Heavyweight championship boxing makes an EPIX return next month with America’s latest line of offense! World champions Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin will defend their titles on Saturday, July 7 and Saturday, July 14, respectively, and both fights will be televised live in the U.S. exclusively on EPIX, the multiplatform premium entertainment service. EpixHD.com will stream the fights live as part of a special free trial offer for boxing fans.
Klitschko, the WBA, IBF & WBO heavyweight champion, will battle top-rated contender Tony Thompson at Stade de Suisse, in Berne, Switzerland, in a rematch of their 2008 fight.
Povetkin will risk his undefeated record and WBA heavyweight crown against former two-time heavyweight champion and current No. 1 contender and mandatory challenger Hasim Rahman. The July 14 telecast will also feature an all-British heavyweight war between former two-division world champion David Haye and one-time heavyweight title challenger Dereck Chisora for the vacant WBA Intercontinental heavyweight title. Both fights will take place in the West Ham Football Club’s Boleyn Ground at Upton Park in London.
You don’t have to look any further than this press conference encounter to see where the bad blood began which led to the making of Haye vs. Chisora – check out the video on the EPIX YouTube page.
These six gladiators boast a combined record of 207-17-2 (163 KOs) – a 92% winning percentage and a 79% victory by knockout ratio.
As has become the custom, EPIX will once again present the closed-captioned simulcast of this world championship rumble on its jumbotron in Times Square in New York City (Broadway between 44th and 45th Sts.)
“Tony Thompson gave me one of my toughest fights when we fought the first time, back in 2008,” said Klitschko. “In this rematch, I will show the world that I have only gotten better and plan to successfully keep all of my titles. The soccer stadium in Berne is beautiful and this will be a great event with over 30,000 people in attendance. I always get so much energy when so many fans are in the large stadiums to watch me fight. This will be the sixth fight in a row that I have fought in a soccer stadium and I am happy that EPIX is broadcasting this event live in the US.”
“I’m delighted that my fight against David Haye will be live on EPIX so that my fans in the US will get to see me knock him out,” added Chisora. “This is a huge fight in Europe and has taken over all the media coverage and will get bigger and bigger as we get closer to the night.”
“EPIX is very pleased to continue its exclusive live U.S. telecasts of championship boxing. The fireworks displayed by the recent Froch vs. Bute super middleweight championship has continued to produce excitement for U.S.-based fight fans and audience growth for the EPIX Sports boxing series. It was the perfect follow-up to our unprecedented heavyweight championship trilogy, which featured Wladimir Klitschko, Vitali Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin successfully defending their world titles over three consecutive weeks earlier this year. And here we are again with Wladimir Klitschko and Alexander Povetkin once again defending their titles in consecutive weeks on EPIX,” said Travis Pomposello, EPIX CCO and executive producer of EPIX Sports.
Klitschko (57-3, 50 KOs), of Kiev, Ukraine, is a two-time world heavyweight champion. Wladimir began his first title reign in 2000 when he captured the WBO heavyweight title via a unanimous decision over defending champion Chris Byrd. Byrd suffered two knockdowns in that battle. Klitschko’s two-year title reign included five successful defenses – all by knockout – before losing the belt to Corrie Sanders in 2003. Klitschko returned to the world championship throne in 2006, this time as IBF champion, when he dethroned Chris Byrd in a title rematch. This victory was even more emphatic than the first one with Klitschko stopping Byrd in the seventh round. Since that fight, Klitschko has taken on and defeated all comers while unifying the title with victories over WBO champion Sultan Ibragimov, and WBA champion David Haye. He enters this fight riding an eight-year, 15-bout winning streak. His most recent victory was a fourth-round knockout of former two-time world champion Jean Marc Mormeck, on March 3, which was televised live to the U.S. by EPIX.
Thompson (36-2, 24 KOs), from Washington, D.C., is a power-punching southpaw who is ready to give Klitschko his Berne notice when they meet again for the title. Thompson earned his first world title shot with Klitschko by stringing together an eight-year, 27-bout winning streak, which featured victories over top-rated contenders Luan Krasniqi, Timur Ibragimov, Dominick Guinn, and Vaughn Bean. Though unsuccessful in his challenge of Klitschko, Thompson gained valuable experience and a hunger for another world title fight. Since losing to Klitschko in 2008, Thompson has returned to the top of the IBF ratings by winning his five subsequent fights – all by knockout – including stoppages of Chazz Witherspoon and Owen Beck.
Povetkin (24-0, 16 KOs), of Russia, captured the vacant WBA heavyweight title last August, winning a gutsy unanimous decision over former WBA heavyweight champion Ruslan Chagaev, who entered the fight as the No. 1-rated contender. Povetkin, the 2004 Olympic super heavyweight gold medalist, has an impressive resume which includes a knockout victory over former two-time heavyweight champion Chris Byrd, and unanimous decision victories over one-time heavyweight title challenger Eddie Chambers and former U.S. Olympians Jason Estrada and Larry Donald. Povetkin enters this fight having won four of his last seven bouts by knockout, including his December 3 title defense, an eighth-round stoppage of Cedric Boswell. Povetkin, who has had all of his heavyweight title fights televised live in the U.S. on EPIX, returns to the ring fresh from successfully defending his championship belt, via majority decision on February 25, against WBO cruiserweight Marco Huck, ending Huck’s four-year, 15-bout winning streak.
Rahman (50-7-2, 41 KOs), of Baltimore, MD, has fought nearly every notable heavyweight and is certainly no stranger to fighting for the world heavyweight championship. In fact, he is the last American to hold a heavyweight title belt. The highlight of his career came in 2001 when he knocked out defending champion Lennox Lewis in the fifth round to capture the heavyweight title. After losing the title in the immediate rematch later that year, Rahman was able to fight his way back into contention where he regained the WBC heavyweight title in 2005 via a unanimous decision over Monte Barrett. After losing the title to Oleg Maskaev in 2006 – the last time an American has ever worn a heavyweight champion belt – Rahman has won nine of his last 11 bouts, eight by knockout, with the lone blemishes being a TKO loss to heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2008 and a No Contest to three-division world champion James Toney.
Chisora (15-3, 9 KOs), of London, returns to the ring on the heels of his two most notable fights. Last December, in a fight that was televised live in the U.S. on EPIX, Chisora, an underdog fighting outside his native United Kingdom for the first time, out-boxed undefeated No. 1 heavyweight contender Robert Helenius over 12-rounds in his native Finland only to have the judges return a narrow split decision victory to Helenius to the outrage of fans and media alike. Based on that performance, Chisora, the former BBBoC British heavyweight champion and Commonwealth (British Empire) heavyweight champion earned a title shot with WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko on February 18, also televised live to the U.S. on EPIX. Though he lost a unanimous decision, it was the first time in nearly two years that Klitschko had been forced to go the distance. Chisora’s professional resume boasts consecutive knockout victories of Danny Williams and Sam Sexton, who had a combined record of 54-9 when he defeated them in 2010.
Haye (25-2, 23 KOs), of London, captured his first world title in 2007, knocking out defending WBC/WBA cruiserweight champion Jean Marc Mormeck in the seventh round. He added the WBO crown to his war chest in his first defense, a second-round pasting of Enzo Maccarinelli the following year. He vacated the titles to move up to the heavyweight division and in only second fight as a heavyweight dethroned WBA heavyweight champion Nikolay Valuev, via majority decision. He successfully defended the title twice, knocking out former two-time heavyweight champion John Ruiz and 2000 Olympic gold medalist and fellow countryman Audley Harrison in the ninth and third rounds, respectively, both in 2010. Haye lost the crown last July, losing a unanimous decision to Wladimir Klitschko in a title unification fight. Haye’s fight against Chisora will be his first since that loss.