NBCSN presents Fight Night this Friday at 10 p.m. ET featuring a heavyweight match-up between Steve “USS” Cunningham (26-6-0, 12 KOs) and Amir “Hardcore” Mansour (20-0-0, 15 KOs) for Philadelphia bragging rights. Cunningham is a Philadelphia native who learned to box in the United States Navy and has not fought in front of his hometown crowd in eleven years. Mansour was born and raised just over the state line in Wilmington, DE and honed his boxing skills at the Joe Hand Gym in Philadelphia.
NBC Sports Group’s Fight Night broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Kenny Rice, analyst B.J. Flores and reporter Chris Mannix calls the action from the Liacouras Center in Philadelphia. Cunningham, 37, is a former two-time cruiserweight world champion who wants to make it to the upper echelon of this tough heavyweight division. He is coming off a unanimous decision win over Manuel Quezada in eight rounds at Resorts International Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, NJ on December 14, 2013. Despite being a Philadelphia native, Cunningham has only fought once in his hometown, an eight-round unanimous decision victory over Demetrius Jenkins on March 29, 2003 at the historic Spectrum. Cunningham said, “The last time I fought in Philadelphia, Philly didn’t know me. I learned to fight in the Navy so I didn’t have a following at home. I am grateful to NBC for putting me on with the Adamek fight and the Fury fight and allowing me to do the ‘In the Ring’ with B.J. [Flores]. They really helped me develop a fan base.”
The undefeated Mansour, 41, is coming off a seventh-round stoppage victory over Kelvin Price, also at Resorts on December 14th in the featured bout on that night’s edition of Fight Night. He has an impressive 75% (15 of 20) knockout-to-win ratio since turning pro in 1997 despite a more than nine year lay-off while he was in prison. “I won this title with the flu, dehydrated and sick,” Mansour said. “I really hurt myself winning this title and I am prepared to defend it. I am not willing to let anyone take it from me. This is my time. I am prepared to die before I lose in this ring. That is my mentality. Before I lose take me out on a stretcher.”
Both of these men have deep ties to Philadelphia so the fans at the Liacouras Center should be split equally down the middle. Main Events’ CEO Kathy Duva said, “We are thrilled to bring the Philadelphia fans this exciting all-Philly match-up. We strive to make interesting and competitive crossroads fights on Fight Night and this one just delivers in every way imaginable.”
The co-feature includes a ten-round middleweight match-up between Curtis “Showtime” Stevens and Tureano Johnson. Stevens, 29, is coming off an impressive first round knockout on Fight Night of Patrick “The Machine” Majewski on January 24, 2014 at Resorts in Atlantic City. Stevens said, Johnson, 30, is undefeated and makes his Fight Night debut on Friday.
“We are excited to present this Fight Night card featuring a heavyweight championship bout with some Philadelphia flavor for the hometown crowd,” said Gary Quinn, Vice President of Programming & Planning for NBC and NBCSN.