Top Rank on ESPN to Feature Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Jose Pedraza WBA/WBO lightweight unification bout
Live and Exclusively on ESPN, ESPN Deportes – Saturday, December 8 at 9 p.m. ET from The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden
One of the biggest boxing events of the year airs live on ESPN Saturday, December 8 from The Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City. The reigning WBA lightweight champion, Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) is set to take on WBO champion Jose “Sniper” Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs) in a title unification main event airing live and exclusively on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 9 p.m. ET, immediately following the live presentation of the 2018 Heisman Trophy Ceremony. Top Rank on ESPN will drop gloves just after 6 p.m. ET starting with the undercards on ESPN+ — the new multi-sport, direct-to-consumer subscription streaming service from The Walt Disney Company’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment and ESPN.
Two additional fights round out Saturday’s Top Rank on ESPN with marquee appearances by rising stars Isaac “Royal Storm” Dogboe and Teofimo Lopez. ESPN+ will stream the undercards live headlined by Guido Vianello facing Luke Lyon (5-1-1, 2 KOs) starting at 6 p.m. ET.
Calling the fight for ESPN will be Joe Tessitore and Mark Kriegel, with former two-division world titleholder, Tim Bradley (analyst), reporter Bernardo Osuna and on-location studio contributors Stephen A. Smith, Kevin Connors, former pound-for-pound two-division world champion and 2004 Olympic gold medalist Andre Ward, and ESPN Deportes’ coverage includes play-by-play from Robert Sierra and analyst Delvin Rodriguez.
ESPN’s official coverage of fight week kicked off Monday, December 3 with “Top Rank on ESPN: Best of Lomachenko” – an encore presentation of Vasiliy Lomachenko’s last two fights — Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Guillermo Rigondeaux (December 9, 2017) and Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Jorge Linares (May 12, 2018).
ESPN+ will also feature:
Countdown to Lomachenko vs. Pedraza, a four-part series that takes viewers behind the scenes as one of the world’s great pound-for-pound fighters attempts to unify lightweight world titles against WBO world champion Pedraza. Episodes include:
“Loma: Under the Knife” (available now) — rare footage of Lomachenko prepping for shoulder surgery, the surgery itself, how he injured it vs. Jorge Linares, and how his team handled his comeback.
Unifying The Belts (premieres today) — Lomachenko and Pedraza talk about their chances and ambitions to unify the lightweight title belts.
Fishing with Loma (premieres Wednesday, Dec 5) — Behind the scenes day fishing with Lomachenko and his team off the coast of California.
Training The Loma Way (premieres Thursday, Dec 6) — Inside Team Lomachenko’s unique training strategies, including unique outdoor and mental training.
The final press conference, which will stream live on Thursday, December 6 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
The Boxing Beat with Dan Rafael premieres Tuesday, the weekly ESPN+ original show will include a look ahead to Lomachenko vs. Pedraza with ESPN boxing guru Dan Rafael.
The weigh-in will stream live Friday, Dec 7 at 1:30 p.m. ET. Also airing on ESPN2.
News & Information, Digital and SportsCenter
Leading up to the fight, ESPN will preview the event on studio programming and online, including:
On air profiles of Lomachenko by Teddy Atlas and Pedraza by Mark Kriegel
Up-to-date on-scene coverage every step of the way from Rafael who will be with the fighters multiple days this week
News updates and a complete guide to the fight on ESPN.com and the ESPN app from Rafael out Friday, December 7
ESPN Fantasy game Streak for the Cash will offer fight predictions for the Co-Main and Main Event during the ESPN live event telecast Saturday, December 8
Confident Abreu Looks To Shine In Lomachenko-Pedraza Card
Dominican Juan Carlos “Merengue” Abreu (24-4-1, 19 KOs) aims to beat in high fashion the current IBF USBA welterweight champion Alexander Besputin (11-0, 9 KOs) of Russia, in a duel that will be broadcast by the ESPN+ app this Saturday, December 8th at 6:00 pm ET.
The fight will be part of the world championship unification bout between José Pedraza and Vasyl Lomachenko at the Madison Square Garden Theater.
“I feel very well prepared for this fight. Focused and motivated for victory. It would be very important because it is at a huge event, and many people all over the world will see it. I’m just waiting to have that title, God willing”, said Abreu, who is trained by Chiro Perez in Florida, and managed by Spartan Boxing Club.
“Besputin is strong, and he is protected by Top Rank. I know I have to do extra work than I normally do for the win, and I have the experience to beat him or any other boxer. I am ready to win, and I hope the judges are fair to my performance”, he added.
In his last appearance, Abreu lost by unanimous decision in close fight against Egidijus Kavaliauskas of Lithuania.
“I know what it feels like to face the promoter’s fighter and lose unfairly. I’m in the same situation this Saturday, but that doesn’t take away my dream of being great in this sport. Let’s do this”, said Abreu.
Top Rank on ESPN (All times Eastern) 2018
Date Time Event Platform
Mon, Dec 3 8:00 p.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Best of Lomachenko ESPN2
Tue, Dec 4 12:00 a.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Best of Lomachenko ESPNEWS
11:30 p.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Best of Lomachenko ESPN2
Thu, Dec 6 9:00 p.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Best of Lomachenko ESPNEWS
12:30 p.m. Lomachenko vs Pedraza Final Press Conference ESPN+
Fri, Dec 7 1:00 a.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Best of Lomachenko ESPN2
1:30 p.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Lomachenko vs. Pedraza Weigh-In ESPN2, ESPN+
9:00 p.m. (re-air) Top Rank on ESPN: Lomachenko vs. Pedraza Weigh-In ESPNEWS
Sat, Dec 8
12:00 a.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Best of Lomachenko ESPNEWS
2:00 a.m. (re-air) Top Rank on ESPN: Lomachenko vs. Pedraza Weigh-In ESPNEWS
11:30 a.m. (re-air) Top Rank on ESPN: Lomachenko vs. Pedraza Weigh-In ESPNEWS
12:00 p.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Best of Lomachenko ESPNEWS
5:00 p.m. (re-air) Top Rank on ESPN: Lomachenko vs. Pedraza Weigh-In ESPNEWS
6:00 p.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Undercards ESPN+
9:00 p.m. Top Rank on ESPN: Main Event
Vasiliy Lomachenko (11-1, 9 KOs) vs. Jose Pedraza (25-1, 12 KOs)
Isaac Dogboe (20-0, 14 KOs) vs Emanuel Navarrete (25-1, 22 KOs)
Teofimo Lopez (10-0, 8 KOs) vs Mason Menard (34-3, 24 KOs) ESPN, ESPN Deportes, ESPN Deportes Radio
Sun, Dec 9 1 a.m. (re-air) Top Rank on ESPN (Main Event) ESPN2
5 p.m. (re-air) Top Rank on ESPN (Main Event) ESPN Deportes
8 p.m. (re-air) Top Rank on ESPN (Main Event) ESPN2