Andre Ward beats Paul Smith in long-awaited return to ring

Jun 21, 2015 3:17 PM by Ross Field

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - Andre Ward made a triumphant return to the ring after a lengthy absence, delighting his home crowd by stopping England's Paul Smith in the ninth round Saturday night in a nontitle fight.

Ward (28-0) was fighting for the first time in 19 months because of a protracted legal dispute with his former promoter, the late Dan Goosen.

Performing for his hometown crowd, Ward dominated from the start against the former British champion Smith (35-6), whose corner threw the white towel to stop the fight in the ninth round with Smith's face covered with blood.

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