truTV and Top Rank will partner to exclusively televise a live Friday night primetime boxing series beginning Friday, May 1, at 10 p.m. ET. The new boxing series, in association with Turner Sports and HBO Sports, will launch on the eve of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view fight with a card featuring two title bouts inside The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
Maximizing visibility, the inaugural series on truTV will feature three consecutive weeks of boxing coverage in May – all airing on the evening prior to a Saturday night HBO fight event – along with a slate of five additional fights to be scheduled over the remainder of the year. The schedule will regularly feature some of the most exciting, established young talent in boxing. Turner Sports and HBO Sports, with its long and rich history with the sport of boxing, will contribute resources as well as marketing and digital platforms in support of the new series.
The main event onFriday, May 1, will showcase Takahiro Ao (27-3-1, 16 KOs) from Chiba, Japan, vs. Ray Beltran (29-7-1, 17 KOs) from Los Mochis, Mexico, in a 12-round bout for the vacant WBO Lightweight World Championship. The undercard will include two undefeated fighters in action – Mikael Zewski (26-0, 23 KOs) from Quebec, Canada, vs. Konstantin Ponomarev (27-0, 13 KOs) from Miass, Russia – in a 10-round bout for the NABF Welterweight Championship.
“We’re excited to partner with Top Rank and our colleagues at HBO Sports to bring this high-caliber boxing series to truTV,” said Lenny Daniels, president of Turner Sports. “We share a common vision to present these events in a new and inventive way and look forward to offering this compelling content to our viewers.”
“We see this as a great opportunity to bring more coveted live sports programming to the network and believe Friday night primetime fights will resonate with truTV’s young audience,” said Chris Linn, truTV president and head of programming.
“Partnering with Turner Sports and truTV for a new and unique boxing series will further invigorate and grow the sport,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank. “Turner Sports’ innovative approach to production and programming has attracted and engaged tens of millions of fans of the NBA, MLB, NCAA and PGA and we believe the same will be true for boxing. Additionally, the collaboration between the HBO and truTV programming will help develop and expose current and future champions and world-rated contenders to a broad audience with consistency. All credit goes to Turner’s David Levy, Turner Sports’ Lenny Daniels and truTV’s Chris Linn who understand the impact of live sports and were instrumental in developing this concept into a program for their platforms.”
“Everybody at HBO is thrilled to see a new platform for live coverage of professional boxing being launched by a bold and creative network such as truTV,” said Ken Hershman, president of HBO Sports. “We congratulate Top Rank and Turner Sports on this new initiative. We look forward to lending our support to this important new franchise that will clearly benefit the sport, the fighters and the fans from day one of the series’ debut.”
About Turner Sports
Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., is an industry leader in the delivery of premium sports content across all multimedia screens. Turner Sports’ television coverage includes the NBA, Major League Baseball, NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship and professional golf. The company also manages some of the most popular sports destinations across broadband and mobile platforms including Bleacher Report and its top-rated Team Stream app, NCAA.com and the critically-acclaimed NCAA March Madness Live suite of products, PGA.com and the Sports Emmy Award-winning PGA Championship LIVE, as well as an accompanying collection of mobile sites and connected device apps. Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, a robust collection of offerings including NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA LEAGUE PASS, NBA Mobile, the NBA Game Time App, NBADLEAGUE.com and WNBA.com.
truTV takes viewers on a fun ride that surprises and entertains. The network delivers a dynamic mix of action, comedy and competition, featuring engaging characters and compelling new worlds that pull you in and leave you wanting more. Currently seen in 92 million U.S. households, truTV features such popular original series as Impractical Jokers, The Carbonaro Effect, Friends of the People, Hack My Life, How to Be a Grown-Up, Barmageddon and Breaking Greenville as well as the upcoming Billy on the Street, Those Who Can’t, Six Degrees of Everything, Santas in the Barn and The Hustlers. In addition, truTV is a partner in airing the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news; entertainment; kids and young adult; and sports media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.
About Top Rank
Innovation has been the mantra at Top Rank since it was established in 1966 by Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum. The boxing industry’s leading promotional company for nearly half a century, Top Rank has shaped, developed and promoted the careers of top international pay-per-view superstars and Hall of Famers, including Marvelous Marvin Hagler, Oscar De La Hoya, Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather Jr., Miguel Cotto and Erik Morales. Known for creating strategic collaborations between athletes, sponsors and television networks, Top Rank launched in 1980, Top Rank Boxing on ESPN which ran for a historic 16 years. Recognizing the boom in US based Hispanics, Top Rank then launched another very popular televised boxing series in 1996 titled Solo Boxeo on Univision.
Some of the most legendary and spectacular events in boxing history were promoted by Top Rank, which include: 26 Muhammad Ali Events; Leonard vs. Hearns: Arguello vs Pryor; Duran vs. Leonard; Hagler vs. Hearns: Leonard vs. Hagler; Foreman vs. Holyfield; Morales vs. Barrera and De La Hoya vs. Trinidad to name a few. In addition to the previously mentioned super fights Top Rank possess one of the largest sports libraries which includes nearly 10,000 fights and dates back nearly 50 years.
Top Rank has been an architect of the global growth of the sport by staging high profile events in landmark settings around the world, including every major arena in Las Vegas, The Venetian Macao, Yankee Stadium, Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden, The “Fabulous” Forum and Cowboys Stadium to name a few. Top Rank has also been the leader within the boxing industry in creating unforgettable in-arena experiences for fans while also producing live telecasts which generate high ratings for our television partners. Committed to supporting the vitality and growth of boxing, Top Rank will co-promote one of the biggest sporting events in history — Mayweather vs. Pacquiao on May 2 in Las Vegas.
About HBO Sports
HBO Sports has brought the best in sports to television for four decades – from world championship boxing events, to intriguing documentaries and specials, to the most honored and compelling reality programming franchise, and the most provocative sports magazine program on TV.
HBO has covered the sport of boxing unlike anyone else over the last 40 years. Three series comprise the HBO Boxing franchise, including the flagship World Championship Boxing® series, the HBO Pay-Per-View® service, which is the pay-per-view arm of Home Box Office and a premier supplier of event programming to the pay-per-view industry, and the late-night HBO Boxing After Dark® series, which was introduced in 1996.
Visit the Turner Sports online pressroom for additional press materials; follow Turner Sports on Twitter at @TurnerSportsPR