Boxing news, schedule: Kovalev-Alvarez rematch set for 2019; Usyk-Bellew battle for titles
Two huge title matches were announced on Friday for the near future
The highly-anticipated middleweight world championshipis firmly at the forefront of boxing this weekend, but that doesn't mean we can't begin looking ahead to some future title scraps taking place in other divisions. On Friday, the future of the sport continued to make a resurgence with two huge title fight announcements -- including one that entailed a notable broadcasting change.
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Kovalev-Alvarez will run it back on ESPN
In somewhat of a stunning announcement, Stephen A. Smith revealed on ESPN's "First Take" on Friday that the light heavyweight championship rematch between Eleider Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev will be going down on ESPN on an undisclosed date in early 2019. That somewhat stunning part of all this is the fact that HBO has aired Kovalev's last 14 bouts, so the move to ESPN further signifies a dramatic change in the landscape of boxing broadcasting.
Kovalev (32-3-1, 28 KOs) was riding a two-fight win streak following his back-to-back losses to Andre Ward when he walked into the ring on Aug. 4 to put his WBO and WBA light heavyweight titles up against Alvarez (24-0). He walked out of the ring without those titles following a.
This is one hell of a matchup to kick off the year 2019 in boxing, but again, it's hard to ignore the underlying story here of HBO losing out on the rights to one of its most well-known fighters for such a marquee rematch.
Usyk set to defend his four titles
Sticking with the ever-changing broadcasting landscape in boxing, the second major championship matchup revealed on Friday sees undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk defending his four titles (WBC, IBF, WBA and WBO) against former WBC cruiserweight titleholder Tony Bellew. The bout was made official by promoter Eddie Hearn, and here in the United States, the fight will air on the new DAZN streaming service on Nov. 10. The cruiserweight title match is set to go down inside the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England.
Just 15 fights into his professional career, Usyk (15-0, 11 KOs) displayed his dominance to the entire world on July 21 when he unified the cruiserweight championships with a unanimous decision victory over Murat Gassiev. The 31-year-old Ukrainian is quickly asserting himself as one of the most dangerous boxers in the world, and he'll get the chance on Nov. 10 to further expand his reputation if he can remain undefeated by handling a former champion within the division.
The resurrection of the sport is continuing on, and the revelation of these two championship matches on Friday simply contribute to the cause in a big way.
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