The NBC Sports Network’s nationally televised Fight Night boxing series returns to the city where it all began last January – the City of Brotherly Love, Philadelphia, PA. After five important and exciting boxing events throughout 2012, the series closes out the year with another Philly Fight Night on December 8th at Temple University’s Pearson / McGonigle Hall. Headlining in December is Bryant Jennings, the winner of the very first Fight Night main event. The NBC Sports Network telecast will begin at 9PM ET.
“We are very excited about the success we have had with Fight Night on NBC Sports Network. The collaboration with Main Events and J Russell Peltz has allowed us to produce strong match-ups and compelling shows.” said Jon Miller, President, Programming, NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network. “The NBC Sports Group is committed to the property and we are looking forward to our Fight Night schedule in 2013.”
Kathy Duva of Main Events said, “I love the idea that we are closing out the first NBC Sports Network Fight Night year with the fighter who helped us start the series.” Duva added, “We have fulfilled our promise to deliver competitive, crossroad fights. I’m really looking forward to December 8th and I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have coming next year!”
The series kicked off January 21st in South Philly when Jennings and Maurice Byarm rumbled for the Pennsylvania state title. Both fighters entered the ring with unbeaten records, but after a nip-and-tuck, all action 10-rounder, Jennings left with his “0” intact and the PA State Belt around his waist. An NBC Sports Network star was born. In the co-feature that night Philly’s Gabriel Rosado kicked his career into high gear with a head-turning performance against the tough Jesus Soto Karass in a junior middleweight bout. No one had ever stopped Karass before this fight, but Rosado pulled off the feat in round five.
The series returned in March from Brooklyn, NY with former multi-champion, and hometown hero, Zab Judah dominating rugged and undefeated Vernon Paris in a scheduled 12-round IBF junior welterweight title eliminator. Judah turned back the clock and secured another crack at the title with a convincing TKO in round nine. Bryant Jennings also won that night, beating former heavyweight champion Sergei Liakovich by ninth round stoppage. The win for Jennings brought him a world ranking, and prompted broadcast analyst and trainer Freddie Roach to call Jennings the best American heavyweight on the scene. Also on the card that night, former two-time champion Tomasz Adamek bounced back from his heavyweight title challenge with a solid win over Nagy Aguilera.
Gabriel Rosado returned to the NBC Sports Network airwaves by popular demand on June 1st, and won the WBO Intercontinental junior middleweight title with a TKO over Sechew Powell in nine rounds in Bethlehem, PA. The victory cemented Rosado’s reputation as a world-class all-action fighter with KOs on his mind. He dismantled Powell that night with his aggressive ‘take no prisoners’ style. Also on the card that evening, Bethlehem’s Ronald Cruz remained undefeated with a mature points win over fellow rising star Prenice Brewer. The thrilling chess match brought Cruz the vacant WBC continental Americas welterweight crown, and won him new fans all over the USA.
Two weeks later, Tomasz Adamek and Eddie Chambers fought a memorable fight at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ, in the fourth installment of the series. Chambers injured his left arm in the first round and had to fight the remaining eleven rounds one-handed. He came close to winning the fight, but the always-pressing Adamek took the decision and defended his IBF North American heavyweight title. Bryant Jennings returned to the series with a dominant unanimous decision over Steve Collins to capture the USBA heavyweight title. This third appearance on NBCSN showed the boxing world that Jennings was a real title threat, and pushed him further up the rankings.
On September 21st, Fight Night returned to Bethlehem, PA again with Gabriel Rosado in the spotlight. He fought the wily Charles Whittaker in an IBF title eliminator, and with another brutal beat down, became the mandatory challenger for IBF champion Cornelius Bundrage. Whittaker fell in round ten, and Rosado rose to #1. Bethlehem’s Ronald Cruz faced seasoned Antwone Smith in the welterweight co-feature, and after ten tough rounds lost for the first time in his career. Smith fought a little more slick and smart to go home with the victory. In the third feature of the night, Russian light heavyweight bomber Sergey Kovalev brought the pain to Lionell Thompson with a third round TKO.
Five big fight cards down and just one more to go for 2012. On December 8th, Fight Night returns with another terrific double feature. Series staple Bryant Jennings, 15-0, 7 KOs, defends his USBA heavyweight title against Bowie Tupou, 22-2, 16 KOs, in a 12-rounder. For Jennings, now ranked #5, the homecoming fight caps his breakthrough year that took him from prospect to contender. A win over the hard-punching Tupou just may set him up for a title shot in 2013. In the co-feature, Philly’s Teon Kennedy, 17-2-2, 7 KOs, clashes with undefeated Texan, Jerry Belmontes, 17-0, 5 KOs, in a 10-round junior lightweight fight. Kennedy, one of Philly’s most exciting boxers, is coming off a world title try and will have his hands full against the undefeated “Corpus Christi Kid”, who is looking to make a name for himself on national television the way so many others have done this year on the NBC Sports Network.