Premium pay television network EPIX, an MGM company, is set to launch a new version of the seminal Contender boxing franchise. This iconic, fan-favorite series produced by Mark Burnett, President of MGM Television and Digital, has launched multiple boxers into contention for world titles. EPIX will debut an all-new 12-episode season of the boxing competition series, which will start production in 2018 with an anticipated debut later this year. MGM Television is producing with Paramount Television.
The upcoming series will feature 16 fighters in an elimination competition that will push their skills, strength and endurance to the limit. “Boxing belongs on premium pay television and there is no better home for The Contender than EPIX.” said Burnett. “We will tell stories of the fighters, the families and their difficult journeys in the emotionally compelling Contender style so that viewers get to vicariously ‘walk a mile’ in the boxers shoes.”
The boxers will be divided into two teams to train, each overseen by a renowned boxing coach who will act as a mentor. Over the course of the season, the competitors will live together, train together and fight each other in the ring, all vie to be become the ultimate Contender and take the winner’s six-figure purse.
“The Contender has launched the careers of many fighters, with some Contenders taking world titles – but this new iteration of the series will also showcase the heart, spirit and dramatic personal stories of these fighters as they fight in and out of the ring to realize their dreams,” said Michael Wright, President of EPIX. “This is not only real boxing, but real, raw human storytelling from the best unscripted television production team in the world.”
The Contender ran for four seasons (2005-2009) and according to Nielsen Media Research the series was seen by 180 million cumulative viewers. The series saw eleven Contender fighters fight for world championships after appearing on the show, with five title winners (Mora, Bundrage, Smith, Bika, Soliman). Sergio “The Latin Snake” Mora went on to win the WBC Super Welterweight Championship and season three champion Sakio “The Scorpion” Bikawent on to win the WBC & IBO Super Middleweight Championships, among others.
Eric Van Wagenen is executive producer and showrunner alongside Mark Burnett. The format is owned by MGM Television and Paramount Television.
In Other News
Want to own a piece of sports memorabilia? Goldin Auctions 2018 Winter Auction has more than 1,100 lots of sports, entertainment, history and pop culture memorabilia up for bids through February 17 at GoldinAuctions.com.
Some of the highlights are: seven Super Bowl rings including a 2017 New England Patriots Super Bowl Ring (Brady additional ring); Bobby Riggs’ Battle of the Sexes tennis racket; two high-grade 1952 Topps #311 Mickey Mantle rookie cards; the original UFC Championship belt; a 1984 U.S. Olympic basketball gold medal plus; rare memorabilia from Ted Williams, Willie Mays, Hanks Aaron, and more.
“Although we have sold many of the most valuable pieces of sports memorabilia and our auctions always feature many special items, I’ve never seen an auction as loaded as this one with more historically significant and unique museum-quality items,” said Ken Goldin Founder of Goldin Auctions. “We are very excited to see the response from collectors when they peruse this catalog.”
Here are some of the auction highlights:
Lot #1 – 2017 New England Patriots Super Bowl Ring – “Tom Brady Family Ring” — An additional ring ordered for a Brady family member and approved by Tom Brady. It is displayed in a presentation box with an official Jostens’ COA and appraisal made for Brady. The size 10 ½, ring weighs 77.3 grams and features 260 diamonds. The left shank features “Brady” and “Patriots” with an image of the lighthouse and bridge, the signature view of Gillette Stadium and is accented with “5X” and the years of each Patriot Super Bowl win. A search of public databases found this to be the first ring or award of any type related to Brady that has ever been offered for public sale. As for a realistic comparison, in 2013 Goldin Auction sold a 2000 Lakers NBA Championship ring ordered by Kobe Bryant for his father Joe Bryant for $173,000.
Lot #10 – Bobby Riggs Historic “Battle of the Sexes” Tennis Racket – A tennis racket from perhaps the most important sporting event of the past 50 years used by Riggs in his match against Billie Jean King on September 20, 1973 before more than 30,000 spectators at the Houston Astrodome and 90 million television viewers. Riggs used several rackets during the match in which he lost to King including this AMF Head model. This is the first to be offered for sale. It is mounted in a 23 ½” x 32″ shadow box display with a photo from the event and a handwritten letter from Riggs to long-time friend Doug Dean reading; “Doug, I’m glad you have taken such good care of my tennis racket the one that I used and lost before 90 million people around the world in 1973 – Bobby Riggs”. This magnificent historical piece comes with a LOA from JSA, who have authenticated Riggs’ signature and inscription.
For More Information
The Goldin Auctions 2018 Winter Auction is open for bidding from January 22 through February 17 at GoldinAuctions.com.
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