By Keith Idec
Keith Thurman and Josesito Lopez didn’t just deliver a more entertaining, competitive welterweight title fight Saturday night than many expected.
The gritty veterans attracted more viewers for FOX, too.
Nielsen Media Research figures released Tuesday indicated the “PBC on FOX” tripleheader lured a peak audience of 2,765,000 during the 12th round of the compelling main event between Thurman and Lopez at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The 12-round Thurman-Lopez fight, in which Thurman overcame serious trouble during the seventh round to win a majority decision, drew an average of 2,480,000 viewers.
Thurman (29-0, 22 KOs, 1 NC), of Clearwater, Florida, and Lopez (36-8, 19 KOs, 1 NC), of Riverside, California, drew higher ratings than the main event of the December 22 debut of FOX’s new PBC series.
That broadcast attracted a peak audience of 2,421,000 during the main event, which Jermall Charlo won by unanimous decision over late replacement Matt Korobov at Barclays Center. An average of 1,971,000 viewers watched that entire three-bout broadcast.
The first two fights FOX televised Saturday night also drew impressive viewership.
The opener, Tugstogt Nyambayar’s victory over Claudio Marrero, was watched by an average of 1,731,000 viewers. Mongolia’s Nyambayar (11-0, 9 KOs) defeated the Dominican Republic’s Marrero (23-3, 17 KOs) by unanimous decision in a 12-round WBC featherweight elimination match that determined an eventual challenger for champion Gary Russell Jr.
The co-featured fight, heavyweight contender Adam Kownacki’s second-round technical knockout of Gerald Washington, averaged 1,963,000 viewers.
The Polish-born, Brooklyn-bred Kownacki (19-0, 15 KOs) knocked down Washington (19-3-1, 12 KOs) in the second round. Washington, a former USC football player from Vallejo, California, got up, but Kownacki pounced on him and referee Harvey Dock stopped their scheduled 10-rounder shortly thereafter.
The entire tripleheader Saturday night averaged 2,170,000 viewers through the FOX, FOX Deportes and FOX streaming platforms.
The 90-minute telecast of prelim fights Saturday night on FS1 was watched by an average of 212,000 viewers.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.