NBC Sports Group formally announced on Tuesday the formation of NBC Sports Network Fight Night, a boxing series featuring premier boxing talent.
Fight Night will debut on Saturday, Jan. 21, on the NBC Sports Network — which will been renamed from Versus on Jan. 2 — from Asylum Arena in Philadelphia, Pa.
The Fight Night cards are being scheduled in cities that are served by a Comcast Sports Group regional network, and the regional networks will help to promote the events and have the ability to re-air fights.
NBC Sports Group will work with Main Events and Hall of Fame matchmaker J. Russell Peltz on a multi-promoter strategy for NBC Sports Network Fight Night designed to produce the best quality fights.
It is a strategy in which any promoter can participate to get his boxers involved.
“This is a unique approach to have multiple promoters competing to put fights on NBC Sports Network,” said Jon Miller, president of programming at NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network.
“That, coupled with the legendary matchmaker J. Russell Peltz serving as our quality control expert ensures that boxing fans will enjoy exciting and competitive matches.”
Main Events President Kathy Duva said that she will work with other promoters to televise the bouts during prime time, in conjuction with NBC, in fights that will be on Versus as well as NBC on weekends.
“We are reaching out to all promoters to get involved in the series, and our priority is simply to make exciting fights. We don’t care who brings the fighters,” said Duva.
“We expect that multiple promoters will be involved in each of the Fight Night programs. All fighters who are willing to further their careers by engaging in compelling, interesting, meaningful matches are welcome.”
Under Duva, former light heavyweight and cruiserweight beltholder Tomasz Adamek (44-2, 28 KOs) won 13 staight fights, including six of them in a row as a heavyweight before being stopped in the 10th round by Vitali Klitschko (43-2, 40 KOs) in September.
Also, Zab Judah (41-7, 28 KOs) earned the IBF junior welterweight belt by seventh-round knockout over Kaizer Mabuza in March before being dethroned by fifth-round stoppage by Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs) in July.
“Fights in this series will be solid, competitive and exciting,” said Peltz, who promotes unbeaten RING No. 8-rated Philadelphia welterweight Mike Jones (25-0, 19 KOs).
“Borrowing the philosophy of the late Madison Square Garden matchmaker Teddy Brenner, my bouts will be made on the following criteria: Do the fighters’ styles mesh to make an exciting fight? Does this fight lead to something? And would I buy a ticket to it? These should be good fights for boxing fans.”
NBC SPORTS NETWORK FIGHT NIGHT SCHEDULE (All Times ET)
Saturday, January 21, 9-11 p.m. – Philadelphia
Saturday, March 24, 10 p.m.-Midnight – Site TBA
Saturday, June 16, 9-11 p.m. – Site TBA
Saturday, December 8, 9-11 p.m. – Site TBA
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org