Boxing: Warren and Leonard bring the noble art into reality TV era

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The Independent Online

The promoter Frank Warren and Sugar Ray Leonard have formed a partnership to launch a "reality" boxing event in Britain, starting in April.

Leonard and his former partner Sylvester Stallone were the men behind the successful American boxing reality show Contender and now Britain will have its own version.

The plan is for seven boxers from Britain and seven from America to fight each other on 30 March in Newcastle for the Sugar Ray Leonard Cup. There will be no boxing televised that evening, but two weeks later a series of one-hour shows will culminate with the contests. The first part of each programme will allow ITV 2 viewers to get to know the boxers first, so that when the fights are shown there will be a degree of involvement.

"The list of fighters includes those who are going there, those who have been there, and those who are treading water," said Warren, which is a fair assessment of the gathered talent.

On the British side, the current World Boxing Union light middleweight champion Wayne Alexander tops a pile that includes the unbeaten and promising fighters Paul Smith and Anthony Small. The American team includes many veterans of both the Contender I and Contender II series, with Grady Brewer, the winner last year, being possibly the best.