WBSS, AT&T partner for U.S. airing of quarters

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The World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight and super middleweight tournaments finally have a television home in the United States, at least for the remainder of the quarterfinals.

Tournament organizers announced Thursday that the remaining quarterfinal bouts — two in the cruiserweight tournament and three at super middleweight — will be televised in the U.S. on AT&T’s Audience Network beginning with Saturday’s cruiserweight world title fight between champion Mairis Briedis (22-0, 18 KOs) and Ireland-based Cuban defector Mike Perez (22-2-1, 14 KOs) at the Riga Arena in Briedis’ hometown of Riga, Latvia.

The tournament telecasts will begin at 7 p.m. ET and include at least one undercard bout. The fights that take place in the United States will air live, while the fights that take place in Europe, such as Briedis-Perez, will air on a tape delay.

Audience Network is not widely available on cable platforms but is available to DirecTV, DirecTV Now, U-verse and AT&T Unlimited Plus customers.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring World Boxing Super Series quarterfinal action to sports fans in the U.S.,” said Ringstar Sports promoter Richard Schaefer, one of the promoters putting on the cards throughout the tournament. “Audience Network, Audience Network On Demand and DirecTV Now are great platforms for this exciting round of cruiserweight and super middleweight matchups as the fighters begin their quest for the Muhammad Ali Trophy.”

Showtime had shown interest in making a deal to broadcast both tournaments but changed its mind. There were efforts to land deals with other networks, including Epix, but those did not pan out either. By the time the deal with Audience Network was finalized, the tournament had already begun.

Cruiserweight titlist Oleksandr Usyk retained his title by 10th-round knockout of former titlist Marco Huck in their Sept. 9 quarterfinal, and Yunier “The KO Doctor” Dorticos retained his cruiserweight belt with a crushing second-round knockout of Dmitry “The Russian Hammer” Kudryashov on Saturday.

The super middleweight tournament began Sept. 16 with Callum Smith winning a unanimous decision over Erik Skoglund.

The Audience Network schedule will include the super middleweight fight between Chris Eubank Jr. (25-1, 19 KOs) and Avni Yildirim (16-0, 10 KOs) on Oct. 7 from Hanns-Martin-Schleyer Halle in Stuttgart, Germany; super middleweight world titleholder George Groves (26-3, 19 KOs) against Jamie Cox (23-0, 13 KOs) on Oct. 14 at the SSE Arena Wembley in London; cruiserweight world titleholder Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs) against former titleholder and mandatory challenger Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1, 37 KOs) on Oct. 21 at the Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey; and super middleweight Juergen Braehmer (48-3, 35 KOs) taking on Rob Brant (22-0, 15 KOs) on Oct. 27 at Kongresshalle in Schwerin, Germany.

The semifinal rounds and finals of each tournament do not yet have an American broadcaster.

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