Bright news from the much mocked Hennessy Sport today, as the stable of Froch, Witter and Barker signs up with terrestrial broadcaster ITV. News of a television deal has been doing the rounds all summer, but many observers suspected satellite newcomer Setanta was most likely to add them to their roster following the ill-tempered departure of Frank Warren’s Sports Network stable of fighters. A move Setanta continue to contest. Today’s news means the ever loyal, ever patient Carl Froch will fight Jean Pascal for the vacant WBC Super-Middleweight title on prime-time mainstream television. As a fan of Froch, I’m thrilled to bits.
Poor old Froch has sat on the sidelines waiting for Denis Inkin, twice, watched as Joe Calzaghe departed for Light-Heavyweight and was marginalised by television broadcasters. He stayed loyal to promoter Mick Hennessy who patiently worked the WBC system to land the shot at the vacated title. Now, in Jean Pascal he has an opponent willing to fight the popular Nottingham man and in ITV has a network who could, belatedly, deliver Froch to a mass Saturday night audience.
It will be a lesson for any fighter, that the grass is not always greener on the other side and will be just reward for Froch’s loyalty, patience and determination to do things the right way. Many implored him to leave Hennessey, and I’m sure it is something he considered as the months slipped by, but ultimately he will be able to fulfil his ambitions with the nation able to watch, free, and prime-time.
Lets just hope Pascal shows up and Froch delivers on his promise.
ITV IN NEW BOXING DEAL WITH HENNESSY SPORTS
BRITAIN’S new boxing star CARL FROCH will fight for a world title on prime time ITV1, as part of a new deal announced today (18.09.08) with Hennessy Sports.
Froch will meet Canadian star Jean Pascal for the WBC Super middleweight world title in his home city of Nottingham at the Trent FM Arena on December 6, with both men going into the fight unbeaten.
The rest of the deal will see Hennessy Sports stage a minimum of 26 promotions for ITV4 over the next two years, featuring European, Commonwealth and British title fights. Mick Hennessy is one of Britain’s top promoters, whose stable includes a host of quality fighters such as Junior Witter, Darren Barker, Jon Thaxton, Wayne Elcock, John Murray, and John O’Donnell.
The new boxing deal adds to a growing portfolio of sports on ITV4. The channel is becoming a key destination for sports viewers, with UEFA Champions League, UEFA Cup, Guinness Premiership Rugby, cycling, top level darts and motor racing. It is available to over 90 percent of the UK population and is the tenth most popular multichannel in the country.
Mark Sharman, ITV Director of News and Sport said: “ITV has a great heritage in boxing and we’re delighted to have signed this new deal which secures free-to-air coverage of the sport. Hennessy Sports have a stable of boxers with great prospects and we look forward to watching them develop on ITV4.”
Mick Hennessy said: “This deal is great news for British boxing. ITV4 has a fantastic line up of sport and it’ll be a terrific stage for our fighters to showcase their skills. I’ve always enjoyed working with the ITV team and I expect this partnership to deliver some very special events.”
Coverage will be simulcast on itv.com and video clips of fights will also be available on the site.