ESPN picks up The Contender; Manfredo and Gomez match will air in Oct.

As has been long rumored, ESPN has picked up The Contender for a second season. The cable network also has the option to air the show for two additional seasons.

“Plans call for casting and production to begin immediately and for the series to air beginning April 2006 in primetime on ESPN,” according to a press release. Of the move, producer Mark Burnett said, “Our vision from the onset was to improve the entertainment experience of televised boxing for the fans. What better platform to achieve that vision than on the network that pioneered sports television programming.”

The network will also air a rematch between two of the first season’s boxers, third-place winner Alfonso Gomez and runner-up Peter Manfredo Jr. Boxing News reports that this is “tentatively scheduled for September 24 on ESPN.”

Update: The rematch is now set for Oct. 15 at the Staples Center in LA.

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