ESPN’s FNF Ends Its 17-Year Run This Friday With Boxcino 2015 Finals

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This Friday marks the end of an era for ESPN.

This Friday night, ESPN’s Friday Night Fights will come to an end after seventeen years on the air. The long-running weekly boxing series will come to a close with the highly anticipated finals of the “Boxcino 2015” Tournament. The tournament kicked off this past February. It is a single-elimination tournament made up of sixteen fighters in two weight classes—heavyweight and junior heavyweight. Friday night’s tournament and series finale will come live from the Omega Products Center in Corona, California at 10pm ET/7pm PT on ESPNs and ESPN Deportes. Those not near a television can also catch Friday night’s broadcast online via WatchESPN.  Friday’s card is presented by Banner Promotions.

Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside for ESPN2. Studio host Todd Grisham will be on-site for the broadcast, too with all of the latest boxing news and information. Pablo Viruega and Delvin Rodriguez will have the call for ESPN Deportes. Leopoldo Gonzalez and Clauda Trejos will be live in studio for the network. Bernardo Osuna will have live interviews and reports for both networks. Along with the featured fights, Friday’s broadcast will also feature a special video essay looking back on the series run. Tessitore narrates the essay in which he discusses what the show has come to mean for boxing fans and what the brand has meant to the boxing community over the course of its seventeen years on the air.

Andrey Fetosov (27 – 3, 22 KOs) will take on Donovan Dennis (14 – 2, 11 KOs) in a ten-round fight in the final round of the Heavyweight Division of the Boxcino tournament. Fedosov took down Nate Heaven with a round one TKO in the tournament’s opening round. He took down Lenroy Thomas in only the third round of the pair’s semifinal bout. On the other side of the ring, Dennis opened the tournament with a fourth-round TKO victory over the previously undefeated Steve Vukosa. Dennis followed up that win with an incredible one-punch KO win over Razvan Cojanu in the tournament’s semi-finals.

Brandon “The Cannon” Adams (17 – 1, 12 KOs) will go 10 rounds against John “Apollo Kid” Thompson (16 – 1, 5 KOs) in the final round of the Junior Middleweight division. Adams was a finalist in the 2014 Boxcino tournament. He moved on to this week’s final round after defeating Vita Gasparayan in seven rounds in the tournament’s semifinals. He made his way to the semifinal round thanks to a fifth-round TKO win over Alex Perez in the quarterfinal round. Thompson opened his performance in this year’s tournament with a six-round unanimous decision win over Ricardo Pinell. He followed that up with an eight-round split decision win over Stanislav Skorokhod in the semifinals.

Boxing fans can score the fights themselves from the comfort of their homes thanks to the “Live Friday Night Fights Facebook Voting App. It can be obtained via the Friday Night Fights Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf. Fans can also get all of the latest news on this week’s matchups online via Twitter at http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF and http://twitter.com/espnboxing. FNF’s Spanish-speaking audiences can also get all of the latest news via Twitter at http://twitter.com/espnboxeo. Fans can also get all of the latest boxing news on ESPN’s newly re-designed boxing website http://espn.go.com/boxing.

While ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra is coming to an end this weekend, their end doesn’t mark the end of boxing programming on the worldwide leader in sports. Beginning Saturday, July 11th at 9pm ET, ESPN will debut is new boxing program Premiere Boxing Champions on ESPN. ESPN Deportes will carry all broadcasts of Premiere Boxing Champions on ESPN as part of its Noche de Combates series.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN’s FNF Kicks Off Its 18th Season With A Bang

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates returns next week with a whole new season of fights.

The eighteenth season of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra kicks off next Friday, January 9th live at 9pm ET live on ESPN2. Season Eighteen kicks off with a twelve round Lightweight showdown that will have World Title implications. WBA ranked #1 Lightweight Darley’s Perez ( 31 – 1, 20 KOs) will take on Jonathan Maicelo (21 – 1, 12 KOs) live at Chumash Resort and Casino in Santa Ynez, California. The winner of the fight will be next in line to face WBA World Champion Richar Abril.

Along with its massive main event, Friday night’s broadcast will also feature a ten round co-feature featuring up-and-coming welterweight contender Francisco Santana (21 – 3 – 1, 10 KOs). ESPN’s Spanish-speaking audiences will be able to catch both matches on ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates por Corona Extra at 10:30pm ET. It will also be carried online via ESPN’s broadband Spanish-language service ESPN Deportes+. Friday’s event is promoted by Gary Shaw productions. The remaining schedule of fights for January is listed below.

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location Networks
Fri, Jan 9 9 p.m. Darleys Pérez (31-1, 20 KOs)  vs. Jonathan Maicelo (21-1, 12 KOs) —12 rounds, for the WBA #1 Ranking at Lightweight Chumash Resort and Casino, Santa Ynez, Calif. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 16 9 p.m. Willie Monroe Jr. (18-1, 6 KOs) vs. Brian Vera (23-8, 14 KOs) —  10 rounds, Middleweights; Petr Petrov (35-4-2, 7 KOs) vs. TBD – 10 rounds, Lightweights Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Verona N.Y. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 30 9 p.m. Karl Dargan (17-0, 9 KOs) vs. Tony Luis (18-2, 7 KOs) —10 rounds, Lightweights Foxwoods Resort and Casino, Mashantucket, Conn. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN

 

 

Next week’s season premiere of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates por Corona Extra is just part of what boxing fans have to look forward to during these cold winter months. Fans will also see the return of the Boxcino Tournament next month. The single-elimination, two-weight class tournament kicks off Friday, February 3rd at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, CT. It will be broadcast on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+ and WatchESPN. It will feature eight fighters in both the junior middleweight and heavyweight divisions and will be part of the Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and Noche de Combates por Corona Extra 2015 broadcast schedule. The complete schedule for th e2015 Boxcino Tournament is listed below.

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location Networks
Fri, Feb  13 9 p.m. Boxcino 2015 Quarterfinals- Junior Middleweight Mohegan Sun, Uncasville,  Conn. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Feb 20 9 p.m. Boxcino 2015 Quarterfinals- Heavyweight Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Verona N.Y. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Apr 3 9 p.m. Boxcino 2015 Semifinals- Junior Middleweight TBD ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Apr 10 9p.m. Boxcino 2015 Semifinals- Heavyweight Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Verona N.Y. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, May 22 9 p.m. Boxcino 2015 Finals- Junior Middleweight and Heavyweight Turning Stone Resort and Casino, Verona N.Y. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes, WatchESPN

As with last year’s season of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates por Corona Extra, fans can once again follow the matches and score them round-by-round themselves online thanks to ESPN’s “Live Friday Night Fights Facebook Voting App.” Fans can download the app online via the official Friday Night Fights Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf

Joe Tessitore will be back at ringside alongside analyst Teddy Atlas once again this season. The duo will be joined at ringside this week by Todd Grisham. When he is not at ringside with Tessitore and Atlas, Grisham will have all of the latest boxing news and highlights live from the ESPN Studios throughout the season. Delvin Rodriguez will have the call for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+. He will be joined ringside by Pablo Viruega. Leopoldo Gonzalez and Claudia Trejos will both return as co-hosts from the ESPN studios. Hall of fame ref Joe Cortez will make special appearances throughout the season with additional insight and analysis. Bernardo Osuna will also be back this season. He will have all of the latest reports and interviews for both ESPN and ESPN Deportes each week.

ESPN’s Spanish-Speaking viewers will get even more boxing coverage this season as ESPN Deportes’ will Golpe a Golpe returns, too. The weekly hour-long boxing news and analysis broadcast will be back every Saturday at 4pm. Juan Manuel Marquez and Jorge Eduardo Sanchez will share hosting duties. And on Monday’s Bernardo Osuna and David Faitelson will co-host A Los Golpes at 7:30pm. They will be joined by analyst Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr.

More information on this season of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates por Corona Extra is available online now at:

Website: http://www.espn.com/boxing

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf

Twitter: http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF

              http://twitter.com/ESPNBoxeo

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights Kicks Off Seventeenth Season This Friday

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Friday Night Fights presented by Corona, ESPN’s hit weekly boxing broadcast, returns tomorrow night, January 3rd.  Tomorrow night’s broadcast kicks off the show’s seventeenth season.  Season Seventeen kicks off with a championship bout between Junior Lightweight titlist Argenis Mendez (21 – 2 – 1, 11 KOs) and undefeated Rances Barthelemy (19 – 0, 12 KOs). The fight is set for twelve rounds.  Also planned for tomorrow night’s season premiere is a ten-round co-feature that will see up-and-coming Middleweight contender Caleb Truax (23 – 1, 4 KOs), and Ossie Duran (27 – 11 – 2, 10 KOs) facing off against one another.  The fight will air live on ESPN2 at 9pm ET.  ESPN Deportes has rebranded its broadcasts this year as Noche de Combates.  The Spanish-language network’s program was previously titled Viernes de Combates.  It will air the fights in tape delay at 10:30pmET.

Joe Tessitore will be back ringside for the season opener.  He will be joined by studio host Todd Grisham, who is filling in this week for Joe’s regular partner, Teddy Atlas.  Along with his ringside duties, Grisham will also have all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Delvin Rodriguez will have the call for ESPN Deportes.  He will be joined ringside by Pablo Viruega.  The pair will have the call for the broadcast both on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+.  Leopoldo Gonzales and Claudia Trejos will be live in studio throughout the season.  Bernardo Osuna will contribute both for Friday Night Fights in English and Noche de Combates in Spanish.  The most current slate of fights for January is available below.  More information on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf, http://twitter.com/ESPNBoxing, and http://twitter.comESPNBoxeo.

Date Time (ET) Main Event Networks
Fri, Jan 3 9 p.m. Argenis Méndez (21-2-1, 11 KOs)  vs. Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs)
12-rounds, IBF Junior Lightweight Title
ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+,WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 10 9 p.m. Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs) vs. Juan Antonio Rodríguez (25-4, 23 KOs)
10-rounds, Junior Lightweights
ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 24 9 p.m. Javier Molina (14-1, 6 KOs) vs. Kendall Holt (28-6, 16 KOs)
10-rounds, Junior Welterweights
ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 31 9 p.m. Zsolt Erdei (33-1, 18 KOs) vs. Elvir Muriqi (40-5, 24 KOs)
10-rounds, Light Heavyweights
ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces Information For Friday Night Fights Season Premiere

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona is returning for its seventeenth season.  The Worldwide Leader in Sports has announced that FNF will begin its new season on Friday, January 3rd live at 9pm ET on WatchESPN and ESPN Deportes+.  The show’s seventeenth season will kick off with a bang, too.  Season Seventeen will open with a twelve-round IBF title bout between Junior Lightweight titlist Argenis Mendez ( 21 – 2 – 1,  11 KOs) and undefeated Rances Barthelemy (19 – 0, 12 KOs).  Also slated for the season premiere of Friday Night Fights presented by Corona will be a ten-round co-feature featuring up-and-coming Middleweight contender Caleb Truax (23 – 1, 4 KOs).  As an additional note, ESPN Deportes will re-brand its broadcasts with the new name, Noche de Combates.  The newly re-branded broadcast was previously branded as Viernes de Combates.

The season opening bout, the first of the 2014 season’s twenty-six total fights, will be broadcast live from the Target Center in Minneapolis, MN.  It is co-promoted by former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson and his promotional company, Iron Mike Productions.  Tyson also promoted the final bout of FNF’s 2013 season, which featured Argenis Mendez in the world title main event.

Brian Kweder, ESPN Senior Director of Programming and Acquisitions, expressed expectations for the 2014 season in a recent statement.  He also  noted changes being made for the upcoming season of FNF.  “We are eagerly anticipating the upcoming season of Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates,” he said.  “We start the season just as we finished last season with a world title fight co-promoted by Mike Tyson’s Iron Mike Productions. The biggest change for 2014 is that we are assigning dates to promoters with as much advance notice as possible to allow for even better fights and bigger crowds.  We’ve partnered with a group of promoters who have always delivered in the past and are committed to upping the ante even further for 2014. Having a world title fight and names like Kendall Holt, Zsolt Erdei and Arash Usmanee early this season show that the strategy is already paying dividends.”

Long time FNF broadcast team Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be back again for all of the ringside action each week.  Tessitore will call the matches and Atlas will have in-match analysis for every match broadcast on ESPN2.  Both men have been awarded the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in  Broadcast Journalism.  Teddy Atlas won the award in 2001 and Tessitore in 2010.  Studio host Todd Grisham will be back for his second full season on FNF.  He will fill in for Tessitore in ESPN2’s season opener and will have all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Also back again will be Bernardo Osuna.  Osuna will contribute to broadcasts both on FNF and Noche de Combates. 

Pablo Viruega and Delvin Rodriguez will have the call for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+.  The will be joined live by studios hosts Leopoldo Gonzalez and Claudia Trejos.  As a new addition to the studio show for ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+, Hall of Fame referee Joe Cortez will join Gonzalez and Trejos in studio throughout the season.  Osuna will contribute reports and interviews each week.  The latest slate of fights is available below.

 

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location Networks
Fri, Jan 3 9 p.m. Argenis Méndez (21-2-1, 11 KOs)  vs. Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs) —12-rounds, IBF Junior Lightweight Title Target Center, Minneapolis, Minn. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 10 9 p.m. Arash Usmanee (20-1-1, 10 KOs) vs. Juan Antonio Rodríguez (25-4, 23 KOs) — Junior Lightweights Emerald Queen Hotel & Casino, Tacoma Wash. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 24 9 p.m. Javier Molina (14-1, 6 KOs) vs. Kendall Holt (28-6, 16 KOs) —10-rounds, Junior Welterweights Little Creek Casino, Shelton Wash. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN
Fri, Jan 31 9 p.m. Zsolt Erdei (33-1, 18 KOs) vs. Elvir Muriqi (40-5, 24 KOs) —10-rounds, Light Heavyweights Codey Arena, West Orange, N.J. ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN

 

More information on the latest from FNF and Noche de Combates is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf, http://twitter.com/ESPNBoxeo, and http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Junior Welterweights Top FNF’s July 19th Card

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights returns this weekend with a show headlined by a bout between a pair of Junior Welterweights.  Olusegun “The Gun” Ajose (31 – 1, 14 KOs) will face off against “Hammerin” Hank Lundy (22 – 3 – 1, 11 KOs) in a ten-round main event.  The fight will be broadcast live from Rockingham Park in Salem, New Hampshire.  There is a scheduling change for this week’s fight.  This week’s main event will be broadcast live at 9pm EST on ESPN3 and at 10:30pm on ESPN Deportes+.  ESPN Deportes will carry Friday’s fights on Saturday, July 20th at 7pm EST. 

Ajose represented his home nation of Nigeria at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.  He currently lives in New York.  He won his most recent fight—an eight-round bout against Rynell Griffin—in a unanimous win.  Lundey is looking to get his winning ways back after dropping his last two fights against Viktor Postol and Ray Beltran.  Friday Night Fights co-host Teddy Atlas shared his thoughts on Lundy in this week’s fight and what viewers and fans can expect from both men.  “Coming off two consecutive losses, Lundy is in danger of becoming irrelevant,” Atlas said.  “He will need his good speed and great urgency to beat a bigger, more physical Ajose.  That’s the tough news for Lundy.  The good news for the fans of Friday Night Fights is that both these experienced fights are not hard to find—they will be right in front of each other all night and that should make it a good night of fights.” 

Along with the main event, viewers and fans will also be treated to an eight-round co-feature, pitting a pair of undefeated Junior Lightweights against one another.  Ryan “The Polish Prince” Kielczewski (16 – 0, 3 KOs) will take on Miguel “Mikito” Soto (10 – 0, 10 KOs). Kielczewski comes into this week’s fight on the heels of an eight-round unanimous decision win over Gil Garcia.  Soto also looks to keep his winning ways after winning his last fight, a fourth-round TKO over John Wampash.  The current slate of matches on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights is available below.

Upcoming Schedule:

 

Date Time (ET) Main Event Location   Networks
Fri., July 26 9 p.m. Juan Carlos Burgos (30-1-1, 20 KOs) vs. Yakubu Amidu (18-4-1, 16 KOs)—12 rounds, Junior Lightweight Thunder Valley Casino, Lincoln, Calif.  ESPN2, ESPN Deportes,  WatchESPN
Fri., Aug 2 9 p.m. Javier Fortuna (22-0, 16 KOs) vs. Luis Franco (11-1, 7 KOs)—10 rounds, Featherweights  Buffalo Run Casino, Miami, Okla.  ESPN2, ESPN Deportes,  WatchESPN
Fri., Aug 9 10 p.m. Rustam Nugaev (24-6-1, 14 KOs) vs. José Hernández (14-6-1, 6 KOs)—10 rounds, Lightweights  Morongo Casino, Cabazon, Calif.  ESPN2, ESPN Deportes,  WatchESPN
Fri., Aug 16 9 p.m. Andrzej Fonfara (23-2, 13 KOs)  vs. Gabriel Campillo (22-5-1, 9 KOs)—12 rounds, Light Heavyweights U.S. Cellular Field, Chicago ESPN2, ESPN Deportes,  WatchESPN

*Schedule subject to change

 

To keep up with the latest news and more from ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, go online to the official FNF Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf, “Like” it, and then download the ESPN LiveFriday Night Fights voting app.  The app allows viewers to score each fight round-by-round from the comfort of their own home.  Fans can also follow all the latest FNF news on Twitter at http://twitter.com/ESPNFNF and http://twitter.com/ESPNBoxeo

This week’s card is promoted by DiBella Entertainment and presented by Corona Extra.

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com

 

Junior Welterweight Bout Headlines May 10th Edition Of FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights returns with another full card Friday, May 10th.  This week’s card is headlined by a matchup of two Junior Welterweights.  Vernon “The Iceman” Paris (27 – 1, 16 KOs) faces off against Manny “Manos” Perez (19 – 8 – 1, 4 KOs) in a ten-round main event.  Friday’s main event will be broadcast live from the Masonic Temple in Detroit at 10pm ET.  The fight will air live on ESPN2 HD and online and mobile internet via WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.  ESPN Deportes will pick up the fight in progress following the conclusion of the NBA Playoff matchup between the   Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. 

Paris comes into Friday’s fight with quite a bit of momentum, having beaten Guy Pucker with a third-round KO in his most recent fight.  Before that bout, Paris also had fought three-time Welterweight and Welterweight titlist Zab Judah.  Paris was upbeat in an interview when asked about what to expect from Friday’s bout.  He noted that he was definitely prepared for the fight.  “I’ve started working with my new coach, Herman Caicedo, and have been preparing for this fight ever since my last fight,” he said.  “My new coach is good. He’s teaching me to keep my hands up. The plan – what I’m going to do in the ring – that’s all coming together. I’m feeling real good about it.” 

Perez has his own momentum coming into this week’s main event.  He won three of his previous four matches including a ten-round split decision over Jose Cotto (Miguel Cotto’s brother) and a ten-round unanimous decision over Edgar Santana.  He won his most recent fight, a seven round unanimous decision win over Bernardo Guereca. 

Perez sounded focused but realistic when asked about taking on Paris.  “I know Paris is very, very tough, and I anticipate a tough fight,” Perez said.  “Those are the fights I like. I’ve said it before – you don’t become the best without fighting the best. You have to fight and beat the best. I’m working on my jab a lot now, and just want to show more variety in my shots this fight. I want to show better angles, and a better variety of right hands. I want to apply the right kind of pressure and just break him down. I’m looking forward to putting on a great performance.”

Friday’s fight between Paris and Perez will be preceded by a co-feature pitting a pair of Featherweights against each other.  Cornelius “Lightning” Lock (20 – 6 – 1, 13 KOs) and “El Negro Mexicano Lightning” Lonnie Smith (14 – 4 – 3, 10 KOs) will face off in a ten-round fight.  Lock won his most recent fight with a second-round TKO win over Damon Antoine.  Smith’s last fight ended in a seventh-round technical draw against Michael Perez.

FNF hosts Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore will both be on hand to call all of the evening’s action for ESPN2 HD.  They will be joined by studio host Todd Grisham with all of the latest boxing news and Highlights.  Pablo Viruega and Delvin Rodriguez will call the matches for ESPN Deportes.  Claudia Trejos and Leopoldo Gonzales will join them from the ESPN Deportes studios.  Bernardo Osuna will have live interviews and reports for ESPN2 HD and ESPN Deportes. 

Friday Night’s new edition of FNF is presented by Corona Extra and is promoted by Millennium Promotions.   

Fans can keep up with all the latest boxing news when they “Like” the FNF Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf.  Once fans “Like” the FNF Facebook page, they can use the LIVE Friday Night Fights Voting app on the ESPN FNF Facebook page to score each match themselves from the comfort of their homes.  And for even more on Friday Night Fights, fans can keep up with the show on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/FNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

IBF Title Fight Headlines March 1st Edition of ESPN’s FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This Friday night’s edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights has a big as its main feature.  Friday’s main event features a title fight between Featherweight titlist Billy “The Kid” Dib (35 – 1, 1 NC, 21 KOs) and undefeated challenger Evgeny “The Mexican Russian” Gradovich (15 – 0, 8 KOs) in a 12-round bout.  Dib is named by The Ring magazine as its number 4 Featherweight and by ESPN.com as its number 8 Featherweight).  The match will be broadcast live from the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, CT.  It will be broadcast live at 9pm EST on ESPN 2 HD and online via WatchESPN.com.  Audiences with tablets and smart phones can watch it on their mobile devices with the WatchESPN app.  Spanish speaking fans can also watch the fight on ESPN Deportes+.  ESPN Deportes+ is the new digital extension of ESPN Deportes.  It will air tape delayed on ESPN Deportes Saturday morning at 3am EST. 

Friday’s fight is co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and SMS Promotions, which are owned by multiplatinum recording artist and entrepreneur 50 Cent.  50 will be in studio at ESPN’s headquarters today for an ESPN “Car Wash” to discuss tomorrow night’s main event on ESPN TV and radio shows.  He will also perform one of his songs tomorrow night at the Foxwoods before the main event and will serve as “sparring partner” to ESPN Friday Night Fights co-host Teddy Atlas for Friday’s edition of Fight Plan.

Dib comes into tomorrow night’s fight fresh off of a 10-round unanimous decision in a non-title fight against Juan Rodriguez.  That match was preceded by a successful title defense against Eduardo Escobedo.  Dib’s win over Escobedo—a sixth round TKO–was his second successful title defense.  When asked about the upcoming match, Dib was upbeat.  “I am really excited to be headlining against the “Mexican Russian,” he said.  “It’s going to be an all-out punch up.  The fans can definitely expect to see a great fight on March 1st.”

Gradovich, a Russian native, also comes into tomorrow night’s fight fresh off the heels of his own decisive victory.  He defeated William Villanueva with a TKO in the seventh round of the pair’s fight.  Gradovich is trained by 2012 Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) “Trainer of the Year” Robert Garcia.  When asked about Friday’s fight, Gradovich sounded especially focused.  “Becoming a world champion has been a life-long dream of mine, and on March 1st, I will finally have that chance,” he said.  “This is going to be a very special night for me, as not only am I fighting for my first world title, but the entire country will have the opportunity to watch it.  I am already in great shape and I am going to show the world what I am capable of come March 1st.”

All eyes will be on the matchup between these two athletes Friday night.  Before the bout though, audiences will be treated to a fight between Junior Middleweight titlist Willie “The Great” Nelson (19 – 1 – 1, 11KOs) and former Junior Middleweight titlist Michael Medina (26 -3 – 2, 19 KOs).  The pair will face off in a 10-round fight prior to the night’s main event.  Nelson comes into tomorrow’s fight on the heels of a 10-round unanimous decision win over previously undefeated 2008 Olympian Josh Jackson.  Medina also comes into tomorrow’s fight with some momentum.  He was also victorious in his previous match with an 8-round unanimous decision win over James Winchester.

Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be at ringside to call all of the action for ESPN 2 HD.  Studio host Todd Grisham will also be on site with all of the latest boxing news and highlights.  Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will call the fights for ESPN Deportes along with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in studio.  Bernardo Osuna will have interviews and reports for ESPN 2 HD and ESPN Deportes. 

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights is presented each week by Corona Extra.  Fans of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights can keep up with all of the latest news and more from the show online at http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf and on Twitter at @ESPNFNF and @ESPNBoxeo.  Fans can also score the fights themselves from home thanks to the “Live Friday Night Fights” voting app on Facebook.  The app allows users to score the fight live round-by-round.   

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always get the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.