Top Rank on ESPN Hits Unforgettable High Notes in its Inaugural Year

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Top Rank on ESPN Hits Unforgettable High Notes in its Inaugural Year

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Click to Watch: The Best of Top Rank in 2017 

Top Rank and ESPN Confirm First 10 Fight Dates of 2018

Top Rank on ESPN has racked up banner results in its 2017 debut.  The series kicked off July 1, 2017 with the memorable live telecast of the “Battle of Brisbane,” Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao’s first non-PPV fight since September, 2005.  The Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn battle for the WBO World Welterweight Championship fight ranks as the highest-rated and most-watched boxing telecast on cable television since 2006 and ESPN’s highest-rated boxing telecast since 1995.

 Top Rank on ESPN Top Things to Know in 2017

Viewers are tuning in in large numbers with the series earning the most-viewed fights of 2017:

  • Top Rank on ESPN in primetime averaged 1,575,000 viewers on ESPN and 95,000 on ESPN Deportes
  • The twelve most-viewed fights on cable in 2017 have been Top Rank on ESPN fights

Hispanics are big fans and have made the series the top Hispanic telecast on 71% of fight days:

  • 55% of the Top Rank on ESPN audience on ESPN and ESPN2 has been multicultural (one and half times the ESPN average)
  • In the average minute, about 377,000 Hispanic viewers are tuning into Top Rank on ESPN across ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes
  • Top Rank on ESPN has been the #1 Hispanic telecast of the day on ESPN for five of the seven primetime fights that aired in 2017

Digital consumption of ESPN’s boxing content has skyrocketed:

  • Since the start of July, daily unique visitors to boxing digital content is up 225% compared to the same period in 2016

“2017 was a landmark year for boxing on ESPN,” said ESPN executive vice president of programming and scheduling Burke Magnus. “We are thrilled and excited to have served as home to some of the best boxing events in 2017 and look forward to continuing to work with Top Rank to showcase these great events across all our platforms in 2018 and beyond.”

Other Major Top Rank on ESPN Things to Note in 2017

Top Rank on ESPN aired eight world title fights. Here’s the list:

Date Matchups
(Italics – title holder; Bold – winner)
World Titles on the Line
7/1/17 Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn WBO World Welterweight
Jerwin Ancajas vs. Teiru Kinoshita IBF World Super Flyweight
8/5/17 Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Miguel Marriaga WBO World Junior Lightweight
8/19/17 Terence Crawford vs. Julius Indongo IBF, WBA, WBC, WBO World Super Lightweight
9/22/17 Oscar Valdez vs. Genesis Servania WBO World Featherweight
Gilberto Ramirez vs. Jesse Hart WBO World Super Middleweight
11/11/17 Artur Beterbiev vs. Enrico Koelling IBF World Light Heavyweight
12/9/17 Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux WBO World Junior Lightweight


On August 19th, ESPN’s live English and Spanish-language telecast of the Crawford and Indongo “Unification” became a boxing world first when Crawford knocked Indongo out in the third round to become the first undisputed junior welterweight champion of the world to hold all four major titles. The fight was the also the second-most watched fight on cable television in 2017.

On December 9, in the first-ever face-off of two two-time Olympic Gold medalists, Vasiliy Lomachenko (10-1-0, 7 KOs) successfully defended his WBO Junior Lightweight World Title against unbeaten WBA Super Bantamweight world champion Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-1-0, 11 KOs).

Terence Crawford was named Fighter of the Year on December 27thIt was the second nod for Crawford, who also won it in 2014. 

ESPN had the top twelve boxing matches on cable television in 2017.  Here’s the list:

Network Date Fight Viewers
ESPN 7/01/2017 Manny Pacquiao/Jeff Horn 3,925,000
ESPN 7/01/2017 Jerwin Ancajas/Teiru Kinoshita 2,234,000
ESPN 12/09/2017 Vasiliy Lomachenko/Guillermo Rigondeaux 2,114,000
ESPN 7/01/2017 Michael Conlan/Jarrett Owen 1,867,000
ESPN 11/11/2017 Artur Beterbiev/Enrico Koelling 1,725,000
ESPN 12/09/2017 Shakur Stevenson/Oscar Mendoza 1,687,000
ESPN 12/09/2017 Chris Diaz/Bryant Cruz 1,647,000
ESPN 12/09/2017 Michael Conlan/Luis Fernando Molina 1,635,000
ESPN 8/19/2017 Terence Crawford/Julius Indongo 1,327,000
ESPN 11/11/2017 José Ramírez/Mike Reed 1,182,000
ESPN 7/01/2017 Shane Mosley Jr./David Touissaint 1,177,000
ESPN 8/19/2017 Oleksandr Gvozdyk/Craig Baker 968,000

*Fights refer to each single fight in the ring

Top Rank & ESPN have confirmed fight dates for the first seven months of 2018 (schedule below), with potentially more to be added. Boxing fans can expect a world-class lineup of fighters, including Mexico’s super middleweight champion Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramírez on February 3rd, Ray Beltrán on February 16th, undefeated World Boxing Organization (WBO) featherweight world champion Óscar Valdez on March 10, and Irish Olympian Michael Conlan on St. Patrick’s Day.  Also returning to the Top Rank ring in 2018 will be world champions and pound-for-pound mega-stars Terence Crawford and Vasiliy Lomachenko.

Top Rank on ESPN kicks off its 2018 season on Super Bowl LII weekend on Saturday, February 3 at 10:15 p.m. ET. Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez (36-0, 24 KOs) will defend his WBO world title against Top-Five world-rated contender Habib “Wild Hurricane” Ahmed (22-0, 17 KOs) from Accra, Ghana. The fight will take place at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX and will be televised live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN app.

Top Rank on ESPN Fight Dates Through July 2018

Day Date Time (ET) Network Location
Sat 2/3/18 10:15 PM ESPN
ESPN Deportes
American Bank Center
Corpus Christi, TX
Fri 2/16/18 9:00 PM ESPN
ESPN Deportes
Grand Sierra Resort
Grand Theater
Reno, NV
Sat 3/10/18 10:30 PM ESPN
ESPN Deportes
Stub Hub Center
Carson, CA
Sat 3/17/18 8:00 PM TBD The Theater at Madison Square Garden
New York, NY
Sat 4/28/18 7:00 PM ESPN
ESPN Deportes
Sat 5/12/18 10:30 PM ESPN
ESPN Deportes
Fri 6/15/18 10:00 PM ESPN
ESPN Deportes
Sat 6/30/18 9:00 PM ESPN
ESPN Deportes
Sat 7/7/18 10:30 PM ESPN
ESPN Deportes
Sat 7/14/18 7:00 PM ESPN
ESPN Deportes


Ardi Dwornik

I oversee all facets of ESPN’s corporate communications for Tennis and Combat Sports.
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