News: The Contender On Versus; Winky Wright returns; Lacy/Taylor on HBO

VERSUS, the network that celebrates real competition, today announced a deal to bring the fourth season of THE CONTENDER to the network and that they have signed television icon Tony Danza to host. THE CONTENDER, which includes 11 one-hour episodes and a two-hour season finale, will debut on VERSUS December 3 at 10 p.m. ET. THE CONTENDER is produced by Mark Burnett Productions and DreamWorks Television and the series will be produced in Singapore in cooperation with Mark Burnett Productions Asia who is providing production and logistical support..

“We are thrilled to announce our alliance with Mark Burnett, DreamWorks Television and THE CONTENDER brand. As VERSUS continues to build upon its ratings momentum, The Contender is a perfect complement to our ever-growing portfolio of programming in the genre such as WEC, TapouT and Fight Night,” said Marc Fein, Executive Vice President of Programming, Production and Business Operations for VERSUS. “When you have the opportunity to bring a top brand with an established following to the network, and the ability to work with someone with a proven track record such as Mark Burnett and DreamWorks, you jump at it.”

The fourth season of THE CONTENDER features 16 Cruiserweights from around the world who will face each other in a 12-episode competition. With former boxer and television star Tony Danza serving as host and mentor and veteran Tommy Brooks & John Bray serving as trainers, these fighters will go through the most intense training of their lives and battle in the most challenging fights of their careers. In the end, the two left standing will get into the ring to fight for the coveted title of Contender Champion. The 16 fighter’s biographies and two trainers biographies are attached with this release.

“The gang at DreamWorks and I are really excited to be partnering with VERSUS on the fourth season of THE CONTENDER,” said Mark Burnett. “If the work they've done with the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs and Tour de France is any indication, we are confident that THE CONTENDER will be a successful franchise for the channel."

The series is executive produced by Mark Burnett and Jeffrey Katzenberg. Jeff Wald, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Eric Van Wagenen and Page Feldman are co-executive producers.

"VERSUS has shown that they intend to be a factor in the boxing business and we are looking forward to a long and successful relationship,” said Jeff Wald. “Overall this is the best group of fighters we have had."

Tony Danza was discovered at a boxing gym in his native New York and was cast in the critically acclaimed “Taxi” which earned him a place in television history. He then went on to star in the long-running popular television series “Who’s The Boss?” cementing his status as a television icon. In addition, Tony hosted his own daytime series “The Tony Danza Show” as well as numerous other television series and specials.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be hosting THE CONTENDER this season,” said Tony Danza. “Not only is it one of the best shows on television but one of the wildest shows ever dreamed up. I feel right back at home in this great boxing environment and I am looking forward to seeing this great group of fighters contend for the title.”

THE CONTENDER fighters, represented by Tournament of Contenders, have gone on to fight Joe Calzaghe, Arturo Gatti, Miguel Cotto, and Oscar de La Hoya. In June 2008 Sergio Mora, THE CONTENDER season 1 champion went on to become the first Contender World Champion by winning the WBC title.

The Wright Stuff: Golden Boy to Promote Snoqualmie Casino's Inaugural Fight!

Winky Wright returns to ring on Thursday, December 4th

LOS ANGELES, November 14 -- Oscar de la Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions is proud to announce Winky Wright's return to the ring on Thursday, December 4, at the inaugural fight night at Snoqualmie Casino, Seattle's premier gaming, dining and entertainment destination. The fight will air live on VERSUS at 8 p.m. ET.

The inaugural boxing event at Snoqualmie Casino will feature future Hall of Famer and former Undisputed Junior Middleweight World Champion Winky Wright in his return to the ring to face Michi Munoz. This ten round super middleweight bout, part of an exciting night of world-class boxing presented by Golden Boy Promotions in association with Winky Promotions will air live on VERSUS. A televised co-feature and a hard-hitting under card will be announced at a later date.

Tickets go on sale Saturday November 15th and are priced starting at $50. They can be purchased online at or by phone at (206) 628-0888.

"Golden Boy Promotions is extremely excited to once again partner with VERSUS and bring world class boxing to the Pacific Northwest," said Golden Boy Promotions president Oscar de la Hoya. "An event featuring a fighter of the stature of Winky Wright that will be Snoqualmie Casino's first ever boxing event will make for an exciting and memorable night for boxing fans in the Seattle area."

"It's great to be back and I can't wait to hear the bell ring," said Wright, whose last bout was against fellow future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins on July 21, 2007. "I had a nice break, but I've been training hard and now I feel better than ever."

St. Petersburg, Florida's Winky Wright (51-4-1, 25 KOs) is an 18-year veteran of the sport and has fought and beaten the best in the world, including Shane Mosley (twice), Felix Trinidad, Ike Quartey and Bronco McKart. Wright is firmly established as one of the premier boxers in the sport today, but at 36, he still feels the best is yet to come. It's hard to argue with that assessment, especially considering that he has only lost once in 14 fights since 1999.

27-year-old Michi "El Matador" Munoz (21-2, 14 KOs) is a hard-nosed competitor who is well aware that a victory over Wright will propel him to bigger and better things in 2009. A native of Leon, Guanajuato, Mexico, Munoz plans on pushing the pace against Wright and shocking the boxing world on December 4.

For more information on Golden Boy Promotions, please visit For more information on VERSUS, please visit


Two former champs seek redemption when WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING: JERMAIN TAYLOR VS. JEFF LACY is seen live from Memorial Gym, Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, SATURDAY, NOV. 15 (10:15 p.m. ET/7:15 p.m. PT), exclusively on HBO. The WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING team will be ringside for the event, which will be presented in HDTV and in Spanish on HBO Latino.

Ex-Olympic teammates go toe-to-toe when former undisputed middleweight champ Jermain Taylor (27-2-1, 17 KOs), from Little Rock, takes on former super middleweight champ Jeff Lacy (24-1, 17 KOs), of St. Petersburg, in a scheduled 12-round super middleweight contest.

Leading off the telecast will be the exclusive replay of Calzaghe vs. Jones. On Nov. 8 at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Joe Calzaghe extended his perfect mark to 46-0 with an impressive 12-round decision over Roy Jones Jr in their light heavyweight showdown.

All WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING events are presented in HDTV. HBO viewers must have access to the HBO HDTV channel to watch HBO programming in high definition.

The executive producer of WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING is Rick Bernstein; producer, Jon Crystal; director, Marc Payton.

Article posted on 14.11.2008

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