ESPN2 Friday Night Fights Announces Hopkins, Osuna, Flores and Rafael to Appear Regularly as Studio Guests
Heading into its 11th season, ESPN2 Friday Night Fights will feature four star-studded studio guests throughout its 2009 coverage. The quartet of guests, who will appear individually on select FNF broadcasts, includes boxing great Bernard Hopkins; ESPN.com boxing writer Dan Rafael, who will debut Jan. 16; analyst Bernardo Osuna, formerly of Telefutura’s Solo Boxeo, who debuts Jan. 30; and fighter BJ Flores, debuting Feb. 6.
Hopkins kicked off the coverage Friday, Jan. 9, and will add an entertaining element to FNF telecasts. The guests will appear on a regular basis, typically with ESPN’s Brian Kenny, who hosts the studio portion of Friday Night Fights.
“We couldn’t be more pleased with the personalities we have secured for 2009,” said Matt Sandulli, senior coordinating producer, ESPN. “This quartet of studio guests will provide an excellent balance between entertainment and information.”
Hopkins, who defeated Kelly Pavlik in an October 2008 bout, is a future Hall of Fame middleweight. He is best known for his 10-year reign as Middleweight World Champion, during which time he defended his title a record 20 times. He is the oldest man to have held the Middleweight Championship in professional boxing.
Rafael began writing for ESPN.com in March 2005 after working for five years as the boxing writer for USA Today. Rafael will continue to cover boxing for ESPN.com but will add his unique perspective to the Friday Night Fights telecast.
In line with Friday Night Fights’ increased focus on the U.S. Hispanic sports fan, the panel will include two accomplished Hispanic personalities: Former WBF Cruiserweight champion Flores will add cache as an active boxer. The undefeated Flores is scheduled to fight Jan. 23.
Additionally, Osuna is one of the most respected boxing journalists to appear on Spanish-language television. His professional achievements include the prestigious Sam Taub Award for excellence in broadcast journalism presented by the Boxing Writer’s Association of America and three Emmy awards.
Friday Night Fights will continue to be ably hosted by Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas. In 2009, ESPN2 will highlight some of Atlas’ popular “Fight Plan” segments from past broadcasts. ESPN2 Friday Night Fights will air throughout the year, showcasing some of the best bouts in the industry, beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
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