Today's heavyweight championship fight between eight year titleholder heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitchsko (61-3, 51 Ko's) and Alex Leapai (30-4-3, 24 KO's) will be shown on ESPN at 5pm EST today as part of a special Saturday afternoon showing. ESPN hasn't shown a live fight on Saturday night in years. This will be the first of two heavyweight fights that they will show as they are making it known that they are interested in boxing, mainly the heavyweight division. Two weeks from today they will be airing the heavyweight fight between Bermane Stiverne and Chris Arreola. The winner of that fight will become the new WBC heavyweight champion.
The interest shown by the leading sports network could make a splash in trying to return boxing to a mainstream sport. It's always been the heavyweight division that has drawn the interest of fans around the world. By getting the rights to air these two fights ESPN seems ready to spend some money to see if boxing can once again be a sport to be reckoned with. Most mainstream boxing matches are shown on HBO or Showtime. And while HBO has 29 million subscirbers, and Showtime hovers around 24 million, ESPN has access to over 100 million homes across the United States.