ESPN’s Friday Night Fightswill kick off the first of 29 boxing cards in 2010 on Friday, Jan. 8. In its 12th season, Friday Night Fights will feature a consistent high-definition telecast on ESPN2 in addition to complimentary coverage on ESPN Deportes and ESPN360.com.
As in 2009, this year’s studio portion of the telecast will feature a rotating quartet of analysts. The four are Bernard Hopkins, ESPN.com columnist Dan Rafael, Bernardo Osuna and BJ Flores. Brian Kenny will primarily serve as host from the studio.
In the booth ringside, Joe Tessitore will host while Teddy Atlas will continue to offer his unique insight and perspective.
“We look forward to showcasing some entertaining matches in the 2010 season and are pleased to offer fans a number of ways to be able to enjoy Friday Night Fights content,” said Doug Loughrey, ESPN’s boxing programming director.
The ESPN2 studio portion will focus on hot topics in the industry with the guest analysts offering their opinions. Hopkins added an entertaining element to FNF telecasts in 2009. The future Hall of Fame middleweight is best known for his 10-year reign as Middleweight World Champion, during which time he defended his title a record 20 times. He is the oldest man to have held the Middleweight Championship in professional boxing.
Rafael began writing for ESPN.com in March 2005 after working for five years as the boxing writer for USA Today. Rafael will continue to cover boxing for ESPN.com in addition to his television role.
In line with Friday Night Fights’ continued focus on the U.S. Hispanic sports fan, the panel will include two accomplished Hispanic personalities: Former WBF Cruiserweight champion Flores, who is undefeated, will add cache as an active boxer.
Additionally, Osuna is one of the most respected boxing journalists to appear on Spanish-language television. His professional achievements include the prestigious Sam Taub Award for excellence in broadcast journalism presented by the Boxing Writer’s Association of America and three Emmy awards.
Friday Night Fights will air throughout the year on select Fridays, showcasing some of the best bouts in the industry, beginning at times ranging from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. ET.
The Jan. 8 season-opening fight, which will begin at 10 p.m. ET, will feature former junior middleweight titlist Roman Karmazin (39-3-1, 25 KOs) of Russia squaring off against Colombia’s Dionisio Miranda (20-4-2, 18 KOs) in Glendale, Calif., in a middleweight title elimination bout. The winner will receive a mandatory title shot against Sebastian Sylvester of Germany.
Other fighters featured in the opening weeks of FNF include Jesse Brinkley (34-5, 22 KOs), formerly of “The Contender,” on Jan. 29 and Guillermo Rigondeaux (3-0, 3 KOs), a two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist and top-notch prospect, on Feb. 5.
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