), 24, is a middleweight from Kizlyar, Russia. He made his professional debut in January of 2013 when he earned a decision win over Ruslan Sirazhev in Russia. Magomedov would go on to finish 2013 with a bang, posting a record of 8-0 with 6 KOs and none of those six opponents made it past the third round. He made his US debut in April of 2015 when he unanimously outpointed tough journeyman Derrick Findley. In May of 2015, he earned one of the biggest wins of his career when he scored a first-round knockout over the always tough and durable Darnell Boone. In July of 2015, Magomedov cruised to a unanimous decision win over previously undefeated and rising prospect Derrick Webster. In his most recent bout, Magomedov scored a second-round TKO over Chris Herrmann in Moscow, Russia. Arif is co-promoted by Main Events and Shamo Boxing and managed by Egis Klimas.
Ward vs. Kovalev 2: “The Rematch,” a 12-round mega-fight for the WBO/IBF/WBA Light Heavyweight World Championships, is presented by Roc Nation Sports, Main Events, Andre Ward Promotions, Krusher Promotions and Corona Extra, sponsored by Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, and Powered by Monster. The championship event takes place Saturday, June 17 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View® beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. Tickets for Ward-Kovalev 2: “The Rematch” are available on axs.com and at the Mandalay Bay Events Center box office.