2014 FNF Season to Include 26 Telecasts, Early Schedule Released:
ESPN Friday Night Fights will return for its 17th season Friday, Jan. 3, at 9 p.m. with a 12-round IBF title bout between Junior Lightweight titlist Argenis Méndez (21-2-1, 11 KOs) and undefeated Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs). The 10-round co-feature will include up and coming Middleweight contender Caleb Truax (23-1, 4 KOs).
The first of 2014’s 26 telecasts, from the Target Center in Minneapolis, is co-promoted by former Heavyweight champion Mike Tyson and his promotional company Iron Mike Productions. Tyson made his promotional debut in August to close out the 2013 Friday Night Fights season in a night that featured Méndez in the world title main event.
“We are eagerly anticipating the upcoming season of Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates,” said Brian Kweder, ESPN senior director of programming and acquisitions. “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.”
Friday Night Fights telecasts will include alternate point of view cameras mounted in different locations capturing the atmosphere of the venues and fights. Friday Night Fights will also feature more live audio during fights to give viewers more access to the fighters and trainers.
Every Friday Night Fights telecast will continue to implement an ultra slo-mo camera, providing some of the most dramatic and amazing replays of a fight’s biggest punches.
Friday Night Fights will total 26 dates in 2014. Here’s the early schedule:
|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|