FNF Features Pair Of Heavyweights This Week

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

This week’s edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights features a pair of undefeated fighters.  In the evening’s main event, undefeated Lightweight Jonathan “Inca Peruano” Maicelo (16 – 0, 10 KOs) faces a tough challenge as he goes toe-to-toe with Rustam “The Mongoose” Nugaev (22 – 6, 12 KOs) in a 10-round matchup.  The bout will be aired live from the Chumash Resort Casino in Santa Ynez, California.  The fight will air at 9 EST/8 CT on ESPN2 HD, ESPN Deportes and online and via mobile internet on Watch ESPN and the WatchESPN app.  ESPNNEWS will re-air the fight this Sunday, April 6th at 5am.  ESPN Deportes will also re-air the fight.  It will have the re-broadcast at 6:30pm that same day.

This week’s fight marks Maicelo’s American television debut.  He comes into Friday’s fight fresh from a 2nd round TKO victory over Tyler Ziolowski.  The native Peruvian has already appeared in TV commercials in his home country, has his own clothing line, and can even boast his home nation’s president as one of his many fans.  Maicelo talked about his upcoming debut, expressing his desire to show boxing fans just what he is made of.  “Come April 5th, the people of the United States are going to see a technical boxer, a boxer with a lot of drive, a lot of hunger and a boxer they’re going to want to see again,” he said.  “I will not disappoint and I’ll give the fans what they want, which is action.”

On the other side of the ring, Maicelo’s opponent, Rustam Nugaev comes into Friday’s fight on the heels of an eight-round majority decision win over Shavkat Madaminov.

Before the main feature, audiences will be treated to a pre-fight show featuring another undefeated fighter, Jorge “Machito” Maysonet, Jr. (11 – 0, 10 KOs).  Maysonet will face off against Gabriel “The Ghost” Tolmajyan (12 – 2 – 1, 3 KOs).  Maysonet’s most recent match ended in a second round KO win over Pedro Salcedo.  Tolmajyan picked up a victory in his most recent match against Juan Sandoval.  Tolmajyan’s victory came in the form of a six-round unanimous decision.

Friday’s card is a special show as it features not two matches, but three.  This week, fans will be treated to a special four-round opening fight between Heavyweight bout between Avery Gibson (1 – 4 – 2 0 KOs) and John Sarellano.  The fight marks the professional debut for Sarellano. 

The whole Friday Night Fights crew—Teddy Atlas, Joe Tessitore, etc.—will be on hand for all the action, news and more.  To keep up with all the latest news from ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, fans can “Like” its official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf, where they can also score the fights live themselves courtesy of the “Live Friday Night Fights” Facebook voting app.  Fans can also follow all the latest news and more from Friday Night Fights on Twitter at @ESPNFNF.  Spanish speaking audiences can also follow the show on Twitter at @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 in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Breaks New Ground With 2012-2013 NCAA Men’s Basketball Coverage

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

Good news for ESPN.  The networks’ coverage of the 2012-2013 college basketball regular season was its most viewed ever.  ESPN averaged nearly 1.4 million viewers over the course of 135 games.  To be precise, it averaged 1,370,000 viewers.  That passes the network’s previous record of 1,353,000 viewers over 130 telecasts during the 2011-2012 Season.  It pulled in a 1.1 coverage rating for both seasons.  Along with this new honor, ESPN also pulled in the season’s three largest audiences for a college basketball game on the network over the course of only a month.  The first of those games was then #3 Indiana taking down #1 Michigan on February 2nd.  The game was the best for the network.  It brought in an average of 4,035,000 viewers, a 2.9 rating and 2,867,000 households.  The second of the network’s best games was the February 19th game in which then #1 Indiana defeated #4 Michigan State.  This game brought ESPN its second largest audience of the season, with an average of 3,733,000 viewers, a 2.7 coverage rating and 2,677,000 households.  The third of the network’s highest rated games was the March 2nd matchup between then #3 Duke defeating #5 Miami 79-76.  The game averaged 3,416,000 viewers, a 2.5 coverage rating and 2,459,000 households. 

In all, ESPN and its network of stations averaged a total of 508,000 viewers for its full slate of 602 games throughout its 2012-2013 season.  It marked the most extensive coverage of men’s basketball on television this season and more than any other networks combined pointing out yet again why ESPN is the sports leader.

One extra interesting note:  Louisville was the highest-rated metered market for the network’s 2012-2013 regular season coverage.  It pulled in an average 4.5 rating.  Greensboro came in second for the second straight year with a 3.1 rating.  A full listing of the top rated cities is available below.

Top 25 Markets for 2012-13 Top 25 Markets for 2011-12
No. 1    Louisville: 4.5 rating No. 1    Louisville: 4.5 rating
No. 2    Greensboro: 3.1 rating No. 2    Greensboro: 3.5 rating
No. 3   Raleigh-Durham: 3.0 rating No. 3   Kansas City: 2.8 rating
No. 4    Indianapolis: 2.9 rating No. 4    Columbus: 2.7 rating
No. 5   Kansas City: 2.7 rating         Raleigh-Durham 2.7 rating
No. 6   Cincinnati: 2.1 rating No. 6   Charlotte: 2.3 rating
        Columbus: 2.1 rating No. 7    Cincinnati: 2.1 rating
No. 8   Dayton: 2.0 rating No. 8   Dayton: 2.0 rating
No. 9    Charlotte: 1.8 rating No. 9    Indianapolis: 1.8 rating
No. 10  Knoxville: 1.7 rating         Knoxville: 1.8 rating
        Nashville: 1.7 rating No. 11   Memphis: 1.6 rating
No. 12  Detroit: 1.6 rating         Nashville: 1.6 rating
No. 13  Birmingham: 1.5 rating No. 13  Greenville: 1.5 rating
No. 14  Memphis: 1.3 rating No. 14  Cleveland: 1.4 rating
        Hartford & New Haven: 1.3 rating         Birmingham: 1.4 rating
        Greenville: 1.3 rating         Las Vegas: 1.4 rating
        Cleveland: 1.3 rating No. 17  Norfolk: 1.2 rating
        Norfolk: 1.3 rating         Hartford and New Haven: 1.2 rating
        St. Louis: 1.3 rating         St. Louis: 1.2 rating
No. 20   Richmond: 1.2 rating No. 20   Fort Myers: 1.1 rating
        Las Vegas: 1.2 rating         Atlanta: 1.1 rating
No. 22  Fort Myers: 1.1 rating         Richmond: 1.1 rating
        Milwaukee: 1.1 rating No. 23  Pittsburgh: 1.0 rating
No. 24  Baltimore: 1.0 rating         Detroit: 1.0 rating
        Tulsa: 1.0 rating         Oklahoma City: 1.0 rating
        Atlanta: 1.0 rating         Jacksonville: 1.0 rating
        Oklahoma City: 1.0 rating         Tulsa: 1.0 rating

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.

FNF Host Gets New Honor

Photo Credit: Allen Kee/ESPN Images

Photo Credit: Allen Kee/ESPN Images

Photo Credit:  Zoe Metz for ESPN Front Row

Photo Credit: Zoe Metz For ESPN Front Row

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights has another brand new card set for tonight.  And along with the new fight card, ESPN has announced that host Joe Tessitore has received a new honor.  A horse bearing the FNF host’s name will race this weekend at Santa Anita race track in Southern California.  The three-year old Dark Bay Colt will race this Saturday in the day’s final race at the track.  When interviewed about the name, Tessitore said, “I’m giddy at the thought of it.”  He added, “When George [Bolton]—one of the horse’s owners—told me he was doing it, I was in disbelief.  The thought of having a high-priced thoroughbred named after me?  I kept asking him, ‘Are you serious?”

Tessitore and the horse that bears his name came face to face a year ago in Ocala, FL.  Tessitore said of the horse that when he first saw it, it took a “nice gallop around the track.”  Bolton offered his thoughts on Tessitore, Joe Tess, and its race this weekend saying, “Joe’s a talent and I hope the horse is as good a talent as the human.  If the horse can be as good at what he does as Joe is at his job, it’ll be a dream come true for me.”

Joe Tess is the offspring of Forty Moves and Macho Uno.  The horse is trained by Steve Assmussen and Scott Blasi (whose sister Kristi Blasi works for ESPN).  He is owned by George Bolton and Barbara Banke (Stonestreet Stables).

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.