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ESPN…. “Friday Night Fights” Celebrates 10th Anniversary

AUSTIN, August 18th – For the past 10 years ESPN has brought the very best of boxing to Friday nights. On September 5th


AUSTIN, August 18th – For the past 10 years ESPN has brought the very best of boxing to Friday nights. On September 5th, for one night at the Austin Music Hall located at 208 Nueces ESPN Friday Night Fights is bringing a big party to Austin, Texas, complete with an explosive main event. ESPN is celebrating the 10th anniversary of its legendary series Friday Night Fights in
grand style, with TKO Boxing Promotions presenting a main event between fighters with a combined record of 44-2-1.

Title contender and Austin-native James Kirkland (22-0, 19 KOs), one of the biggest punchers in the sport, will take on Ricardo Cortes (22-2-1, 15 KOs) of San Jose, Calif., on Friday, Sept. 5th
at the Austin Music Center. Tickets are available now at $75, $50, $40 and $25; $5 more day of the show and VIP tables are available. For tickets go to or call (866) 443-8849.

Rolando Reyes (29-4, 19 KOs), an up-and-coming 135-pounder from Oxnard, Ca., will be fighting in the co-main event.

“We’re extremely proud to be putting on this event in Austin,” TKO Boxing Promotions promoter Chester Koerner said. “Friday Night Fights has been the premier weeknight boxing program for a long time. So not only is it tremendously exciting to be working with ESPN on the 10th anniversary of Friday Night Fights, but we have a terrific main event, as well. James Kirkland is one of the most exciting, dangerous boxers in the sport, and the ESPN audience and everyone in the Austin Music Hall are going to enjoy a great night of boxing.”

Kirkland, 24, is coming off a 66-second demolition of Erosomele Albert on May 17, and is poised to make a title run in the 154-pound division. He trains in Austin at Ann Wolfe Boxing Gym, with the world-famous Ann Wolfe serving as his trainer, and is ready to show a national audience he is ready for a world title. He is currently the WBO NABO junior middleweight champion, and is ranked No. 3 by the WBA, No. 7 by the WBC and No. 5 by the IBF at 154 pounds.

Kirkland’s last three fights have lasted less than two rounds, and he has only gone the distance with three fighters in an undefeated career. Kirkland’s no-frills, all-business ring attitude, combined with dynamite in his hands, has earned him comparisons to Mike Tyson. Kirkland grew up on the streets of East Austin and quickly made a name for himself as an amateur boxer, advancing to the finals of the national Golden Gloves. His style is power and volume. Kirkland will keep coming forward, and not stop throwing big punch after big punch. But as violent as he is in the ring, “Mandingo” doesn’t talk trash and use words to intimidate. One look, one scowl from Kirkland is enough to prove that he has paid his dues, and means business.

Of course, Cortes, 28, may not be easily intimidated. A seven-year boxing veteran, Cortes currently holds the IBA Americas Super Middleweight title, in addition to an impressive record. Cortes lost his last fight on Feb. 1 to Alfredo Angulo, and is anxious to get back in the ring.

ESPN has been making exceptional fights like these for its acclaimed series Friday Night Fights for 10 years now. The September 5th show will feature Brian Kenny working ringside with Teddy Atlas. The viewing audience will be treated for a feature on Ann Wolfe, Kirkland’s trainer. Wolfe, 37, who retired from competitive boxing with a 24-1 record, will always be remembered as the one person Lalia Ali did not want to fight.

Also, ESPN will reveal the results of their 10th-anniversary fan voting, which include results for the KO Of The Decade, Fight Of The Decade and the Most Memorable Fighter of the decade on Friday Night Fights. The winning selection will air after the results.

The undercard on September 5th at the Austin Music Hall will also feature several entertaining fighters, including: Austin’s Raylino Gatica (10-0, 5 KOs) at 147 pounds; Raul Tovar (5-0, 2 KOs) Mission, Texas at 147 pounds; Rafael Valenzuela (10-1, 5 KOs) of Phoenix, Ariz., at 122 pounds; and Terrence Crawford (3-0, 2 KOs) of Omaha, Neb., vs. Sadot Vasquez (3-2) of Fort Worth, Texas, at 136 pounds, with more information to come.

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