By Gary Purfield
Main Events announced the addition of two heavyweight bouts to their March 24 NBC Show broadcast from the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn, NY. Headlining the card is an IBF 140lb. eliminator between former IBF champ Zab Judah 41-7 (28 KO) and undefeated contender, Vernon Paris 26-0 (15 KO).
In the televised co-feature, Sergei Liakhovich 25-4 (16 KO) will meet Bryant Jennings 12-0 (5 KO) in a ten round heavyweight bout. Liakhovich was slated to headline the inaugural Main Events NBC card from Philadelphia in January against Eddie Chambers. The bout would have put the former WBO Heavyweight champ back in the spotlight against another known and highly rated contender in Chambers. Unfortunately for Liakhovich, Chambers pulled out less than a week from fight night with broken ribs. With not enough time to find a suitable replacement for a fighter of Liakhovich’s skill level, he was removed from the card.
One man’s misfortune is another’s opportunity. That opportunity went to young heavyweight prospects Bryant Jennings and Maurice Byarm, who were given the headlining bout of the first NBC Fight Night series just five days before the event. Jennings and Byarm, two skilled but young and untested prospects got the chance to be showcased on national TV long before the opportunity would normally present itself in a fighter’s career.
The Philadelphia native, Jennings, seized the moment by winning a tough fought, entertaining, unanimous decision over Byarm. Now he looks to continue capitalizing on his moment by taking on an even bigger test in the former champ Liakhovich. The match presents a true crossroads bout to support the Judah-Paris title belt eliminator with an aging vet against a young hungry fighter on the rise.
Liakhovich has held a title. He defeated Lamon Brewster to win the WBO strap back in 2006 but his reign was short lived. In his next fight he was stopped by Shannon Briggs with a second left in the final round while ahead on the scorecards. Since then, his career has been marred by inactivity and he has lost his most notable bouts Nicolay Valuev by decision in 2008 and was brutally knocked out by Robert Helenius in his last fight in August of 2011. A win over the hot Jennings could keep Liakhovich in the picture. but a loss could spell an end to his chances at getting to the top, even in this bleak heavyweight picture.
Jennings, meanwhile, is looking to capitalize and keep the momentum he gained from his win in the last NBC Fight Night main event. The young heavyweight could take a serious leap from prospect to contender with a win over the respected Liakhovich in only his thirteenth pro fight.
Also on the card will be former light heavyweight and cruiserweight champion turned heavyweight contender, Tomasz Adamek, 44-2 (28 KO), who will be making his return after losing to Vitali Klitschko last September. Adamek spent several years building a large fan base fighting in Newark, NJ under Main Events where they capitalized on the large Polish community in the area. Adamek fought for several years at a brisk pace of at least three or four fights a year on his way to winning titles at light heavyweight and cruiserweight. He then made the jump to the glory division north of 200lbs. Adamek won six fights at heavyweight, including wins over Jason Estrada, Michael Grant and Chris Arreola, to set up a title shot against Klitschko. Despite a gutsy effort, backed up by a soccer stadium full of supporters in Poland, the much smaller Adamek was badly outclassed and took a one-sided beating that was stopped in the tenth round against Klitschko.
Now, after much needed rest and time off, Adamek looks to jump back into the ring on the undercard of the upcoming Fight Night card. At this time no opponent has been named for Adamek’s return, but he will be remaining in the heavyweight division.
The three fights will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network from the Aviator Sports Complex in Brooklyn on March 24. This will be the second of four Fight Night cards on NBC Sports scheduled for this year with the final two cards scheduled for June 16 and December 8.
Main Events is the lead promoter for the shows while Hall of Fame Philadelphia promoter, Russell Peltz, has served as the matchmaker. Main Events has stated any promoter is welcome to bring their fighters to the series as long as they are willing to match their fighters tough. The series aims to provide fans with exciting fights where the outcome is in doubt because fighters are matched even.
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