After a career in the pro wrestling and boxing business, Todd Grisham will be closer to the action tonight than ever before when he calls his first boxing match alongside ESPN Friday Night Fights analyst Teddy Atlas in Jacksonville, Fla. (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2, WatchESPN). Grisham is filling in for Joe Tessitore who is off this week.
“Todd has established good chemistry with Teddy from the studio, so it made sense to provide him the opportunity to sit next to Teddy and call the fights,” Senior Coordinating Producer Matt Sandulli said. “Also, Todd’s experience includes calling WWE action, which is probably one of broadcasting’s most challenging jobs, so we think boxing will be a little easier compared to that bedlam, and I say that with the utmost respect for the WWE production.”
Before joining ESPN, Grisham served as a WWE backstage interviewer, play-by-play commentator and occasional ring announcer. He debuted as Friday Night Fights studio host in January and also hosts SportsCenter and ESPN.com’s MMA Live, but Grisham also has plenty of experience calling live combat sports.
“I called professional wrestling for eight years, but I’m not quite sure how I’m going to do when guys are punching each other in the face for real,” Grisham said. “In preparation, I spoke to the fighters yesterday, watched video of their fights, and our research department does a great job compiling information that I’ve been combing. I feel like I’m studying for an exam, but instead of one person grading it, a million people will be watching around the world.”
“I have been trying to get Todd within jabbing range all year,” Atlas said. “Seriously, I can hardly contain my joy that he will be leaving the studio for one night to join me ringside.”
“Teddy is such a unique boxing phenomenon,” Grisham said. “Not only does he know boxing history, he is a big part of boxing history.”