Contender or reality TV?

April 06, 2017
File Tsetsi “Lights Out” Davis (left) in action against Ramel 'Sub Zero' Lewis during a semi-final round encounter of the Wray & Nephew Contender boxing series in 2013.

WITH the Contender Boxing Series roll call now resembling Jamaica's version of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), recycling fighters season after season, questions have arisen as to whether the contest, which started last night, has been reduced to a reality TV series.

Featuring regular cast members such as Tsetsi 'Lights Out' Davis, Richard 'Frog Holmes', Sakima 'Mr Cool' Mullings, Devon 'Concrete' Moncrieffe, Ramel 'Sub Zero' Lewis and Ricardo Planter, the series got under way at its Chinese Benevolent Association Auditorium 'studio' last night.

Offering a $2 million purse for the competition's winner, the runner-up pockets $500,000, third-place $250,000 and fourth, $200,000. However, unlike other talent reality shows, winners are not guaranteed a boxing contract.

Executive Producer Mark Kerry told STAR Sports he is not into boxing promotion, explaining that the show is "a platform for Jamaican boxers to have the possibility of a professional career".

"I don't get involved in boxing promotions, per se, so it's up to individual boxers. During the competition, promoters do approach the boxers and they make up their own mind who they're going to go with. I don't get involved with that," he said.

As it relates to the recycling of the cast, Kerry said the reality TV element "is very minimal' and "it's up to the boxers to return for subsequent seasons".

"I would've always expected boxers to come back," he said. "They don't finish just because they won a competition or they did well in one. I would never envision it as people not having an opportunity to box in subsequent years if they're up for it and can make the weight."

Though Kerry played down the reality TV aspect of the series, The Contender bears a striking resemblance to 'The Contender', a series aired on NBC, ESPN and Versus from 2005 to 2008. It featured a reality TV series following a group of boxers competing in an elimination-style competition, while their lives and relationships with each other and their families were depicted.

This year's Contender contestants:

Richard 'Frog' Holmes - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017

Tsetsi 'Lights Out' Davis - 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017
Ramel 'Sub Zero' Lewis - 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017
Devon 'Concrete' Moncrieffe - 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017
Sakima Mullings - 2011, 2014, 2017
Ricardo Planter - 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017
Gregory Miller - 2015, 2017
Nico Yeyo - 2017

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