“Sugar” Ray Leonard, Brian Kenny, Kay Adams, Chris Mannix and LZ Granderson will serve as the ringside fight team for boxing telecasts by DAZN, a live, on-demand streaming sports service that is led by the U.K-based Perform Group and could serve as a new kind of competition to ESPN, HBO, Showtime and other cable outlets that provide boxing coverage.
The new team will work their inaugural event as a unit when world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua defends his WBA, WBO and IBF belts against Alexander Povetkin on Sept. 22 from Wembley Stadium in the U.K. Beginning in October, the team will broadcast all Matchroom USA fights on DAZN including the previously announced Jessie Vargas vs. Thomas Dulorme on Oct. 6 and Billy Joe Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade on Oct. 20.
Leonard and Kenny will call the action. Kay Adams and Chris Mannix will host each fight night. Granderson will report from ringside.
“We’re committed to bringing our subscribers not just top-notch boxing and MMA – but also top-notch production,” said Joseph Markowski, DAZN senior vice president of North America for DAZN, in a statement. “With this broadcast team, viewers will be in good hands and we look forward to introducing a series of innovations to our fight night experience in the coming months.”
Perform Group named John Skipper its executive chairman in May, just a few months after he left his role as president of ESPN. DAZN (“da zone”) is launching in September in the U.S., for $9.99 a month, offering access to big fights from Viacom’s Bellator MMA and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing, among others. The network won’t sell an annual subscription.
Leonard will provide ringside analysis for the fights, drawing on his career as a six-time world champion and Olympic gold medalist. Out of the ring, Leonard has enjoyed a long broadcasting career working with ABC, NBC, FOX, ESPN and HBO. Kenny will serve as the blow-by-blow announcer. He has spent more than three decades in boxing, covering the sport for ESPN, Showtime and Fox. Leonard and Kenny last worked together in 2017 when they called the international broadcast of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor fight.
“With all of the boxing dates DAZN already has on the calendar, they are going to have me quite busy – and that’s a great thing for fight fans because it means that good fighters are staying active and taking on meaningful challenges,” said Leonard in a statement.
Adams and Mannix will host each broadcast. Adams is best known for hosting “Good Morning Football” on NFL Network and DirecTV’s Fantasy Zone. Mannix is an award-winning boxing writer for Yahoo Sports and has worked as a ringside reporter for NBC, Showtime and EPIX.
Granderson will handle ringside reporting duties for DAZN. He covered the NBA and tennis for ESPN to national politics for ABC. In addition to his work in television, Granderson can be heard each weekday on “Mornings with Keyshawn, LZ and Travis” on ESPNLA 710, is a senior writer for ESPN’s “The Undefeated,” and writes for CNN.
Early action at each Matchroom USA fight night will be called by broadcast veteran Todd Grisham and former world champion Sergio Mora. Additionally, Akin “Ak” Reyes and Barak Bess, known for their boxing shows on Sirius XM Radio and ThisIs50.com, will interview some of the biggest names in the sport throughout fight week.