Release 12th September 2007
SERIES OF ‘THE CONTENDER’
EXCLUSIVE TO FOX8, STARTS OCTOBER 1
SAIKO BIKA & SAM SOLIMAN TO COMPETE
IN THIRD SEASON OF HIT BOXING SERIES FROM MARK
announced it has secured the exclusive Australian
television rights for the third season of hit
S reality series The Contender from Mark Burnett
Productions, ESPN and DreamWorks Television.Featuring
two champion Australian boxers, the exciting new
season will launch October 1, premiering Mondays
at 9.30pm, on FOX8.
Contender is an unscripted drama about the lives,
fears and hopes of 16 professional boxers as they
compete for the chance to win the US$1million
prize purse. Boxing legend and five-time world
champion Sugar Ray Leonard will return as host
and mentor, guiding the boxers through the most
intense training period of their careers and the
most challenging experience of their lives.
third season of The Contender will feature Australian
boxing champions Saiko Bika and Sam Soliman, who
will go up against 14 others in a bid to win the
title. Sydney’s own Saiko Bika, 28, represented
Australia at the 2000 Sydney Olympics and has
held the Australian Middleweight Title and New
South Wales State Middleweight Title. Sam Soliman,
33, from Melbourne held the Commonwealth Title
in 2001 and is a master of martial arts.
joining the show this season will be special guests
Oscar de la Hoya and Adam Corolla, as well as
world class trainers James “Buddy”
McGirt [a two-time welterweight World Champion]
and Jose “Pepe” Correa who has worked
as a trainer in boxing for over 40 years.
Ph: 02 9813 7396
For non-stop entertainment, pleasure seekers across
Australia look no further than FOX8. With exclusive
series, event television, the hottest international
shows and local productions, FOX8 delivers it
all, 24 hours a day and has your entertainment
needs covered. From ‘the sizzling reality
of ‘AUSTRALIA’S’ & ‘AMERICA’S
NEXT TOP MODEL’, add ‘PRISON BREAK’,
‘BONES’, ‘WWE RAW’, ‘WWE
SMACKDOWN!’, ‘FUTURAMA’, ‘THAT
‘70s SHOW’ & of course, ‘THE
SIMPSONS’ and you’ve got 100% high
velocity TV. Drama, Comedy, Reality and Action...
It’s all here on FOX8! FOX8 is available
on the FOXTEL, AUSTAR and OPTUS TV platforms.
16 Super Middleweight boxers vying for this year’s
title of “The Contender” include:
ALEXANDER – Age 26 – Camden, NJ –
Pro Record (14-1), 2 KO’s
As the self proclaimed most competitive guy of
the group, Alexander amassed an impressive 47-3
amateur record and maintains an undefeated record
as a professional. Alexander is not only accomplished
in the ring, he recently obtained a degree in
criminal justice from Montclair State University.
BANKS – Age 24 – Portland, OR –
Pro Record (14-2-1), 2 KO’s
Born and raised in Portland, Oregon Banks has
been fighting professionally for only three years.
Banks considers himself an upset specialist and
likes coming in as the underdog.
BIKA – Age 28 – Cameroon/ Sydney,
Australia – Pro Record (22-3-2), 14 KO’s
Bika represented his native country of Cameroon
at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, while there loved
it so much he has since decided to live and train
in Sydney. This accomplished fighter has several
title bouts on his resume including the Australian
Middleweight Title and New South Wales State Middleweight
BUCHANAN – Age 28 – Capital Heights,
MD – Pro Record (14-1-0), 11 KO’s
The supremely confident Henry “Sugar Poo”
Buchanan was born and raised in Capital Heights,
Maryland. Buchanan has impressed boxing experts
with his power, uppercut from the inside and ability
to slip punches.
FARRELL BUNTING – Age 27 – Las Vegas,
NV – Pro Record (16-3-1), 16 KO’s
Bunting’s only focus once in the ring is
winning and doing the best he can. His title bouts
include vacant International Boxing Association
(IBA) Americas Light Heavyweight Title and World
Boxing Organization (WBO) NABO Super Middleweight
CODRINGTON – Age 23 – Queens, NY –
Pro Record (16-1-0), 12 KO’s
Former national Golden Gloves Champion, Codrington,
possesses the perfect mix of speed, power and
flash that has captivated audiences since his
2004 professional debut. With Sugar Ray Leonard
as one of his idols, Codrington feels truly fortunate
to be a part of the Contender.
HERNANDEZ – Age 32 – Chicago, IL –
Pro Record (20-5-0), 10 KO’s
This popular fighter didn’t start boxing
until 27. Hernandez has earned the respect of
many very quickly both inside and outside the
ring. Touted as one of Chicago’s favorite
fighters, Hernandez is a straight forward fighter
with a reputation of putting on a great show.
JOHNSEN – Age 29 – Lyndhurst, NJ –
Pro Record (16-1-0), 9 KO’s
Born and raised in Lyndhurst, New Jersey, Johnsen
is a standout athlete in several sports. While
on a football scholarship for the University of
New Heaven, Johnsen blew out his knee and turned
to boxing to stay in shape for football. Johnsen
was soon recognized in the boxing community as
a rising star.
MCCRARY – Age 24 – St. Joseph, MO
– Pro Record (23-5-2), 13 KO’s
Born and raised in St. Joseph, Missouri, McCrary
dreams of becoming a world boxing champion. With
titles such as North American Boxing Association
(NABA)and North American Boxing Council (NABC)
Midwest Super Middleweight he is on his way to
fulfilling his dream.
RALSTON – Age 25 – Buffalo, NY –
Pro Record (16-2-0), 9 KO’s
Ralston is managed and trained by his father,
Jimmy Ralston, who was a top 10 rated light heavyweight
in the sixties. Ralston is more focused than ever
and can hurt opponents with either hand.
SANTIAGO – Age 34 – Ocala, FL –
Pro Record (29-3-1), 19 KO’s
A native of New York, Santiago is a former New
York City Golden Gloves Champion as well as competed
for World Boxing Organization (WBO) Light Heavyweight
Championship. He is an aggressive fighter who
tries to knock his opponent’s head off.
SMITH– Age 24 – Liverpool, UK –
Pro Record (20-0-0), 12 KO’s
Born and raised in Liverpool, England, Smith comes
from a boxing family; in fact he and his three
brothers are the first brothers that have all
won Amateur National Championships. The confident
Smith welcomes the chance to show what makes him
a true Contender.
SOLIMAN – Age 33 – Melbourne, Australia
– Pro Record (33-9-0), 13 KO’s
Soliman began his boxing career after studying
several forms of martial arts including Tae Kwon
Do, Karate and Kick-Boxing. The super fit Soliman’s
proudest moment as a fighter was winning the Commonwealth
Title in 2001. Soliman also works as a motivational
speaker in Australia.
VERA – Age 25 – Austin, TX –
Pro Record (14-0-0), 9 KO’s
Brian Vera possesses the heart of a champion.
Two-time International Boxing Association (IBA)
Champ, Vera, comes from a long lineage of professional
fighters. The heavy-handed Austin favorite puts
on a great show in the ring.
WELLS – Age 30 – Las Vegas, NV –
Pro Record (18-2-2), 10 KO’s
Inspired by Rocky movies as a kid, Rhoshii Wells,
begged his father to take him to the gym and teach
him to box. Nic-named “The Great One”
Wells began his professional career in 1997 after
winning the bronze medal in the middleweight division
at the 1996 Summer Olympics.
WILLIAMS – Age 31 – Detroit, MI –
Pro Record (29-2-1), 16 KO’s
up in Detroit wasn’t always easy according
to Williams, the self described bully turned accomplished
fighter. With title bouts such as International
Boxing Federation (IBF) Super Middleweight and
NBA Super Middleweight on his resume this confident
fighter is ready for any challenge.