Roc Nation announces three-fight deal with Fox Sports 1
Roc Nation Sports and Fox Sports 1 have reached a three-fight agreement for a televised series called “Throne Boxing,” according to a release. The first show will feature welterweight Dusty Hernandez-Harrison against Tommy Rainone on Jan. 9 in the Theater at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
Founded by music mogul Jay-Z, Roc Nation Sports burst into boxing in August, when COO David Itskowitch posted a winning bid of more than $1.9 million for the right to promote a bout between Matt Korobov and then-WBO middleweight titleholder Peter Quillin, who eventually pulled out of the fight.
“All of us at Roc Nation Sports are thrilled to announce our first boxing event along with our first series and television deal,” said Itskowitch, the former COO of Golden Boy Promotions.
“The Jan. 9 event at The Theater at Madison Square Garden will be an event unlike anything boxing fans have experienced in the past, whether they’re at The Garden or watching at home on FOX Sports 1. An evening of exciting fights, great music and fantastic entertainment will be a fitting way to kick off ‘Throne Boxing,’ a series that will stand alone on the boxing landscape.”
Itskowitch said plans for the other two events are to include “multiple” cities and markets across the country.
“We’re really excited to have our first event on the books and planned, and on the schedule and in front of us. We’re happy that we’re going to be doing it at Madison Square Garden, in the media capital of the world, which is New York, which is this company’s hometown and my hometown,” said Itskowitch in an interview with RingTV.com.
“If you’re going to do something and do it big, then you do it in New York. I’m also happy that we’re on Fox Sports 1, which is a great platform. We’re happy to hit the ground running and to put on a great event that is going to be truly unique and unlike anything that’s really been seen in boxing before.”
Coming off last month’s first-round knockout of Michael Clark, the 20-year-old Hernandez-Harrison (24-0, 13 knockouts) will be making his third appearance at the Garden, having once fought in its main arena.
34-year-old journeyman Rainone (22-5-1, 4 KOs) was last in action for a unanimous decision over Carl McNickles in November.
“Fox Sports is thrilled to be in business with Roc Nation Sports, an innovative, entrepreneurial group,” said Fox Sports senior vice president Patrick Crake. “Providing this type of sports and entertainment programming to our viewers is a terrific opportunity for Fox Sports 1.”
According to a report by ESPN.com, Roc Nation Sports is on the verge of finalizing a deal this week to purchase promoter Gary Shaw’s company, Gary Shaw Productions. Itskowitch declined to comment, as did Shaw.
If the deal is completed, Shaw would come to work for Roc Nation Sports and the company would take over the promotional agreements of his fighters, according to ESPN.com.
Shaw’s stable includes heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings, who is under consideration to face RING champion Wladimir Klitschko.
“Ringside for our show will be celeb central, and hopefully all of the big names will show up. The most important thing for us is that we’re putting on our first show in one of the greatest venues on the planet,” said Ron Berkowitz of Roc Nation.
“I think that with what Roc Nation does on the entertainment side, and bringing in Michael Buffer as the ring announcer, and a name DJ and a name act and a name host, people are going to have a good time and it’s going to do hopefully what we want it to do and give somebody a complete show, which, for all of boxing, would be great.”