The second season of the boxing reality series The Contender made its debut on Tuesday, July 18 with a two-hour season premiere on ESPN. Host Sugar Ray Leonard and trainers Tommy Gallagher and Jeremy Williams are all back on board for another season of The Contender.
Season Two will be contested at welterweight (Season One was fought at middleweight) but otherwise, the format remains relatively unchanged with each episode ending with a five-round bout with the winner moving on to the next round. Season two will crown a new Contender Champion on Tuesday, Sept. 26 with the final bout broadcast live on ESPN from the Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.
THE FIGHTERS / RESULTS
The following 16 fighters competed for the title of "The Contender" (bios from ESPN press release dated June 13, 2006):
Grady Brewer Age 34 - Lawton, OK Pro Record (18-11, 12 KOs): Born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma, Grady Bad Boy Brewer started boxing at age 11 and went on to become a state Golden Gloves Champion and win 40 of his 45 amateur fights.
RESULTS: Defeated Vinroy Barrett to advance to Round Two. Defeated Michael Stewart to advance to Semi-Finals. Defeated Norberto Bravo to advance to Finals. Defeated Steve Forbes to win Contender title.
Steve Forbes Age 28 - Las Vegas, NV Pro Record (29-3, 9 KOs): Currently ranked 11th in the world, Forbes holds an International Boxing Federation (IBF) title and sports a record of 29 wins with three knockouts and three losses. With his ranking making him a target in the tournament, Forbes welcomes the chance to show what makes him a true Contender.
RESULTS: Defeated Freddy Curiel to advance to Round Two. Defeated Nick Acevedo to advance to Semi-Finals. Defeated Cornelius Bundrage to advance to Finals. Lost to Grady Brewer in Contender finals.
Cornelius Bundrage Age 32 - Detroit, MI Pro Record (21-1, 13 KOs): Cornelius K-9 Bundrage was born and raised in Detroit. As his alias suggests, Bundrage has a reputation of being a dog inside the ring, mauling his opponents with ferocious combinations and vicious uppercuts. In 2005, Bundrage won the United Boxing Association (UBA) Intercontinental Light Middleweight title.
RESULTS: Defeated Michael Clark to advance to Round Two. Defeated Walter Wright to advance to Semi-Finals. Eliminated by Steve Forbes in Semi-Finals. Defeated Norberto Bravo in consolation match.
Norberto Bravo Age 34 - Tucson, AZ Pro Record (20-10-3, 12 KOs): Norberto Bravo was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. Also known as El Gallito (The Fighting Rooster), Bravo describes himself in the ring as unrelenting and willing to fight till death, if necessary.
RESULTS: Defeated Rudy Cisneros to advance to Round Two. Defeated Gary Balletto to advance to Semi-Finals. Eliminated by Grady Brewer in Semi-Finals. Lost to Cornelius Bundrage in consolation match.
ELIMINATED IN ROUND TWO
Michael Stewart Age 28 - New Castle, DE Pro Record (38-4-2, 22 KOs): Originally from Columbia, Tennessee, Micheal No Joke Stewart distinguishes himself from the pack with his thick, raspy voice and blue-collar appeal. He is a building aficionado who works as a union construction laborer by day and has aspirations of becoming a general contractor.
RESULTS: Defeated Ebo Elder to advance to Round Two. Eliminated by Grady Brewer in Round Two.
Gary Balletto Age 30 - Johnston, RI Pro Record (29-2-2, 25 KOs): A former International Boxing Union (IBU) Champion, Balletto witnessed the death of his friend Bobby Tomasello in the ring more than five years ago. This caused him to help unionize the sport so fighters gain benefits, health insurance, and future jobs outside of boxing.
RESULTS: Defeated Aaron Torres to advance to Round Two. Eliminated by Norberto Bravo in Round Two.
The Contender: Season Two contestants (continued on page two).