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Top Rank to launch Friday night boxing series on truTV beginning May 1

30
Mar

Top Rank and truTV have partnered up to launch a live Friday night primetime boxing series, in association with Turner Sports and HBO Sports, beginning May 1, it was announced on Monday. The first show of the new series is headlined by the Ray Beltran-Takahiro Ao WBO lightweight title bout inside The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.

The inaugural series on truTV will feature three consecutive weeks of boxing coverage in May – all airing on the evening prior to a Saturday night HBO fight event (the first show takes place on the eve of the anticipated Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Manny Pacquiao pay-per-view event) – along with a slate of five additional fights to be scheduled over the remainder of the year.

The schedule will regularly feature established young talent in boxing, according to the press release. Turner Sports and HBO Sports will contribute resources as well as marketing and digital platforms in support of the new series.

“Partnering with Turner Sports and truTV for a new and unique boxing series will further invigorate and grow the sport,” Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank, stated in the press release. “Turner Sports’ innovative approach to production and programming has attracted and engaged tens of millions of fans of the NBA, MLB, NCAA and PGA and we believe the same will be true for boxing.



“Additionally, the collaboration between the HBO and truTV programming will help develop and expose current and future champions and world-rated contenders to a broad audience with consistency. All credit goes to Turner’s David Levy, Turner Sports’ Lenny Daniels and truTV’s Chris Linn who understand the impact of live sports and were instrumental in developing this concept into a program for their platforms.”

“Everybody at HBO is thrilled to see a new platform for live coverage of professional boxing being launched by a bold and creative network such as truTV,” said Ken Hershman, president of HBO Sports. “We congratulate Top Rank and Turner Sports on this new initiative. We look forward to lending our support to this important new franchise that will clearly benefit the sport, the fighters and the fans from day one of the series’ debut.”

The main event on May 1 showcases Ao (27-3-1, 16 KOs), a two-division beltholder from Chiba, Japan, against two-time former title challenger Beltran (29-7-1, 17 KOs), from Los Mochis, Mexico, in a 12-round bout for the vacant WBO 135-pound title. The undercard will include two undefeated fighters in action – Mikael Zewski (26-0, 23 KOs) from Quebec, Canada, against Konstantin Ponomarev (27-0, 13 KOs) from Miass, Russia – in a 10-round welterweight bout.

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