On tonight’s edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN), Boxcino 2014 gets underway.
ESPN senior coordinating producer Matt Sandulli on ESPN’s production of the tournament: “We will be doing on site interviews, producing mini-feature profiles around each fighter and ESPN2 studio host Todd Grisham will host from site on a recurring basis. The entire show content will be dedicated to the tournament with the exception of major breaking boxing news and there will be additional production support on-site to help with the production of the show.”
Tonight’s show from the Edgewater Casino in Laughlin, Nev., will feature the quarterfinals of the Lightweight portion of the tournament with the Middleweight quarterfinals getting underway from Harrah’s Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., next Friday, Feb. 28 (9 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN). View Tournament details and TV schedule as well as tournament brackets here.
The boxing tournament, presented by Banner Promotions, will be a single-elimination, two-weight class competition that will feature eight fighters in both the Lightweight and Middleweight divisions and will take place throughout the Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates season. ESPN televised the first Boxcino tournament back in 1997, which was won by future four-time world champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas.
Front Row caught up with ESPN senior director of programming and acquisitions Brian Kweder, who oversees content strategy and acquisition for ESPN’s soccer, boxing and bowling properties, to discuss Boxcino 2014.
What about Boxcino 2014 makes it attractive from a television programming standpoint?
One of the reasons fans tune into Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates is to follow the progression of fighters as they work towards becoming the next pay-per-view star. The Boxcino tournament is a fun way to determine who that next big star will be.
What makes televising and scheduling a boxing tournament different from televising and scheduling a typical Friday Night Fights/Noche de Combates card?
The shows are typically treated as stand-alone events with a main event and a co-feature. Boxcino features 16 different boxers competing across five different shows from four different venues over the course of three months. Promoter Artie Pelullo (Banner Promotions CEO) has done a tremendous job at tying it all together into a nice, neat package for our fans.
Beyond the tournament, how do you see Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates benefitting from showcasing this tournament and these fighters?
The hope is to draw the interest of fans who might not typically watch Friday Night Fights allowing those fans to get a taste of the quality entertainment our show delivers week in and week out.
Philadelphia, PA (February 19, 2014)–This Friday night at the Edgewater Casino in Laughlin, Nevada, Boxcino 2014 will kick off with the quarterfinals in the lightweight division. Next Friday the scene will shift to the Horseshoe Hammond Casino in Hammond, Indiana for the quarterfinals in the middleweight division.
What makes the tournament unique is the varied styles and experience of the participants and below are some statistics that show just that.
Oldest: Petr Petrov 30 (3/28/83)
Youngest: Fernando Carcamo 23 (11/2/90)
Most Fights: Petr Petrov 38 (32-4-2)
Least Fights: Chris Rudd 13 (12-1)
Most Rounds: Petr Petrov 213
Least Rounds: Chris Rudd 45
Most KO’s: Miguel Angel Mendoza 21
Winning %: Samuel Neequaye (21-0) & Fedor Papazov (14-0) 100%
KO%: Miguel Angel Mendoza (84 % and 100% of wins are by stoppage)
The total record of the 8 lightweights is : 158-19-6 with 115 KO’s
World Champions and Challengers faced:
Has faced two-division world champion Ricky Burns as well as world title challengers Juan Carlos Burgos, Ji-Hoon Kim and Ali Funeka
Has faced two-division champion Marcos Maidana and Vitalli Tajbert
Defeated former world champion Miguel Acosta and fought Michael Dallas Jr. (who fought for an interim world title)
Miguel Angel Mendoza
Fought former world title challengers Rey Bautista and Ricardo Alvarez (who will fight for a world title on March 8th)
Holds a 2nd round stoppage over former world title challenger Vicente Escobedo
Oldest: Donatas Bondorovas 34 (11/12/79)
Youngest: Sena Agbeko 21 (3/1/92–Will turn 22 day after his quarterfinal bout)
*Most Fights: Daniel Edouard 29 (23-4-2)
*Least Fights: Brandon Adams 12 (12-0)
Most Rounds: Daniel Edouard 144
Least Rounds: Brandon Adams 38
Most KO’s: Sena Agbeko 15
Winning %: Vitalii Kopylenko (22-0); Sena Agbeko (15-0) & Brandon Adams (12-0) 100%
KO%: Sena Agbeko (100%…15-0, 15 KO’s)
* Edouard and Adams will face each other in the quarterfinals.
The Total record of the 8 middleweights is: 135-13-4
World Champions and Challengers Faced:
Has faced former world title challenger Fernando Guerrero
Has faced former undisputed middleweight champion Jermain Taylor. He has faced former challengers Miguel Espino, Eromesele Albert, Alfonso Mosquera and former two-time challenger Peter Manfredo Jr.
February 21st lightweight quarter final
FIGHT WEEK SCHEDULE:
HOTEL & EVENT LOCATION:
2020 South Casino Drive, Laughlin, Nevada 89029 Phone: (702) 298-2453
Thursday, Feb. 20th
Weigh-in: 5:00 PM
Location: Edgewater Casino – Rio Vista Room (down stairs next to the Buffet)
Friday, Feb. 21st
Fight Night: E Center at the Edgewater Casino
Doors open – 4:30 PM
First fight (and first fight on ESPN) – 6:00 PM
The February 21 edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra will feature the quarterfinals of the Lightweight portion of Boxcino 2014 sponsored by 1800 Tequila. The tournament is a single-elimination, two-weight class tournament that will feature eight fighters in both the Lightweight and Middleweight divisions.
Friday’s show, from the Edgewater Casino in Laughlin, Nev., will air live at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, broadband Spanish-language ESPN Deportes+ and WatchESPN. ESPN Deportes will televise the fights Saturday, Feb. 22, at 9 p.m. The card is promoted by Banner Promotions. Tournament details and TV schedule can be found on ESPN MediaZone. Tournament brackets can also be found on ESPN MediaZone.
Joe Tessitore will be ringside with Teddy Atlas describing the action for ESPN2, while studio host Todd Grisham (@GrishamESPN) will be on-site presenting all the latest boxing news and highlights. Delvin Rodríguez and Pablo Viruega will call the fights for Noche de Combates (Fight Night) on both ESPN Deportes and ESPN Deportes+, while Leopoldo González and Claudia Trejos will anchor the studio. Bilingual reporter Bernardo Osuna (@osunaespn) will present live interviews and reports for both shows.
Lightweight Quarterfinal Matchups: Six Rounds Each
The first round of the lightweight tournament will feature:
Yakubu Amidu (19-4-2, 17 KOs) vs. Chris Rudd (12-1, 8 KOs)
Fedor Papazov (14-0, 9 KOs) vs. Petr Petrov (32-4-2, 14 KOs)
Miguel González (22-3, 16 KOs) vs. Miguel Angel Mendoza (21-2-2, 21 KOs)
Fernando Carcamo (15-5, 12 KOs) vs. Samuel Neequaye (21-0,15 KOs)
Los Angeles’ Amidu is coming off a seventh-round TKO win over Rynell Griffen, while Rudd is looking to rebound from an eight-round majority decision loss to William Jackson. In his last outing, California’s Papazov scored a 10-round unanimous decision win over Sergio Escobar, while former Jr. Welterweight world title challenger Petrov of Spain, is looking to get back to his winning ways following a 12-round unanimous decision loss to Dejan Zlaticanin. In his last fight, Cleveland’s González scored an eight-round TKO win over Josenilson Dos Santos, while Mexico’s Mendoza is coming off a technical draw against Fidel Monterrosa. Baltimore’s Neequaye is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision win over Dorin Spivey, while Mexico’s Carcamo is looking to score another victory following a second-round TKO win over Sergio Rivera.
Next Week on Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates:
On Friday, Feb. 28 (9 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN), from Harrah’s Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., the Boxcino 2014 Middleweight quarterfinals will be held.
Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates Social Media:
· Follow ESPN Friday Night Fights on Twitter @ESPNFNF or like it on Facebook.
· Score the fights round-by-round with the “Live Friday Night Fights Facebook Voting App,” an application on the ESPN FNF Facebook page that allows viewers to score the fight round-by-round.
· Follow ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates on Twitter @ESPNBoxeo.
· For the latest ESPN.com boxing news and analysis follow @ESPNBoxing.
By Phil Rivera of Boxing Tribune
Last week, ESPN and Banner Promotions announced it had joined forces to create the 2014 Boxcino Tournament; where lightweight and middleweight contenders will compete in separate single-elimination brackets beginning February 21. The field is a diverse mix of prospects and veterans from various parts of the world. One of the middleweight’s taking part is Sena Agbeko (15-0, 15 KOs) of Ghana; who makes his U.S. debut against Raymond Gatica (13-2, 8 KOs) in a six round bout.
Agbeko became interested in boxing while following the career of Azumah Nelson, who many consider to be the greatest African fighter of all time. In 2008, he began to box and has rarely left the gym since. Now, at 21-years-old, he hopes to win the Boxcino title and join the likes of Ike Quartey, Joshua Clottey and Joseph Agbeko, as the latest champion to come out of Ghana.
“People are looking to me to be the next big thing to come out of the country,” said Agbeko. “There’s a lot of expectations and pressure on my shoulders. But it’s a good thing, because they inspire me to train hard.”
Although he boasts the record with the highest Knockout percentage of the tournament, he has yet to fight outside of Ghana, or face the level of competition the tourney will provide. Still, don’t look for Agbeko to be intimidated by his opponent’s edge in experience.
“I’m going to win the tournament,” said Agbeko. “I believe 100 percent that I could beat the rest of the seven guys in the bracket if I had too; because I’m the hardest working guy in this tournament.”
Now that he’s ready to take the next step in his young career, his representatives at KO Management have moved him to Tennessee; where he trains, away from the distractions that exist at home. It took time for him to get used to the climate change (average temperature in Ghana is about 85 degrees), but now that he’s settled, he plans to stay in the U.S.
“Tennessee is peaceful and there are no distractions,” Agbeko said. “My future is here in the U.S., because there’s so much I want to accomplish and going back to Ghana wouldn’t exactly give me the chance to do that.“
Last year, Agbeko graduated from The Ghana School of Journalism, making him the first Ghanaian boxer to ever complete tertiary education (college). He wants to one day pursue a career in broadcasting.
“That’s what I’ve always been interested in doing, that’s where my passion has always been. Hopefully when I retire I can work in broadcasting,” said the undefeated middleweight.
It’s been 30 years since Azumah Nelson put “The Gold Coast” on the map by knocking out Wilfredo Gomez. Since then, Ghana has produced solid fighters, but none of whom have captured the public’s attention the way Nelson once did.
On February 28, in Hammond, Indiana, Agbeko begins his run at glory; with the hope of creating a new path for African boxers and earning the worlds respect.
“A lot of times fighters coming from Africa haven’t been given much respect,” said Agbeko. “I have the chance to change that and create a new era for African guys like me. I want to be the one in recent times to bring about the respect for African fighters like Azumah Nelson accomplished in the past.”
You can follow Sena Agbeko on istagram and twitter @senaagbeko