Contender’s boxers will face UK fighters in ESPN’s The Contender Challenge

ESPN is bringing back The Contender, sort of, for a six-episode all-star series that will have boxers from the first two seasons fighting boxers from the UK.

The Contender Challenge debuts April 10 on ESPN and ITV, and will feature fights from a single night of boxing, March 30. On that day, Sugar Ray Leonard “will captain a team American fighters from the first two seasons of the series,” and “[t]hey will box against a team of seven Warren-promoted British fighters, which will be captained by Hall of Fame former featherweight champion Barry McGuigan,” according to ESPN’s Dan Rafael. Even though “the fights will all take place on one night, they will be recorded and serve as the basis for” the series, he reports.

The series’ executive producer “Jeff Wald said Team USA isn’t finalized, but he expects it to include Freddie Curiel, Alfonso Gomez, Cornelius Bundrage, Walter Wright and Vinroy Barrett.”

This new season will not be edited like the first two seasons; instead, the full eight-round fights will be shown. ESPN VP Ron Wechsler said, “We’ll capture the fights like we do with the World Series of Poker. We’ll have the fights and some behind-the-scenes stuff to go with them, but primarily it will be the fights. We know some of our fight fans have an issue with the way ‘The Contender’ fights are edited. On this series, they will certainly be shown in their entirety.”

U.S. vs. U.K. for Sugar Ray Leonard Cup [ESPN]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.