Big city brawl: Boxing reality show launches on Russian TV

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The first episode of the latest Russian reality TV show ‘Fight in the Big City’ will air tonight on Russian TV and will feature 32 boxers battling it out in a last-man-standing format to win a lucrative promotional deal.

The project promises to pack more of a punch than contemporary reality TV shows such as ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians’ and give a more genuine representation of Russians than the ambitious millionaires living in London who starred in ‘Meet the Russians’.

Fight in the Big City’s participants, from eight different Russian towns, will take part in the last-man-standing battle, with the winner receiving a championship belt and the incentive of a major deal with a promotional company which will offer a contract to the triumphant pugilist.

Casting for the project was held over two days in Moscow, with the judges panel comprised of stars from the world of boxing, including former champions Dmitry Pirog and Ruslan ‘Siberian Rocky’ Provodnikov, rising star David Avanesyan, and current IBF and IBO super lightweight champion Eduard Troyanovsky.

Each had the task of choosing from the selection of young and hungry contenders who will become the true champion in the ring.

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Former WBC world cruiserweight champion Grigory Drozd will host the project, and he predicted the show will go down well with audiences.

“A long time ago I thought about a similar project myself,” Drozd told Match TV. “Back then I thought it could be a smash hit, it would generate a lot of interest. And so it happened, that [Match TV] has decided to make it happen. For me it’s a real honor and a great pleasure.”

The aim of the ‘Fight in the Big City’ project is to find the most talented boxer and provide them with a platform to prove themselves. The show’s name is a play on the Russian version of hit US show ‘Sex and the City’, which translates literally as ‘Sex in the Big City’ in Russian.

President of Russian promotional company World of Boxing, Andrey Ryabinsky, said the general level of competitors at the casting stage exceeded expectations.

“The majority of these guys are masters of sport, who can box and are really fired up,” Ryabinsky said. “They are a way off from professional, but that’s what they came here for: to break through, and then learn. I’m really pleased to see such a good bunch. The main thing is they have character, they have fire in their eyes.”

“It’s important to believe in your spirit,” said Pirog, who retired as undefeated world middleweight champion in 2012. “To believe that you can achieve and become champion. This project is a great opportunity.”

“For me it is even better seeing such desire,” said MMA legend Alexander Shlemenko, who was also present at the casting. “The desire to prove yourself, to stretch yourself to the maximum. And, of course, to get through the casting, you need to be able to box a little.”

The show’s format has been used in the United States in reality show ‘The Contender’, which featured teams of boxers coached by such stars as ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard competing in an elimination style competition. The Ultimate Fighter television show follows MMA fighters through a similar competition and has produced 22 seasons.

The first episode of ‘Fight in the Big City’ will be broadcast tonight on MatchTV at 6.35pm local time.

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