Premium cable network EPIX®, an MGM company and their popular boxing series The Contender join forces with World Boxing Association (WBA).
The move comes ahead of the final live bout on Friday, November 9th from the Forum in Los Angeles.
For the first time since its inception, WBA will designate the winner of the current season to be automatically ranked in the top ten. This creates a shortened path for the winner to participate in a title shot to win the WBA belt. The partnership aims to create more opportunities for young boxers around the world.
Over the years, eleven Contender fighters competed in world championships after appearing on the show. Five went on to win the title. They include Sergio Mora (WBC Super Welterweight Champion) and Cornelius K-9 Bundrage (2-Time IBF Super Welterweight Champion). Plus, Ishe Smith (IBF Super Welterweight Champion) and Sakio Bika (WBC and IBO Super Middleweight Champion). Finally, Sam Soliman (IBF Middleweight Champion and WBF World Middleweight Champion).
“EPIX has been honored to showcase the passion, sacrifice and hard work of the boxing talent featured in this season of The Contender,” said Michael Wright, President, EPIX. “We couldn’t be more thrilled to be working with the WBA. It gives more deserved recognition to these incredible athletes.”
“Through the enduring success of the show, The Contender has produced several boxing champions. We thank the WBA for acknowledging the quality of these fighters. Also for providing further opportunities that will enhance their professional boxing careers,” said Eric Van Wagenen, Executive Producer of The Contender.
“We are thrilled to work with EPIX and The Contender. It’s a great tournament with strong talent, to create a path to success for the show’s champion by automatically ensuring their top 10 ranking. This also ensures strong competition for boxers globally,” said Gilberto Mendoza, President of World Boxing Association.
The WBA is an international boxing organization that sanctions official matches and awards the WBA world championship title at the professional level.
Founded in the United States in 1921 by thirteen state representatives as the National Boxing Association, in 1962. It changed its name in recognition of boxing’s growing popularity worldwide and began to gain other nations as members.
Gilberto Mendoza from Venezuela was the President of the WBA since 1982 until his death in 2015. After which Gilberto Jesús Mendoza took over as president.
In January 2007, it returned its headquarters offices to Panama after being located during the 1990s and early 2000s in Venezuela.