Former super middlewight champion Andre Ward will make his debut in the light heavyweight division with a fight against Sullivan Barrera on Mar. 26 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, Roc Nation Sports announced Tuesday.
The 12-round fight will be televised on HBO.
The fight will be just the fourth for Ward (28–0, 15 KOs) since the end of 2011. He pulled out of his last match, scheduled for Nov. 21 against Alexander Brand, due to a knee injury.
Ward’s first fight in the new division will also be a home coming. The 31-year-old is a San Francisco-native.
Barrera (17–0, 12 KOs) is a Cuban fighter with a strong amateur track record fighting for the country’s national team. He posted a 285–27 record as an amatuer with multiple World Amateur Championships.
Barrera has actively called out Ward on social media while contracts for the fight were being finalized. Ward said that he welcomes his opponents approach in the fight announcement.
“I don’t really have much to say other than this. On March 26, it will be very simple. I’ll be in a new weight class against a tough opponent but I’m coming with the same approach,” Ward said. “I’ll be in great shape and ready for battle. Sullivan Barrera has had a lot to say lately and I love it. He’s going to have an opportunity to back up every word that he has spoken. These are the type of challenges I like and on March 26, it’s go time.”