Meet tomorrow’s boxing stars with Friday Night Fights’ and Noche de Combates’ Boxcino 2014

Boxcino 2014 Lightweight Bracket
The Boxcino 2014 Lightweight Bracket will be featured on tonight’s shows.

On tonight’s edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights and ESPN Deportes’ Noche de Combates (9 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN), Boxcino 2014 gets underway.

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Boxcino 2014

ESPN senior coordinating producer Matt Sandulli on ESPN’s production of the tournament: “We will be doing on site interviews, producing mini-feature profiles around each fighter and ESPN2 studio host Todd Grisham will host from site on a recurring basis. The entire show content will be dedicated to the tournament with the exception of major breaking boxing news and there will be additional production support on-site to help with the production of the show.”

Tonight’s show from the Edgewater Casino in Laughlin, Nev., will feature the quarterfinals of the Lightweight portion of the tournament with the Middleweight quarterfinals getting underway from Harrah’s Horseshoe Casino in Hammond, Ind., next Friday, Feb. 28 (9 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN Deportes+, WatchESPN). View Tournament details and TV schedule as well as tournament brackets here.[/box]

The boxing tournament, presented by Banner Promotions, will be a single-elimination, two-weight class competition that will feature eight fighters in both the Lightweight and Middleweight divisions and will take place throughout the Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates season. ESPN televised the first Boxcino tournament back in 1997, which was won by future four-time world champion Acelino “Popo” Freitas.

Front Row caught up with ESPN senior director of programming and acquisitions Brian Kweder, who oversees content strategy and acquisition for ESPN’s soccer, boxing and bowling properties, to discuss Boxcino 2014.

ESPN's Brian Kweder (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)
ESPN’s Brian Kweder (Joe Faraoni / ESPN Images)

What about Boxcino 2014 makes it attractive from a television programming standpoint?
One of the reasons fans tune into Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates is to follow the progression of fighters as they work towards becoming the next pay-per-view star. The Boxcino tournament is a fun way to determine who that next big star will be.

What makes televising and scheduling a boxing tournament different from televising and scheduling a typical Friday Night Fights/Noche de Combates card?
The shows are typically treated as stand-alone events with a main event and a co-feature. Boxcino features 16 different boxers competing across five different shows from four different venues over the course of three months. Promoter Artie Pelullo (Banner Promotions CEO) has done a tremendous job at tying it all together into a nice, neat package for our fans.

Beyond the tournament, how do you see Friday Night Fights and Noche de Combates benefitting from showcasing this tournament and these fighters?
The hope is to draw the interest of fans who might not typically watch Friday Night Fights allowing those fans to get a taste of the quality entertainment our show delivers week in and week out.

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