WRAY & NEPHEW’s REALITY BOXING TV SERIES “CONTENDER” RETURNS FOR SECOND SEASON
The hugely successful Wray & Nephew Contender boxing reality television series is set to return to TVJ with its second season starting Wednesday February 15 at 9:30pm broadcast live from the Chinese Benevolent Association on Old Hope Road in Kingston.
Jamaican boxing had its hay-day in the 70’s and 80’s with legends such as Richard “Shrimpy” Clarke and Mike McCallum. In 2010, MJK Productions brought The Wray & Nephew Contender to a Jamaican audience and Jamaica’s favourite sport back on Prime Time Television.
In 2012, 16 professional boxers will compete for a share of nearly two million dollars with the winner walking away with a whopping one million dollars and the title of Jamaica’s Ultimate Welterweight Contender.
Series Executive Producer, Mark Kenny explains the change from last year’s Middleweight boxers (weight limit of 160lbs) to this year’s Welterweight boxers (weight limit of 147lbs): “We decided to explore a new division this year; it gives the competition another dimension and also lets us showcase even more boxers in Jamaica. We are also giving boxers who, in the past year, have come up the ranks and are now ready for The Wray & Nephew Contender.”
The show producers, in conjunction with the Jamaican Boxing Board of Control, searched the 14 parishes to find the best fighters and found 16 of the top welterweight boxers. The 16 fighters are split into 2 teams: Green Team, led by former boxer Carl Grant, representing Urban Jamaica and the Yellow Team, coached by gym owner Andrew Boland representing the Rural parishes.
During Stage 1 of the competition, the 2 teams will engage in a series of weekly physical challenges over 7 weeks. Each week, the winning team will then have the advantage as they will nominate a boxer from their camp as well as choose the opposing fighter from the other camp. These 2 boxers will then fight Live on TVJ to determine who stays and who goes.
The Jamaican Boxing Board of Control (JBBC) is once again happy to work with the show to continue to restore this sport back to its former glory. Leroy Brown, JBBC General Secretary commented: “The series has given boxing the proverbial shot in the arm the sport needed. It built a platform, giving boxers who hadn’t fought in a long time a chance to showcase their talents and they did well. We had a tremendous 4 months of boxing which was followed both locally and internationally. The board and the public are looking forward to the next edition. The Wray & Nephew Contender has set a standard of excellence we have to match and we as a board will put our all to ensure it will be as good or even better this year.”
Speaking on the impact the series has made to the sport, Brown continued: “Since the first season, we have had more amateur boxers showing an interest in the sport and so the JBBC is focusing on getting them ready for competition. We have also seen a few small promoters come to showcase some of the boxers from the first season. The sport is definitely growing, but will take time to get back to the glory of its hey-day.”