ESPN and ESPN Deportes will televise two World Heavyweight Championship fights within two weeks, Wladimir Klitschko (61-3, 52 KOs) vs. Alex Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KOs) on Saturday, April 26 from the König-Pilsener-Arena in Oberhausen, Germany, and, as previously announced, Bermane Stiverne (23-1-1, 20 KOs) vs. Chris Arreola (36-3, 31 KOs) on Saturday, May 10 from the USC Galen Center in Los Angeles, both live and exclusive in the U.S.
The 12-round fight between WBA, IBF, and WBO World Heavyweight Champion Klitschko and challenger Leapai will air at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates (Fight Night). Two weeks later, the WBC World Heavyweight Championship fight for the vacant title and rematch between top-rated Stiverne and Arreola will air at 8 p.m. on ESPN and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates. That fight will be presented by Corona Extra. Both fights will also be available on computers, smartphones, tablets, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Xbox and Roku via WatchESPN.
“We are thrilled to have ESPN televise this great one-two combination of World Heavyweight title fights,” ESPN senior director of programming & acquisitions Brian Kweder said. “The winners of these two fights will be on a collision course for the potential unification of the Heavyweight title. With fighters like Deontay Wilder, Mike Pérez, Bryant Jennings and Tyson Fury all waiting in the wings, the Heavyweight division is poised for a major comeback.”
Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will call Klitschko vs. Leapai for ESPN, while Delvin Rodríguez and Pablo Viruega will call the action for ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates. Two weeks later, Tessitore and Atlas will call the Stiverne vs. Arreola bout, while studio host Todd Grisham (@GrishamESPN) will present boxing news and highlights on site. Viruega and David Faitelson will call Stiverne vs. Arreola for Noche de Combates, while Leopoldo González and Claudia Trejos will anchor the on-site studio. Bilingual reporter Bernardo Osuna (@osunaespn) will present live interviews and reports for both networks.
About the Fights:
Klitschko, of the Ukraine, who will be making his 16th title defense and fighting in his 25th World Heavyweight Championship bout, scored a unanimous decision over Alexander Povetkin in his last fight. Klitschko has held a Heavyweight title longer than anyone in boxing history (IBF, 2006-present) other than Joe Louis (nearly 12 years). He has made the third-most title defenses in Heavyweight history, trailing only Louis (25) and Larry Holmes (20). His challenger, Leapai, a native of Samoa living in Australia, is coming off a November unanimous decision upset win over Denis Boytsov.
Stiverne and Arreola were chosen to fill the vacant WBC title after Wladimir Klitschko’s older brother Vitali vacated the title to pursue his political career in the Ukraine. Stiverne and Arreola will not only battle for the vacant WBC World Heavyweight title, but also to become the first boxers of Haitian or Mexican descent to hold a Heavyweight title. Read more on Stiverne vs. Arreola.
About ESPN Boxing:
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, 1998, and 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.