ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra will kick off its 14th season January 6 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3 featuring super middleweights Dyah Davis (20-2-1, 9 KOs: son of 1976 U.S. Olympic Gold medalist Howard Davis) and Alfonso Lopez (22-1, 17 KOs). The 10-round main event, outdoors at Mallory Square in Key West, Fla., is presented by DiBella Entertainment.
The January-August series concluded the 2011 season averaging 543,000 viewers, up 9% from 497,000 viewers in 2010. ESPN’s Friday Night Fights also saw gains in younger demos among adults ages 18-34 (+19%) and 18-49 (+22%).
“We look forward to building on the tremendous success of 2011 by showcasing familiar names that we trust will bring action and excitement to our Friday Night Fights fans,” said Doug Loughrey, ESPN director of programming and acquisitions. “I am most encouraged to have Dyah Davis, Teon Kennedy, Ruslan Provodinkov, Demetrius Andrade and John Molina in main events to kick-off our season.”
Matt Sandulli, ESPN senior coordinating producer, said, “We are really excited to get back at it. The 2011 season was a very good year for us and the fans of Friday Night Fights. We were fortunate to consistently have quality action in the ring. It’s one thing to have names on paper but it’s all about what the two fighters do when they face off. Last year we had great battles, breathtaking knockouts, tremendous storylines, and seemingly every week big-time upsets. We hope to continue with more of the same starting in January.”
Blow-by-blow commentator Joe Tessitore and ringside analyst Teddy Atlas return. Both are recipients of the prestigious Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism presented by the Boxing Writers Association of America: Atlas (2001), Tessitore (2010).
ESPN’s Friday Night Fights will implement, an ultra slo-mo camera on select cards providing some of the most dramatic and amazing replays of a fight’s biggest punches.
ESPN 3D which presented boxing for the first time in the U.S. last February, returns in 2012 with a telecast scheduled January 13 from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, in Las Vegas.
ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates (“Friday Night Fights” in Spanish) will present every card, with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Lindsay Cassinelli anchoring the studio and Pablo Viruega and Delvin Rodriguez calling the fights. ESPN Deportes’ weekly 30-minute boxing news and analysis show Golpe a Golpe will air on Friday’s. It will be co-hosted by World Champion Mexican boxer Juan Manuel Marquez and boxing expert Jorge Eduardo Sanchez.
ESPN3 will present every Friday Night Fights card live, including simulcasts of every ESPN2 telecast and exclusively live when delayed on ESPN2. ESPN3 is ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network, a 24/7 destination that delivers thousands of global sports events annually and is accessible online via WatchESPN.com.
ESPN’s Friday Night Fights will have an increased social media presence in 2012. Plans include making the fan feel more a part of the experience on Facebook and Twitter.
Upcoming Schedule and Coverage Plans
ESPN’s Friday Night Fights will total 30 dates in 2012. The show will present specials throughout the season, including features commemorating Muhammad Ali’s 70th birthday, coverage from the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s induction weekend, and coverage of the U.S. Olympic boxing team during the 2012 summer games. Upcoming schedule below:
Fri, Jan 6 9 p.m. Dyah Davis vs. Alfonso Lopez Mallory Square, Key West, Fla ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3
Fri, Jan 13 9 p.m. Teon Kennedy vs. Chris Martin Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas ESPN2, ESPN 3D, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3
Fri, Jan 27 9 p.m. Ruslan Provodnikov vs. Julio “The Kidd” Diaz Northern Quest Casino, Airway Heights Wash. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3
Fri, Feb 3 10 p.m.Edison Miranda vs. Yordanis Despaigne (TBD), Las Vegas ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3
Fri, Feb 10 9 p.m. Demetrius Andrade vs. Derek Ennis Mohegan Sun Arena, Uncasville, Conn. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3
Fri, Feb 17 9 p.m. John Molina vs. Alejandro Sanabria UTA, College Park Center Arlington Texas ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3
Fri, Feb 24 9 p.m. Juan Carlos Burgos vs. Cristobal Cruz USC, Galen Center, Los Angeles ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, ESPN3