Friday Night Fights
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|ESPN Friday Night Fights|
|Presented by||Bernard Hopkins|
|Narrated by||Joe Tessitore, Teddy Atlas|
|Country of origin||United States|
|Original language(s)||English (occasional interpreters)|
|Picture format||HDTV 720p|
|Audio format||Surround sound|
|Original release||June 7, 1998– May 22, 2015|
ESPN Friday Night Fights (last known as Friday Night Fights presented by Just for Men Haircolor for sponsorship reasons) was a series of boxing events broadcast by ESPN2. First premiering in 1998, the program traditionally featured bouts involving up-and-coming and semi-professional boxers, along with studio segments covering headlines and developments across the sport. As implied by its title, the program was primarily broadcast on Friday nights, semi-regularly.
Ringside commentary was provided by Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas; previous seasons featured boxing analyst Max Kellerman alongside Brian Kenny and sportscaster Bob Papa in Tessitore's role ringside with Atlas. The program spawned spinoffs, Tuesday Night Fights and Wednesday Night Fights. A Spanish-language version, Noche de Combates, aired on ESPN Deportes and ESPN Latin America.
On March 19, 2015, ESPN announced that Friday Night Fights would air for the final time on May 22, 2015, covering the finals of the 2015 Boxcino tournament. The network announced that it had reached a multi-year deal with Al Haymon's Premier Boxing Champions to broadcast 11 events per-year on the main ESPN network, primarily on Saturday nights, and an afternoon event on ABC. Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will carry over to serve as hosts. ESPN is one of several major broadcasters that airs fights through the promotion, which also includes NBC, CBS, their respective cable sports networks, as well as Spike.
The usual set-up of the night is three matches. The first being eight rounds, the second being four, and the main event being either ten or twelve rounds. This is not always the case, though, as some broadcasts feature another four-round or six-round match.
Between fights the show goes back to ESPN studios to talk about recent boxing news and/or have an interview with someone in the boxing world. Notable interviews include Bernard Hopkins, Antonio Tarver, Winky Wright and Sugar Ray Leonard, among others. The people being interviewed may or may not be in the studio with Brian. Special guests can also appear ringside. They usually only stay as guest commentators for one or two rounds and might possibly stay for a quick interview between matches. Guest commentators include "Baby" Joe Mesi and Bernard Hopkins.
Title matches are not uncommon on Friday Night Fights, either. Usually this will only happen for minor belts, or if a belt (regardless of prestige) has been vacated and needs a champion.
Notable boxers who have fought on Friday Night Fights
- Emanuel Augustus (July 8, 2005)
- Andre Berto
- Jesse Brinkley
- O'Neil Bell
- Cornelius K9 Bundrage
- James Butler (November 23, 2001)
- Derek Bryant
- Nate Campbell
- Aaron Davis
- Julio Díaz
- John Duddy
- Antwun Echols (February 29, 2008)
- Arturo Gatti
- Julio César González
- Yuriorkis Gamboa
- Allan Green
- Vivian Harris
- Yuri Foreman
- Audley Harrison
- Stevie Johnston
- Zab Judah (July 9, 1999)
- James Kirkland
- Julian Letterlough
- Yusaf Mack (2/6/2009 vs. Chris Henry, and May 2, 2010 vs. Glen Johnson)
- Antonio Margarito
- Oleg Maskaev
- José Luis Castillo
- Peter Manfredo Jr.
- Edison Miranda
- Sergio Mora
- Kassim Ouma
- Bobby Pacquiao
- Sam Peter (April 28, 2006)
- Hasim Rahman
- Cletus Seldin (February 28, 2015)
- Omar Sheika
- Cory Spinks
- John Thompson, fought on series finale
- Arash Usmanee (January 4, 2013)
- Micky Ward (July 16, 1999)
- Erislandy Lara
- Guillermo Rigondeaux
- Jean Pascal
- Brian Vera
- Bonecrusher (2006)
Boxers who have fought on Tuesday Night Fights:
Boxers who have fought on Wednesday Night Fights:
- Allan Green (April 26, 2006)
- Yusaf Mack (6/4/2008 vs. Daniel Judah)
- Jameel McCline (April 26, 2006)
- Sharmba Mitchell (May 3, 2006)
- Joey Spina (May 10, 2006)
When Friday Night Fights debuted on ESPN2 in 1998, it was originally titled, ESPN2 Friday Night Fights. Since the sports net's February 2007 rebranding, the program was retitled, ESPN Friday Night Fights.
Friday Night Fights celebrated its tenth-anniversary season throughout 2008.
- USA Tuesday Night Fights (a television boxing show that aired on the USA Network from 1982–1998)
- Premier Boxing Champions
- "ESPN Joins Premier Boxing Champions' Corner, Knocking Out 'Friday Night Fights'". Deadline.com. Retrieved 19 March 2015.
- "Friday Night's Alright (For Fighting): Goodbye FNF". The Queensbury Rules. Retrieved 23 May 2015.