ESPN2 will televise live the 12-round IBF World Middleweight Championship fight between titleholder Sam “King” Soliman (44-11, 18 KOs) and former Middleweight titlist Jermain “Bad Intentions” Taylor (32-4-1, 20 KOs) in an ESPN Boxing Special presented by Corona Extra on Wednesday, Oct. 8, at 9 p.m. ET. The winner of the championship bout will face the winner oftonight’s Hassan N’Dam vs. Curtis Stevens IBF Middleweight eliminator fight in an ESPN Boxing Special at 9 p.m. on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+ and WatchESPN.
“With the excitement over the rise of Gennady Golovkin, the anticipation over Miguel Cotto’s next move, and Peter Quillin’s power play in vacating the WBO belt, the Middleweight division is white hot right now from an interest- level standpoint,” said Brian Kweder, ESPN senior director, programming and acquisitions. “Equally as interesting has been the return of Jermain Taylor to the division so we are excited to provide fans with two consecutiveESPN Boxing Specials to finish painting the Middleweight picture.”
The October 8, show, from the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino in Biloxi, Miss., will also be televised live on ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates presentado por Corona Extra. Both shows will be also available via WatchESPN. The card promoted by Warriors Boxing.
Todd Grisham and analyst Teddy Atlas will be ringside describing the action for ESPN2, whilePablo Viruega and analyst Delvin Rodríguez will call the fights for ESPN Deportes. Claudia Trejos and Leopoldo González will anchor the ESPN Deportes studio. Bi-lingual reporter Bernardo Osuna will present live reports and interviews for both ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes.
Australia’s Soliman won the IBF Middleweight title in his last fight by defeating then-titleholder Felix Sturm. Soliman, a former kickboxing world champion, was also a participant in the 2007 season of The Contender reality television show.
“Jermain Taylor — he’s been there, done that. He’s been a world champion himself,” Soliman said. “I’m excited about the fact that I’m fighting a guy who has won all the belts – I’m keen on doing that! He’s done what I’m looking forward to doing myself. It’s a rich scalp for me.”
Taylor of Arkansas — a former undisputed WBC, WBA, WBO, IBF and The RingMiddleweight world champion — is coming off a seventh-round TKO win over J.C. Candelo. Taylor has fought top-level opposition throughout his career including, Arthur Abraham, Carl Froch, Kelly Pavlik, Cory Spinks, and Bernard Hopkins.
“Things have come full circle for me — I have another shot to become a world champion, and I’m not going to let this opportunity pass by without being victorious,” Taylor said. “I’ve made a bunch of mistakes in boxing, losing to fighters I shouldn’t have lost to because of a lack of training, but I’m ready to clear all that up. With hard work and dedication, I’ll be 110 percent ready. I think Sam Soliman is a great fighter. He’s had a great career and he comes to fight, but I have to go in there and beat the hell out of him.”
The 10-round co-feature will pit Super Middleweights “The Matrix” Andre Dirrell (22-1, 15 KOs) from Flint, Mich., fighting out of Boca Raton, Fla., against New York’s Nick “The Machine Gun” Brinson (16-2-2, 6 KOs). Dirrell, a former Super Middleweight world title challenger, scored a fifth-round TKO win over Vladine Biosse in his last fight, while Brinson is looking to rebound from a 10-round unanimous decision loss to Dominic Wade.
ESPN is home to ESPN Friday Night Fights and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates (Spanish version), a weekly boxing series which runs between January and August and showcases some of the best bouts in the boxing industry.Friday Night Fights began on October 2, 1998and Noche de Combates (formerly Viernes de Combates) began on January 10, 2004. ESPN began televising boxing on April 10, 1980 when weekly boxing returned to television for the first time since 1964, with the debut of Top Rank Boxing on ESPN.