NBC Sports Network’s Fight Night boxing series kicks off its second season on Saturday, January 19th, with a high-voltage double header. The nationally televised event will be shown live from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, CT, beginning 9PM ET.
In the Internationally flavored main event, light heavyweights Gabriel Campillo, 21-4-1, 7 KOs, of Madrid, Spain, meets Sergey Kovalev, 18-0-1, 15 KOs, Chelyabinsk, Russia, in an compelling 10-rounder. The bout looks like a classic boxer-puncher match up, with Kovalev bringing the power while Campillo provides the finesse.
Campillo is a former WBA light heavyweight champion, who came within a whisker of winning the IBF crown against Tavoris Cloud last year. Cloud retained his title by controversial decision, but most believed slick southpaw Campillo deserved the victory. "The Handsome Man" will look to bounce back by schooling the hard-punching "Krusher", but this main event is a toss-up.
Kovalev has been on the rise, knocking out almost everyone put in his path. He hasn’t been extended to the final bell in more than two years, and will certainly be looking to add another KO to his resume, especially one with a name as distinguished as Campillo’s.
In the 10-round co-feature, Elvin Ayala, 26-5-1, 12 KOs, takes on Curtis Stevens, 22-3, 16 KOs, in a battle between two middleweights hungry for the spotlight. Their clash before a nationally televised audience should provide them with the perfect opportunity to shine.
Ayala, of New Haven, CT, is a well-travelled vet with six straight wins, three of them by KO. He stopped John Mackey at the Mohegan Sun in his last fight, and before that, pitched a near shutout on national TV against Eric Mitchell at Foxwoods, also in CT. Against Stevens, Ayala will again have the home-state advantage.
Curtis Stevens, of Brownsville, Brooklyn, is a rising star who’s kayoed four of his last six opponents. His most recent foe, Romaro Johnson, didn’t make it out of the first round. Another of his KO victims was then-undefeated Pitor Wilczewski, whom Stevens starched in three rounds.
Ayala and Stevens are both boxer-punchers with something to prove, and should provide each other with a serious test.
With these two excellent bouts on tap, and their likelihood to produce knockouts, boxing fans are certain to be the big winners on this busy night of televised boxing. With other cable boxing shows scheduled for later in the evening, these excellent Fight Night wars should be settled long before the other programs even begin.