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Exclusive: Roc Nation Sports Preps 'Throne Boxing,' Set to Feature Live Music at MSG
Roc Nation Sports, which announced its first Boxing division in August, will present its debut boxing event, "throne boxing," on Friday, Jan. 9, 2015. The event, designed to be a hybrid of boxing and live music, will be telecast live from Madison Square Garden in the first of a three-event deal with Fox Sports 1, with dates and venues for two future bouts to be confirmed at a later date.
At the Jan. 9 fight, to be broadcast live at 10:00 p.m. ET / 7:00 p.m. PST on Fox Sports 1, Washington, DC's Dusty Hernandez Harrison will fight Plainview, New York's Tommy Rainone in a 10-round fight for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Welterweight Championship. But the twist, Roc Nation Sports' chief operating officer of Boxing David Itskowitch, is a unique musical component heretofore unseen in a sport where musicians have typically escorted fighters into the ring, like Justin Bieber and Lil Wayne with Floyd Mayweather in Vegas.
"It's going to have a lot of bells and whistles that you don't normally see on events that are televised on basic cable," says Itskowitch, who says that mid-fight, "we're gonna be hitting the pause button and a big-name artist will perform in the arena. That's a bold thing that's never been done before."
That performer will be announced in the coming weeks, as will two other talent slots for an emcee and a live DJ -- all three of whom will be from the Roc Nation roster. Roc Nation's management clients include Big Sean, Angie Martinez, DJ Mustard, Meek Mill, J. Cole, Shakira, Rihanna, and Roc Nation co-founder Jay Z, with additional label clients like Mayaeni, Rita Ora and Willow Smith.
Itskowitch, who joined Roc Nation Boxing earlier this year from long stints in boxing promotion at HBO Sports, DiBella Entertainment and Golden Boy Promotions, was also key in tapping well-known boxing personality Michael Buffer to announce each event. "We want it to have a big fight feel," Itskowitch says, noting that Buffer is "usually reserved for HBO or pay-per-view events."
Tickets for the Jan. 9 fight will be priced at $205, $105, $55 and $30 (plus any Ticketmaster charges), and go on sale Tuesday, December 9 at 1:00 p.m. ET and will be available for purchase at the Madison Square Garden box office, online at www.thegarden.com and at all Ticketmaster outlets. One dollar from each ticket sold will be donated to the Muhammad Ali Center.