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by Staff Writer / San Jose Sharks


It's a boxing rarity, putting a group of fighters who reached the pinnacle of amateur boxing - the Olympics - together in the same ring as they attempt to reach world championship status in the pro ranks. In fact, its only been done three times in recent history, as members of the 1984, 1992 and 2000 U.S. Olympic teams made their professional debuts shortly after their amateur finales.

2004 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist, Andre Ward

But on Thursday, August 18, on a show to be telecast live on Fox Sports Net's "Best Damn Sports Show Period" from HP Pavilion, Goossen Tutor Promotions is excited to present five former Olympians who are currently making their way through the professional ranks, headed by local favorite and sole 2004 U.S. Olympic Gold Medalist, Andre Ward.

Simply stated, it's the "Best Damn 'Night of Olympians' Period."

"This is only the third time in history that an event of this nature has taken place and I think it's a great opportunity for boxing fans to see the future of what are sure to be some legendary careers in our industry," said Dan Goossen of Goossen Tutor Promotions.

"Remember, Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker, Meldrick Taylor, Mark Breland and Virgil Hill all emerged from the 1984 Night of Olympians as world champions, and the card featuring members of the 1992, 1996 and 2000 team has also produced world champions in Oscar de la Hoya (sole Gold for U.S.), David Reid (sole Gold for U.S.) and most recently, Jermain Taylor, as well as some solid current contenders to the championship."

In the 10 round main event, unbeaten heavyweight sensation Audley "A-Force" Harrison (18-0, 13 KOs), the 2000 super heavyweight Gold medalist from Great Britain, will look to continue on his road to pro glory when he faces a very dangerous Robert Wiggins (20-4-1, 12 KOs).

"I told my team I was coming to America to fight one challenge after another, and next up is Wiggins, a very well respected and regarded heavyweight. I believe in my talent and after this fight, so will the heavyweight division," said Harrison.

"This is definitely the next step for Audley to catapult himself into the thick of things in the top echelon of the heavyweight division." stated Goossen. "The ability he possesses, speed, size and strength, I believe matches up to any of the current world champions today."

Co-featured on August 18 will be the fistic reunion of "The Two Andres" - lightning-fisted middleweight Andre Ward (4-0, 2 KOs), and his Silver medal winning teammate, super middleweight Andre Dirrell (4-0, 3 KOs). Both will box in separate six round contests.

For Ward, this is his homecoming. A resident of Oakland, California (in the Bay Area), and fighting in San Jose's HP Pavilion, 25 minutes from Oakland, he couldn't be more ecstatic. "From day one I told my promoters Roy (Jones, Jr.) and Dan (Goossen) I need to consistently fight in my hometown; anywhere in the Bay Area including Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose," said Ward. "I've got very supportive and great fans that want to see me fight here and to do this with my teammates only makes it that much bigger for all of us."

Also on the card and the captain of the 2004 U.S. Olympic team, the hard-hitting heavyweight, Devin Vargas (3-0, 3 KOs), who will look to keep his unbeaten and knockout record intact in a scheduled six rounder. But that's not the only Olympian action in store for fight fans, the well regarded and talented 2004 Mexico Olympic welterweight representative, Juan de Dios Navarro Ramirez from Torreon, Mexico, will make his professional debut in a four round match up.

Individual tickets to the Best Damn 'Night of Olympians' Period go on sale this week at the HP Pavilion Ticket Office, Ticketmaster Ticket Centers located in Wherehouse Music stores, Tower Records and Ritmo Latino locations throughout the Bay Area, online at, or charge by phone at (408) 998-TIXS, (415) 421-TIXS, or (510) 625-TIXS. For information about group discounts call (408) 999-5748.

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