The knowledgeable and popular veteran sports broadcaster will take over play-by-play duties alongside expert analyst Steve Farhood and host Brian Kenny beginning with a three-fight SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTREME telecast preceding the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® doubleheader tomorrow, Saturday, Jan. 25, at the D.C. Armory in Washington, D.C. (live at 7 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME followed by 9 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME).
SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTEME began in 2011 as a platform to showcase young, up-and-coming prospects in TV-worthy undercard bouts offering fight fans more content and value for their subscription. Custer and Farhood will generally call between two and four undercard fights prior to a SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast. Saturday’s matchups feature three undefeated prospects facing tough veteran fighters.
Custer bolsters what has become the freshest broadcast team in sports, a group that is as versatile and experienced as it is vibrant. The Emmy® Award-winning Kenny hosts both SHOWTIME BOXING on SHOWTIME EXTREME and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. He orchestrates the conversation of his colleagues with a straight forward approach and a broad perspective of the sports world.
Play-by-play announcer Mauro Ranallo joined SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING from the mixed martial arts arena, where he earned a reputation for delivering the high drama of combat sports with passion and intensity equal to the fierce competition in the ring.
The foremost boxing analyst in the sport today, Al Bernstein received boxing’s most prestigious honor in 2012 when he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall Of Fame. As knowledgeable and opinionated as he is fair and journalistic, Bernstein has chronicled the sport since 1980 and joined SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING as lead color commentator in 2003.
The brightest face in boxing broadcasting, expert analyst Paulie Malignaggi has made a seamless transition from the ring to ringside microphone on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING. Malignaggi speaks virtually the same way he boxes, with speed and precision. Concise, clear and quick-witted, the former world champ and current contender doesn’t pull any punches as he offers the relevant perspective of a fighter who has been on both ends of high-impact, dangerous fights.
Farhood, a renowned boxing historian just recently named to the New York State Boxing Hall of Fame, is one of the most trusted and respected veterans in the business for his conversational style and astute ability to recognize nuanced strategy and style. A former journalist and editor of THE RING Magazine, Farhood has never lost his wonder for the sport, a trait that makes him one of the easiest broadcasters for fans to relate to.
Emmy Award-winning sports reporter Jim Gray always knows what the viewers want to ask. What sets him apart from his peers is that he is not afraid to ask the toughest questions on live television. Reporting for SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING since 1994, Gray is known for his direct and tenacious interview technique, providing viewers a glimpse into the psyche of prizefighters before and after some of the biggest fights of their lives.
Custer, who won an Emmy while at SportsNet New York (SNY) for his work on the network’s documentary “Baseball in Africa: A Diamond in the Rough,” has been a mainstay on SNY since 2006. Experienced in the sweet science, Custer first called the action on SHOWTIME EXTREME on Oct. 26 for the undercard of the Hopkins vs. Murat event and has called fights for the “Broadway Boxing” series since 2009.
Custer hosts numerous shows at SNY, including The WheelHouse and Jets Post Game Live. Prior to joining SNY, Custer worked at CBS-11 in Dallas for eight years as a sports anchor. A fighter outside of the broadcast booth, Custer overcame a battle with prostate cancer in 2013 and was diagnosed cancer-free following a successful surgery last August.
“At SHOWTIME, we’re always striving to deliver the biggest and most significant events in the sport via the highest quality production in our telecasts,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager, SHOWTIME Sports. “One of the key elements of our strategy is to provide viewers with the brightest minds and the freshest voices in sports broadcasting. Brian’s passion, knowledge and experience in boxing make him the perfect fit for our telecast booth.”
The addition of Custer to the announce team is one of the integral production changes Espinoza has overseen since joining SHOWTIME in 2011. With consistently solid matchups, the addition of Kenny, Malignaggi and live undercard fights on SHOWTIME EXTREME, average viewership for SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING has increased more than 60 percent in the past two years.
In tomorrow’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING main event (live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), Lamont Peterson will defend his IBF Junior Welterweight World Championship against undefeated Canadian contender Dierry Jean. In the co-feature, super welterweight contender Jermell Charlo will face the dangerous, former world title challenger Gabriel Rosado in a 10-round bout at 154 pounds.
In action on SHOWTIME EXTREME (live on SHO EXTREME at 7 p.m. ET/PT, delayed on the West Coast), three-time U.S. Olympian and undefeated bantamweight prospect Rau’Shee Warren will face the more experienced German Meraz in an eight-round bout; hard-hitting lightweight prospect Robert Easter, Jr., will take on veteran Daniel Attah in another eight-rounder; and undefeated middleweight Dominic Wade will square off with Dashon Johnson in a six-round fight.