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[04/19/04 - 12:00 AM]
FOX's Contender: 'The Next Great Champ'
By The Futon Critic Staff (TFC)

CHICAGO (thefutoncritic.com) -- FOX is giving NBC's "The Contender" some competition as the network announced today plans for its own boxing-themed reality series:

OSCAR DE LA HOYA MENTORS BOXERS TO BECOME FIGHTERS AS FOX SEARCHES FOR "THE NEXT GREAT CHAMP"

World Champ Headlines New Unscripted Series Winner Could Ultimately Get Shot at Title Holder

Six-time World Champion Oscar De La Hoya and television powerhouse Endemol USA, have teamed to discover young, raw boxers with potential to become a top prizefighter. The hopefuls will push themselves to the limit as they train and slug it out in hopes of winning every fighter's ultimate dream � a possible shot at a titleholder and a professional contract with De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions in the unscripted series, THE NEXT GREAT CHAMP (working title) on FOX.

"It doesn't get any bigger than this," said Mike Darnell, Executive Vice President of Specials and Alternative Programming. "So many unscripted series include contrived competitions where the participants 'figuratively' battle it out. But this time, the battle, and the punches are absolutely real and the winner could get a shot at a legitimate title holder."

Endemol USA's president, David Goldberg echoed Darnell's sentiments. "Oscar De La Hoya is a boxing legend whose story epitomizes the American dream. Now, he's giving a group of hungry and legitimate fighters a chance to follow in his footsteps and become a true champion.

"We're looking for talented, determined, courageous young boxers who want their chance at stardom," said De La Hoya. "Once we find them, we will push them to their limits to see which ones have the heart of a champion. And, for the first time, the audience will get to see the daily sacrifices and struggles, the joy and pain in the career of a young fighter. We'll show you how champions are made."

Approximately a dozen up-and-coming fighters selected from across the country will get their shot to truly become THE NEXT GREAT CHAMP. Each will have a story�ALL will be qualified boxers who are either new to the sport, have had tough breaks or never had the right opportunity. But the boxers won't have to go it alone. They'll be joined on their journey by someone from their real life who will be known as their "cornerman." The personal relationship between the fighter and the cornerman will add tension, drama and a first-hand opportunity for viewers to see pugilism through the eyes of a non-boxer.

As the fighters continue their preparations, they'll undergo a series of workout regimens crafted by legendary professional fighters and trainers � many of whom will appear on the show. Along the way, De La Hoya will be a mentor, friend, and motivator to the chosen ones.

Over the course of the series, only those who have what it takes will advance from challenge to challenge, round to round, and fight to fight. The stakes to be the last man standing are high as THE NEXT GREAT CHAMP will win a large cash prize, a possible title fight and a boxing contract with Golden Boy Promotions, leading to the chance to follow in the footsteps of the great De La Hoya.

Open auditions are being held in seven cities over the next few weeks, with those in Los Angeles and Miami beginning this Friday.

CONTESTANT REQUIREMENTS:
- MUST BE AT LEAST 18
- MUST BE A U.S. CITIZEN
- MUST WEIGH BETWEEN 130-170 POUNDS
- MUST BE AMATEURS IN THE OPEN DIVISION OR PROS WHO HAVE
FOUGHT IN FOUR ROUND FIGHTS OR LESS
- MUST BRING THEIR OWN GLOVES AND PROTECTIVE GEAR
- MUST BE AVAILABLE FOR A SECOND DAY IF SELECTED, WHERE THEY ARE REQUIRED TO BRING THEIR "CORNERMEN"

OPEN CALL SCHEDULE:

Los Angeles
Oscar De La Hoya Youth Center
1114 S. Lorena Street
Los Angeles, CA 90023
9:00AM � 6:00PM
Open Call - April 23
Call Backs only � April 24

Miami
South Florida Boxing Gym
715 Washington Avenue
Miami Beach, FL 33139
9:00AM � 6:00PM
Open Call - April 23
Call Backs only � April 24

New York
Gleason's Gym
83 Front Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
9:00AM � 6:00PM
Open Call - April 29 & 30
Call Backs only � May 1

Philadelphia
Joe Hand Boxing Gym
1255 N. Howard Street
Philadelphia, PA 19122
9:00AM � 6:00PM
Open Call - April 29 & 30
Call Backs only � May 1

Detroit
Location TBD
9:00AM � 6:00 PM
Open Call - May 7
Call Backs Only - May 8

Kansas City
Next Level Sports & Fitness
8242 E. Bannister Road
Kansas City, MO 64134
9:00AM � 6:00PM
Open Call � May 7
Call Backs only � May 8

Las Vegas
Location TBD
9:00AM � 6:00PM
Open Call � May 7
Call Backs only � May 8





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· CONTENDER, THE (EPIX)
· NEXT GREAT CHAMP, THE (FOX)





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