Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN telecast, featuring Vasiliy Lomachenko successfully defending his WBO World Junior Lightweight title against Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-1-0, 11 KO), delivered big on ratings and viewership, making it Saturday’s most-viewed telecast on cable television among men 18-34 and men 18-49, according to final viewership data from Nielsen Media Research.
December 9 Top Things to Know
- All four of Saturday night’s fights within the telecast averaged at least 1.6 million viewers and rank among the top eight fights on cable in 2017
- Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN averaged 1,845,000 viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, including 405,000 Hispanic viewers
- On ESPN, the full telecast averaged 1,730,000 viewers and was the most-viewed Hispanic telecast of the day on the network
- On ESPN Deportes, the full telecast averaged 115,000 viewers and was the most-viewed telecast of the day on the network
- On ESPN, the telecast averaged 290,000 Hispanic viewers and 17% of the audience was of Hispanic descent. The telecast was the most-viewed telecast of the day on cable television among Hispanic adults 18 to 49.
Top Rank on ESPN to date
- Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN telecast ranks as the second most-viewed boxing telecast on cable in 2017, behind the Top Rank on ESPN Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn July telecast
- To date, Top Rank on ESPN is averaging 1.6 million viewers and 55% of the audience has been multicultural
- Top Rank on ESPN has also aired the twelve most-viewed fights on cable in 2017
*Note that telecast refers to full window (e.g. 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.) and fight refers to each single fight during the telecast
Viewers for Top Boxing Fights on Cable Television in 2017
|ESPN||07/01/2017||Manny Pacquiao/Jeff Horn||3,925,000|
|ESPN||07/01/2017||Jerwin Ancajas/Teiru Kinoshita||2,234,000|
|ESPN||12/09/2017||Vasiliy Lomachenko/Guillermo Rigondeaux||2,114,000|
|ESPN||07/01/2017||Michael Conlan/Jarrett Owen||1,867,000|
|ESPN||11/11/2017||Artur Beterbiev/Enrico Koelling||1,725,000|
|ESPN||12/09/2017||Shakur Stevenson/Oscar Mendoza||1,687,000|
|ESPN||12/09/2017||Chris Diaz/Bryant Cruz||1,647,000|
|ESPN||12/09/2017||Michael Conlan/Luis Fernando Molina||1,635,000|
|ESPN||08/19/2017||Terence Crawford/Julius Indongo||1,327,000|
|ESPN||11/11/2017||José Ramírez/Mike Reed||1,182,000|
|ESPN||07/01/2017||Shane Mosley Jr./David Touissaint||1,177,000|
|ESPN||08/19/2017||Oleksandr Gvozdyk/Craig Baker||968,000|
Next up for Top Rank on ESPN is the Saturday, February 3 bout between Gilbert “Zurdo” Ramirez, Mexico’s super middleweight champion, defending his World Boxing Organization (WBO) title against Top-Five world-rated contender Habib “Wild Hurricane” Ahmed from Accra, Ghana. The fight will take place at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, TX, and will be televised live and exclusively at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.
Last night’s fight between Vasiliy Lomachenko (10-1-0, 7 KO) vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-1-0, 11 KO) delivered big on ratings, making it the second highest-rated boxing telecast on cable in 2017, according to Nielsen overnight ratings. It was an electric, full house at the Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City that watched two of the top ten pound-for-pound fighters in the world, both two-time Olympic gold medal winners, battle it out for the WBO Junior Lightweight World Title. Lomachenko wowed with a sixth-round TKO.
Three additional fights rounded out Saturday’s cable television card with marquee appearances by rising stars Shakur Stevenson, Chris Diaz and Mick Conlan, all three placing in the top ten fights of the year.
With the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux results in, ESPN now has secured seven of the top ten rated fights of the year and the highest-rated fights on cable television since July 1. In just six months, since the Top Rank on ESPN debut, ESPN has generated impressive ratings results with its boxing events starting with its telecast of Pacquiao vs Horn, the #1 rated fight of the year.
2017 Top Ten Fights on Cable Television
|DATE||NETWORK||FIGHT||MTRD MKT RTG|
|07/01/2017||ESPN||Manny Pacquiao vs Jeff Horn||2.4|
|12/09/2017||ESPN||Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux||1.5|
|12/09/2017||ESPN||Shakur Stevenson vs. Oscar Mendoza||1.1|
|12/09/2017||ESPN||Michael Conlon vs. Luis Molina||1.1|
|11/25/2017||HBO||Sergey Kovalev vs. Vyacheslav Shabranskyy||1.1|
|08/19/2017||ESPN||Terence Crawford vs Julius Indongo||1.0|
|11/11/2017||ESPN||Artur Beterbiev vs. Enrico Koelling||1.0|
|12/09/2017||ESPN||Chris Diaz vs. Bryant Cruz||1.0|
|11/25/2017||HBO||Sullivan Barrera vs. Felix Valera||1.0|
|Multiple tied at||0.9|
Top Things to Know
- Last night’s Top Rank on ESPN telecast featuring Vasiliy Lomachenko vs. Guillermo Rigondeaux averaged a 1.3 metered market rating
- Based on overnight ratings, last night’s event alone also secured four of the year’s top ten rated boxing fights on cable
- Based on overnight ratings, this is the second highest-rated boxing telecast on cable in 2017 and the second highest-rated boxing telecast on ESPN since the start of 2016
- Las Vegas was the top local market, where the telecast averaged a 3.0 metered market rating, including a 4.5 rating during the main event
Top Local Markets
Las Vegas and Tulsa were the top two markets for the full telecast, with a 3.0 metered market rating.
|Rank||Market||Metered Market Rating|
Next up on Top Rank on ESPN is the title fight between boxing’s Cinderella Man, Jeff “the Hornet” Horn and Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran. The WBO Welterweight championship fight will air live from Brisbane, Australia Wednesday, December 13, at 6:30 a.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes, and stream live on the ESPN App. Horn (17-0-1, 11 KOs) will be risking his newly-minted World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight crown against Top-10 contender Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran (17-1, 7 KOs), of London. It will be the Brit’s first fight outside the United Kingdom. Horn vs. Corcoran will re-air the same day at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2.
History will be made on December 9th. For the first time ever two-time Olympic gold medalists will meet as professionals when WBO junior lightweight champion Vasily “Hi-Tech” Lomachenko and WBA super bantamweight champion Guillermo “El Chacal” Rigondeaux square off at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
The bout, for Lomachenko’s 130-pound title, will headline an all-action card presented by Top Rank, in association with Roc Nation Sports and Madison Square Garden. The card will be televised live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.
“The Hall of Fame’s mission is to honor and preserve boxing history and this fight has historic implications as it is the first time two-time Olympic gold medalists have fought as professionals,” said Hall of Fame Executive Director Edward Brophy. “To have two of the most decorated Olympic boxers of all time battle with the junior lightweight championship on the line promises to be a memorable night for the sport.”
“We are thrilled that both fighters and their camps agreed to donate the gloves they will use against each other on December 9th. While the Hall’s collection of fight-worn artifacts continues to grow year after year, this is the first time that gloves will go right from the boxers’ fists to the hands of the Hall of Fame in the ring immediately after the bout ends.”
“The Lomachenko vs Rigondeaux title fight is a signature event in the sport of boxing. The two greatest Olympic fighters facing off against each other as professional world champions. Never before in boxing history have two-time Olympic gold medalists, faced each other in a professional boxing match,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, founder and CEO of Top Rank. “It’s fitting that their gloves be enshrined at the International Boxing Hall of Fame. On December 9, the gloves belong to the fighters. Beginning December 10, they will belong to history.”
“My goal in this sport from the beginning was to make Boxing history,” said Lomachenko. “It is a very big honor to have a part of me – my boxing gloves – to be in the Boxing Hall of Fame in Canastota. It is very exciting too to be the first to have his gloves taken from the boxing ring on December 9 to the Hall of Fame.”
“Vasily and I have been together since the beginning. This is such an honor for his gloves to go into the Boxing Hall of Fame,” said Egis Klimas, Lomachenko’s manager. “This is exciting not just for Vasily but for all of his fans throughout the world.”
“I’m truly humbled by the International Boxing Hall of Fame’s decision to enshrine my gloves from this historic fight against Vasily Lomachenko. It’s an incredible honor and one that wouldn’t be possible without the support of my family, Roc Nation and my fans worldwide,” said Rigondeaux. “I have devoted my life to the sport of boxing, so it’s a blessing to know that my gloves will be commemorated forever alongside those of other boxing greats.”
“There is no one more deserving of this tremendous honor than Guillermo Rigondeaux. In addition to being recognized as an outstanding Olympian, Rigo is an exceptional fighter that has displayed a winning pedigree with class, confidence and consistency. He has overcome several obstacles to reach this point in his storied career and we’re proud that he will represent the Roc Nation family in the International Boxing Hall of Fame on the biggest fight night of his career,” said Michael R. Yormark, President & Chief of Branding and Strategy of Roc Nation.
Lomachenko won gold medals for Ukraine at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games and posted an incredible 396-1 amateur record. In 2014 he won the WBO featherweight championship in only his third pro bout and captured the WBO junior lightweight title to become a two-division champion in just his seventh pro start. “Hi-Tech’s” record stands at 9-1 (7 KOs) and includes wins over Roman “Rocky” Martinez, Nicholas Walters, Jason Sosa and Gary Russell, Jr.
Rigondeaux won gold medals for Cuba at the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games and compiled an unbelievable 463-12 amateur ledger. “El Chacal” won the WBA super bantamweight title in 2012 and has defended eight times, including a 2013 unification win against WBO champion Nonito Donaire. Rigondeaux’s pro record reads 17-0 (11 KOs) and includes victories over Rico Ramos, Teon Kennedy and Joseph Agbeko.
A not-for-profit organization, the International Boxing Hall of Fame opened to the public in 1989 in Canastota, New York and is located at Exit 34 of the New York State Thruway. Hours of operation are Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
MICHAEL YORMARK (President & Chief of Branding & Strategy, Roc Nation): Thank you and good afternoon everybody. We are equally excited about this incredible night of boxing. On behalf of Guillermo as well as Roc Nation, we want to thank Top Rank; we want to thank ESPN; and all of the organizations that have been involved in making this event what it will be on December 9. I’m joined today by Dino Duva who heads up Roc Nation Boxing and would like for him to talk about the bout.
DINO DUVA (Head of Boxing, Roc Nation): Thank you and just to echo what Michael said we are just extremely proud and excited to be part of this great historic fight. It’s a pleasure doing business with Bob and Top Rank and everyone on their team and obviously ESPN who is the leader in sports around the world to be a part of this historic event as a boxing fan I can’t wait to see this fight. We are very excited for Rigo, amongst everything. Rigo has had a historic legendary career as an Olympic fighter and now as a professional and this is a fight that he’s been waiting for his entire career, to bring him not just to the top of the pound-for-pound list, where he has always been, to bring him the exposure and the accolades as one of the most popular fighters in the world that he’s so deserving of. But he’s never had the chance to get there. This is the fight that’s going to bring him over that hump. We congratulate Lomachenko – he’s a great fighter – we think he’s stepped up a little too much in this fight, but it’s going to be a great match. We are just really proud to be a part of this historic event.
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I’m very happy that everything has been put in place. I started on ESPN so I am very happy that this fight is taking place there and I would like to thank Roc Nation and Top Rank for putting it together. I have been anticipating this fight for a long time and now everything is concrete and the fight is on its way.
Lomachenko said yesterday that if Rigondeaux wants to win he will have to come straight at me. What do you think of that?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: Let him think what he wants. We are going to do what we need to do. We have our game plan.
What was the thought process to move up two divisions to make this fight happen? Did you think about staying at 122?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I went up to 130 because it was the only way I could get this fight made. I would rather it have been at a lower weight, but I want to show the world that I can do it by moving up two weight classes.
There are not many fighters in history that have been on par with Guillermo’s amateur career – does you view Lomachenko as an equal?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: He is a great boxer and he has a lot of qualities and he is also an Olympic Champion, multiple times, so he’s got a lot of talent, yes.
How do you feel about that fact that most people are looking at mostly your amateur backgrounds when talking about the fight? After all, it is the first time that two-time Olympic Gold Medal winners are going to fight each other.
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: Yes, it is the first time in history that two multiple Olympic champions are going to fight each other, face each other off, and it is going to be a very good fight. It’s going to be a great fight for the fans and it’s going to be a great historical fight that fans will forever look back on.
Since fighting Drian Francisco in 2015, you have only had two fights that lasted a total of three rounds. Are you concerned about any kind of rust because of the way you fight it is so much about his timing and quickness?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: No, not at all. I can assure you 100% that I am at 100% and I am going to show the world what I have been preparing for.
Do you think that eight pounds is too much to give up?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: No, not at all. If this is what it takes to fight the big fights then you guys are going to see on December 9 if I am ready or not.
What other champions would you like to face ideally?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I am tired of saying, ‘don’t talk to me about Santa Cruz, don’t talk to me about Frampton’ – I have already said I want to fight these guys. Ask them if they want to fight – anybody, any time, but I am tired of saying that. Ask them who they want too fight because they don’t want to fight me.
Considering you are jumping two weight classes how will you rate your power?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I feel stronger than ever and I am going to do it and do it right. Moving up has had no negative effect whatsoever on my speed or power.
What about the WBA and the 122 lb. title – do you have any comments on that?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: Not right now. At this time we are concentrating on this fight and we can worry about that when it’s over.
DINO DUVA: Just so everyone knows, we are actually still working with the WBA to reconsider their resolution and position on this. I am hopeful and confident they will do the right thing and allow Rigo to make his decision after the fight. It is not a closed subject yet.
Do you expect this fight to go the distance and do you worry that some of the subtle moves that you do will go unnoticed by the judges?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: It is going to be a massacre. People should anticipate a massacre. Absolutely – not at all, I am not worried at all. I will just go in there and do my job.
Is there added pressure to make this fight exciting?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: The one that has to worry is Lomachenko. I am fine and I will do what I need to do when I get in the ring. I don’t worry too much what people think. I have my power every time I step in the ring.
Do you think you will knock him out?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I don’t look for a knockout. It just happens. It’s unpredictable.
You beat Donaire, The Ring Fighter of the Year, and never really received the proper respect for that and here you are five years later. How do you feel about that?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I don’t spend too much time thinking about that. I do my job and I do it well. I leave all that other stuff to the people that handle that. I’ve gone through a lot of adversity in my life as it is. I just take care of what I need to do in the ring.
Do you feel motivated to beat a Top Rank fighter after leaving Top Rank?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: Even if it is the Son of God, I don’t care. I fight whoever I need to fight.
Are you worried about getting a fair shake from the judges?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: Absolutely not – forget about that – I don’t think about that. I just do what I think I need to do.
What is the key to this fight?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I’ve got to do my job and I have to win convincingly so they can’t rob me.
This is the second time they have tried to strip you. Does it make you look at belts differently?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I leave the sanctioning negotiations and all the tough negotiating to Dino. He’s the one that handles that. I don’t let that affect my fighting or my training for the fight. Give the belt to anyone. Dino will then find a way for me to get it back in the ring.
How long have you wanted to fight Lomachenko?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I wanted to fight him when he was at 126. And we tried and we tried and we tried and he wouldn’t step in the ring with me. Now he is at 130 and wants to step in the ring with me because he believes now he has the advantage over me.
Most pundits have you as an underdog in this fight. If you win would you regard it as your greatest victory?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: There are a lot of things that are more important to me in my professional career, however, this would be a big feat and let the world see who is the best pound-for-pound boxer.
What would the other greater things in career be?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: It is my way of thinking that there will be a lot of greater things that will come my way after this fight – yes a lot of things. This win will be a great thing for my career but I have had a lot of great victories in the past and this will be one more to add to my great victories, but there will be better tings to come once I get past him.
Do you think this fight will go 12 rounds?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: It could finish before or it could finish after.
So do you think you will stop him?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: Lomachenko and forty more like him.
Who are the other fighters that you think could be bigger wins than Lomachenko?
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: I will need two more fights in my career to retire. I will fight Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. I will go into heavyweight. I am willing to fight anyone in the world.
Lomachenko said the only reason you are taking this fight is because you are older now and want to get a big payday and retire.
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: That’s fine – let him think that way.
Does it make you mad?
ALEX BORNOTE (Rigondeaux Manager): I’ll answer that for him. Yes, of course it makes him mad. All he’s ever done, if anyone asks him who he wants to fight? He’ll fight anyone and he’ll fight everybody. The only reason he doesn’t fight more is because no one wants to fight him for whatever reason that may be. He wants to fight a lot more people before his career is over.
Lomachenko also feels that you both are the same size, except he may be a little taller.
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: Yes more or less we are almost right there.
MICHAEL YORMARK: Once again I would like to thank all of the media and ESPN and everybody on the call here today and especially Top Rank for giving us this opportunity. Obviously it’s an exciting fight it’s going to be a great night of boxing. We look forward to seeing everybody in New York City next Saturday night.
DINO DUVA: The only think I would like to say in closing, to all the media, thank you for joining us. When Rigo beats Lomachenko all I ask is that you give him the credit he deserves. He’s been knocked around a lot and a lot of it has been undeserving. When he beats Lomachenko, please, give him the credit he deserves, because he is one of the all time greats. When he performs on December 9, give him what he deserves. That’s all I ask.
GUILLERMO RIGONDEAUX: Thank you for putting this event together – all the promoters and ESPN and all of the fans, so stay tuned and wait to see what you’re going to see on December 9.
ALEX BORNOTE: This is the fight the fans want to see and he has to go up two weight classes to do it. It’s the only way the fight was going to happen and it’s great for boxing, and see you there next week.
EGIS KLIMAS (Lomachenko Manager): Yes we have been on the line for ten minutes listening to that bull shit.
BOB ARUM: I had to watch my blood pressure so I didn’t listen.
Bob, this is your 30th promotion at The Garden, dating back to Muhammad Ali vs. Oscar Bonavena (December 7, 1970), and it’s a big one…
BOB ARUM: This is a conference call with the greatest fighter since Muhammad Ali. A guy that I can’t wait to see in a historic fight that has never happened before – in each corner a fighter having two Gold Medals. This is an historic battle and it’s going to be one of many historic battles for Vasyl Lomachenko who I have said from the beginning he is the best fighter I have seen since the early Muhammad Ali.
VASYL LOMACHENKO: I would like to thank everyone who is participating in this call. This is the first time I am going to be talking in two months about the fight. Yesterday was my media workout day and I am very happy to talk to the media about this bout.
You said yesterday that if Rigondeaux wants to win he will have to come straight at me. Do you think Rigondeaux is going to do that?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: No, I don’t think he’s going to be doing that. He has never done that in his whole career. When he goes forward he falls down in the ring. I don’t think he’s going to be doing that.
Can you respond to Rigondeaux’s comment saying you wouldn’t fight him at featherweight?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: We all can’t believe in that nonsense. There is a video of one of the reporters asking him ‘would you like to fight Vasyl Lomachenko?’ when he was at 126. He said to the reporter “wait a second, what weight am I fighting?’ and the reporter said 122 and he said ‘well what kind of questions do we have? I am at 122.’ It is on video on YouTube – anybody can find it. It’s not the truth.
How do you feel about the two greatest amateurs in the history of the sport fighting against each other?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, I agree that it is a historical bout, it is an interesting bout and most importantly it is an interesting bout for me. A lot of time was spent to make this bout. For awhile it was never happening and finally it happened. It is very, very interesting and all of the boxing fans wanted to see the bout and finally we can deliver it.
Rigondeaux is known for his defense – how do you break through it?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes of course I have a plan in my head, a picture of what I am going to do but I don’t think it would be too smart to talk about it right now. I think it is better one time to see than 100 times to say.
Are you worried that Rigondeaux may go in there and stink it out?
BOB ARUM: Let me give you my expert opinion because I’ve been around the sport for a lot of years. What you are looking at here are two different schools of boxing. The Cuban and the Eastern European. The Eastern European, let me start with Vasyl Lomachenko – he is very technically proficient and very good and when he is fighting he is very defensive minded, looks for an opening, but always with the goal in mind, not only to win a points victory but also to hurt, or knockout or make his opponent quit. Watch every one of his fights – it’s always designed, very crowd pleasing because it gives the crowd – the crowd gets into it – because he is looking to destroy his opponent. That’s pretty much the Eastern European style. The Cuban style is different, they pile up points then they stink you out till the end of the fight because all they care about is winning the fight on points. So in this fight, Vasyl will not allow Rigondeaux to pile up points, so Rigondeaux, to win the fight, will have to be more aggressive than he wants to be. When you watch Rigondeaux fight you will see a fantastic fighter who is aggressive, piles up points and then stinks you out by just coasting to victory. That’s the Cuban style – just win, brother. Win by the points — a different style form the Easter European. I think this is going to be a very, very good fight, a very interesting fight because Rigondeaux is not going to be able to gut out a big lead on points on Vasyl, therefore he will have to fight the entire fight as long as it goes to win a victory.
BOB ARUM: Rigondeaux is a very, very good fighter. He is one of the best fighters that I have seen. He is a terrific fighter. You can’t let him pile up points because then he will coast and stink you out. Vasyl is no only a great fighter – he is the best fighter since the young Muhammad Ali. He will not seed the ground early, therefore Rigondeaux will have to fight the entire fight in order to win and therefore I see a very, very exciting fight and you are going to see the best of these guys.
When Bob Arum calls you the best fighter since the young Muhammad Ali does that put added pressure on you?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: I am hearing from Mr. Arum saying these things about me for almost two years. It doesn’t put pressure on my any more – it used to but no more.
How long did you know this fight would be next and how did that factor into your Twitter war?
EGIS KLIMAS: We were fooling around with Twitter – the people that run Rigondeaux’s twitter, they were very aggressive abut the fight. To tell you the truth, I never believed the fight was going to happen until I got the phone call from Bob telling me “the deal is done, I have a signed contract, so let’s get ready for the fight.” That was the only time I knew the fight was going to happen.
Orlando Salido is also fighting December 9. Should you both be successful, do you think a revenge fight with him would be next?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: Yes, sure but I don’t think he’s going to fight me because he already found, to him, a good excuse. He’s been saying, “I don’t need this bout. Lomachenko needs this bout. So because Lomachenko needs this bout you need to pay me good money.” That is just his excuse and Salido is nobody now.
Do you have any plans to fight above 130 pounds?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: I already said that I am ready to fight at 130 or 135, but that is not my job. Whoever is going to be put in front of me I will fight. It is not my job to organize the bouts. It is not my job to choose opponents. My promoters organize the bouts and whoever they put in front of me I am ready to fight at 130 or 135. I never passed on any of the bouts and I never passed on any of the opponents.
You recently said, “I am going to squash him.“ Will you be satisfied with anything other than a knockout?
VASYL LOMACHENKO: I said I am going to walk through him like a tank. They are two different things. I am going to walk through him like a tank and knock him out. They are two different impressions. I am like every single fighter – going into the ring I have in my mind ‘finish the bout before all the rounds are over and to get the victory before that. There is a good possibility that the fight will end before the twelfth round. I am not promising to knock him out but I am promising to squash him.
BOB ARUM: I just can’t wait for December 9th. We had a fastest sellout in the history of Madison Square Garden. Everybody who is anybody is going to be at the fight. We expect a tremendous rating on ESPN. This will be Loma’s second fight on ESPN. He is one of the tent poles in the ESPN-Top Rank boxing program. As far as this fight, it should be a tremendously interesting fight. Whether he’ll go up to 135 after this fight we’ll see. I know we have a tremendous offer for Loma to fight in Australia against Paul Fleming who will be fighting on December 13 and of course ultimately some time next year you’ll see Loma fighting for the lightweight championship of the world.
VASYL LOMACHENKO: Thank you very much for your attention and we’ll see you in New York!
MICHAEL “Mick” CONLAN, SHAKUR STEVENSON, and MIKAELA MAYER will complete their first season as professionals on the undercard of the historic collision between world champions VASILY “Hi-Tech” LOMACHENKO.and.GUILLERMO “El Chacal” RIGONDEAUX, Saturday, December 9, at The Theater at Madison Square Garden. Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) a native of Ukraine, will defend his World Boxing Organization (WBO) junior lightweight world title against the reigning World Boxing Association (WBA) super bantamweight world champion Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs), of Cuba, marking the first time that two-time Olympic gold medalists have fought each other professionally at the highest level. The four-bout telecast, headlined by Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux, will be televised live and exclusively at 9:00 p.m. ET / 6:00 p.m. PT on ESPN and ESPN Deportes and stream live on the ESPN App.
The televised undercard will feature two-time Irish Olympian Conlan (4-0, 4 KOs), from Belfast, a former World Amateur Champion and Olympic bronze medalist, returning to The Garden for the first time since his show-stopping pro debut, which took place on St. Patrick’s Day in front of a sellout crowd. He will be taking on LUIS FERNANDO “El Titi” MOLINA (4-3-1, 1 KO), from Pablo Podestȧ, Buenos Aires, Argentina, in a six-round featherweight bout. Undefeated Top-10 contender CHRISTOPHER “Pitufo” DIAZ (21-0, 13 KOs), from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico, who won all his fights in 2017 by way of knockout, will battle CASEY “The Wizard” RAMOS (24-1, 6 KOs), from Austin, TX., in a 10-round bout for the vacant NABO junior lightweight title. The telecast will open with Newark’s 2016 U.S. Olympic silver medalist Stevenson (3-0, 1 KO), who spent most of his training camp sparing with Lomachenko, facing OSCAR “El Coyote” MENDOZA (4-2, 2 KOs), of Santa Maria, Calif. Mendoza has won all of his fights this year, with the last two coming by way of knockout. Their featherweight bout is scheduled for six-rounds. Stevenson made his Garden debut on May 20, where he stopped Carlos Suarez in the first round..
Streaming live on the ESPN App, beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET / 4:30 p.m. PT, (along with the televised card) will be: Mayer (2-0, 2 KOs), from Los Angeles, a three-time national champion who came within one victory of the medal round at the 2016 summer games in Rio de Janeiro, in four-round lightweight bout against former IWBF bantamweight world champion NYDIA “Dha Phenomenal” FELICIANO (9-8-3), from the Bronx, New York; two-time world heavyweight title challenger BRYANT “By-By” JENNINGS (20-2, 11 KOs), of North Philadelphia, PA., in an eight-round heavyweight bout, against DON “Mr. JBT” HAYNESWORTH (13-1-1, 11 KOs), of Greensboro, N.C.; and JOSE “Chocolatito” GONZALEZ (8-0-1, 2 KOs), from New York, in an eight-round featherweight bout against ADAN GONZALES (3-1-1, 2 KOs), of Denver, CO.
“New York is a market made for Mick, Shakur and Mikaela,” said Todd duBoef, president of Top Rank.. “Mick has proven that with his Irish base, Shakur’s Newark fan nucleus has spread beyond state and regional borders, and Mikaela’s general appeal is limitless. We have curated incredible supporting bouts to this historic night. Every fight is relevant and meaningful. They are all stepping up and on their way to eventually headlining major events at The Garden and other major venues.”
“I’m really excited to go back to The Garden. It’s my first time back since my pro debut and I’m looking forward to putting on another great show for all the fans that are coming too see me, it feels already like it’s my second home,” said Conlan. “December 9th is a huge night for boxing and I’m honoured to be a part of it! Make sure you tune in. This is show is not to be missed!”
“I’m feeling great and ready to perform again at Madison Square Garden. My fight there in May was one of my best so I’m excited to return and outdo my last performance on one of the biggest boxing cards of the year, Lomachenko-Rigondeuax,” said Stevenson. “I’m looking to really make a name for myself and put on an amazing performance for everyone at The Theater and all the viewers tuning in on ESPN. Getting the chance to spar with Vasyl Lomachenko, in this camp, prepared me well for this fight and showed me where I am skill-wise, mentally and overall as a boxer. I am ready for anything and I was blessed to have the chance to go out to California and spar with Lomachenko.”
“On December 9, you will see a more disciplined ‘Pitufo’ — one that fights intelligently, with more quickness, but above all else, one that fights with a lot of hunger inside the ring. I have been eating gym for a couple of months and I also ate gym during Thanksgiving. On December 9, I will eat Casey Ramos,” said Diaz. “I have a great opportunity in front of me. This will be the fight and the performance that will launch me to the next level. If Lomachenko and Rigondeaux don’t give the fans the kind of fight they want, ‘Pitufo’ Diaz will steal the show.”
“I’m beyond excited to fight in New York City, not only because I’ll be fighting at the historic Garden but because of the energy I know New York boxing fans are going to bring to the venue. They’re some of the most passionate fans in the United States and I want to give them a great show,” said Mayer. “I’m grateful to be with a promoter who sees what female boxers can bring to the table and I thank them for giving me such a stage to perform on. This is where the best of us women belong and I’m ready to show New York my skills.”
“I think of Madison Square Garden as the Mecca of Boxing. Lots of history and big names have fought there. I am looking forward to coming from Texas
and fighting there,” said Ramos. “Fighting for the WBO’s NABO title positions me to fight for a world title. That is what I will be seeking after beating Christopher Diaz. Fighting on ESPN makes it even more special where a fighter like me can
gain expansive fan base exposure. As far as Diaz in front of me I don’t think he’s fought the caliber of fighters I have — meaning he has less experience than me. So those advantages will be shown in the ring on December 9 — my experience and ability — in a win over Diaz.”
“There is a reason why this sport is called the Sweet Science. People may think it is easy to go into the ring on fight night but it is not. I’ve been working at our gym in Philadelphia getting into the right comfort zone while in the ring fighting. That means being at ease when you go to work and attack your opponent in special unique ways to make him unsettled and uncomfortable. There is a lot of thought process going on when you are inside the ropes. This is my fourth time at Madison Square Garden. Looking forward to it,” said Jennings.
Promoted by Top Rank®, in association with Roc Nation Sports and Madison Square Garden, tickets to the Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux world championship event sold out two months in advance! It is Lomachenko’s second advance sellout in his past three fights. His April 8 title defense against former world champion Jason Sosa sold out the MGM National Harbor one month in prior to the event.
Top Rank on ESPN debuted July 1 when Manny Pacquiao met Jeff Horn down under in Brisbane, Australia, resulting in the most-watched boxing telecast on cable television since 2006. Each of the four Top Rank on ESPN telecasts (7/1, 8/5, 8/19 and 9/22) have been world championship fights, and they have delivered top tier ratings, scored big with Hispanic fans and led to significant Out-of-Home viewing. Two more Top Rank on ESPN fights are on the horizon for 2017—November 11 and December 9. Both are widely regarded as the best fight cards remaining on the 2017 boxing calendar.
Fans Are Watching Top Rank on ESPN in Record Numbers
· Top Rank on ESPN telecasts have averaged 1.6 million viewers across ESPN and ESPN Deportes, including 1.9 million viewers during the main event fight windows
· Top Rank on ESPN telecasts have been the three most-watched boxing telecasts on cable in 2017
· Top Rank’s debut fight on ESPN–Pacquiao vs. Horn–was the most-watched boxing fight on cable since 2006 (2.8 million viewers) and the highest-rated fight on ESPN since 1995
· The five most-streamed boxing telecasts on ESPN networks ever were all Top Rank telecasts
· From July through September, daily unique visitors to ESPN’s boxing digital content is up 484% compared to the same period in 2016
Top Rank on ESPN is Also a Favorite with Hispanic and Multicultural Fans:
· All four fights (7/1, 8/5, 8/19, 9/22) were the top Hispanic telecast of the day on ESPN and three of the four were the highest-rated telecast for the network overall on that day
· To date, 59% of the Top Rank on ESPN audience on ESPN and ESPN2 has been multicultural (1.6 times more than the ESPN average)
· Additionally, 19% of the ESPN and ESPN2 audience has been Hispanic (2.5 times greater than the ESPN average)
· In the average minute, about 400,000 Hispanic viewers are tuning in to Top Rank on ESPN across ESPN and ESPN Deportes. ESPN has averaged 300,000 Hispanic viewers
Top Rank on ESPN is Lifting Out-of-Home (OOH) Viewing:
· OOH viewership has provided a significant +15% lift to the Top Rank on ESPN audience.
· By comparison, ESPN has averaged a total day OOH lift of +9%
· Top Rank’s OOH lifts are especially strong for P18-34 (+21% lift) and Hispanics (+18% lift)
2017’s Remaining Top Rank on ESPN Fights are the Best of the Remaining Calendar Year
Veteran’s Day, November 11, at 10:30 p.m. ET Live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and the ESPN App
The November 11 Top Rank on ESPN opening fight features two-time Russian Olympian Artur Beterbiev (11-0, 11 KOs) against Germany’s Enrico Koelling (23-1, 6 KOs) competing for the vacant IBF Light Heavyweight World title. This title became available with Andre Ward’s recent retirement.
In the co-feature, Jose Ramirez (20-0,15 KOs), a big ticket-seller from nearby Avenal, will take on Mike Reed (23-0, 12 KO) of Maryland in a battle of unbeaten junior welterweights. The card will benefit the California Latino Water Coalition, an organization that Ramirez has supported for years to raise awareness of the importance of bringing water to his community.
The fights will take place at Save Mart Center at Fresno State, CA.
December 9, 9 p.m. ET Live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and the ESPN App
A day of crowing champions (the MLS Cup and the 83rd Annual Heisman Memorial Trophy Dinner Gala) is complete with Top Rank on ESPN from New York City’s The Theater at Madison Square Garden for a night featuring both an industry-stopping world title main event and some of the best up-and-coming fighters in the world. The event has already sold all of the 5500 seats.
The main event features Vasily Lomachenko (9-1, 7 KOs) against Guillermo Rigondeaux (17-0, 11 KOs), the first time two Olympic gold medalists have fought each other professionally at the highest level. Lomachenko will defend his WBO junior lightweight world title against the reigning (WBA) super bantamweight champion Rigondeaux. Lomachenko and Rigondeaux are ranked second and fifth, respectively, in the latest Boxing Writers Association of America pound-for-pound rankings.
In the lead-up fights to the main event, Top Rank will feature two of their most prominent up-and-coming fighters in separate bouts. Michael Conlan (4-0, 4 KOs) of Ireland and 2016 Olympic Silver Medalist Shakur Stevenson (3-0, 1 KO) of New Jersey. Their competitors will be announced in the near future.
The co-main event will feature a 10-round battle between rising contenders Christopher Diaz and Casey Ramos battling for the vacant NABO junior lightweight title. Diaz (21-0, 13 KOs), from Barraquitas, Puerto Rico, will be risking his undefeated record and Top-Five world-rating in the biggest test of his professional career. Ramos (24-1 (6 KOs), from Austin, TX., returns to the ring fresh from his best performance to date, a unanimous decision victory over former world title challenger Miguel Beltran, Jr. on April 28.
The battle between two-time Olympic gold medallists Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux on December 9th at Madison Square Garden will be shown exclusively live on BoxNation.
‘The Channel of Champions’ will air the dream matchup featuring two men regarded as boxing’s greatest ever amateurs as part of the channel’s exclusive output deal with promoters Top Rank.
In the paid ranks both fighters have burst onto the scene to dominate their respective divisions and have ambitions of climbing up the pound-for-pound rankings.
36-year-old Rigondeaux is the current WBA super-bantamweight world champion and will be moving up two-weight divisions to challenge for Lomachenko’s WBO super-featherweight world title.
However, there will be more than just a title on the line as both are among boxing’s most skilled fighters, with Rigondeaux having persistently campaigned to get the fight, with the Ukrainian finally obliging as they look to give fans an early Christmas cracker.
Undefeated Rigondeaux has 17 wins on his record and is known for his slickness, defence and accurate counter-punching.
He has found it difficult to land big fights in the past but when he does has a history of causing an upset as he did when he overcame the then golden boy Nonito Donaire via a unanimous points win in 2013.
29-year-old Lomachenko though is a different threat all together, with many in the sport tipping him to dominate for years to come.
He has looked sensational since turning professional in 2013 when he defeated Jose Ramirez by knockout in the 4th round.
Lomachenko then went onto challenge seasoned professional Orlando Salido for the WBO featherweight world title in only his second fight, losing a close split decision.
He has bounced back in spectacular fashion since that and has gone onto become a two-weight world champion already, with his most recent win coming against big-punching Miguel Marriaga who didn’t answer the bell for round 8.
All attention now turns to New York City on December 9th with BoxNation being the only place for UK and Irish fans to watch how this intriguing battle plays out.
Jim McMunn, BoxNation Managing Director, said: “This is certainly one of the most interesting matchups of 2017. Both Vasyl Lomachenko and Guillermo Rigondeaux have outstanding amateurs backgrounds and now as professionals are amongst the very elite. How this fight will unfold is anyone’s guess. The skill set these two possess is unrivalled and solid arguments can be made for either man taking the win. BoxNation has enjoyed another fantastic year in 2017 and what a way to end it with these two supreme talents going at it on December 9th exclusively live on ‘The Channel of Champions’.”
Also as part of BoxNation’s Top Rank output deal the channel will show two undefeated rising stars in action when hard-hitting Jessie Magdaleno defends his WBO super-bantamweight world title against Cesar Juarez live on 11th November, with Russian knockout artist Artur Beterbiev taking on Enrico Koelling for the vacant IBF light-heavyweight title.
BoxNation is available on Sky/Freeview/Virgin/TalkTalk/EE/Apple TV/ online at watch.boxnation.com and via apps (iOS, Android, Amazon) for just £12 a month. Buy now at boxnation.com.