BET is storming out of its corner with its first-ever rounds of professional boxing.
The network, which has traditionally programmed entertainment, music, news and public affairs for the African-American audience, told The Associated Press it has partnered with Roc Nation Sports to air up to nine live, two-hour telecasts of boxing events in the next 18 months.
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The network promises the new program will "stretch the boundaries of the sport."
The first main event fight will feature WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Andre Ward (27-0) facing former World Title Challenger Paul Smith (35-5) of England on June 20 at Oakland's Oracle Arena.
The action inside the ring will be supplemented with a live musical performance as well as a DJ — a package of elements branded "throne boxing" by Roc Nation Sports and its founder, Shawn "Jay Z" Carter.