Triller did it big, with the Mike Tyson v Roy Jones clash last November. And they did it smaller, but with heavy irreverence in April, when Jake Paul topped their bill. For the next Triller Fight Club event, the scale will be smaller, but it will still have a certain flavor to it.
The social media platform/video-sharing service will offer fight fare and music in a mashup at Madison Square Garden, but it's a step back from the expectations that were attached to the Tyson-palooza gig in Cali, and the Atlanta card/concert which featured a face-slap showdown and SNL's Pete Davidson as a roving emcee on acid lending an air of giddy uncertainty to the proceedings. It's the theater, not the big room, and Hunter is a low-key selling point as main event A side. The heavyweight is not a splashy get like Tyson, Jake Paul, or Teofimo Lopez, who was supposed to fight George Kambosos on the third Triller PPV, which got pushed back from it's original date, and then postponed, because COVID infected young Lopez.
That could be a smart adaptation, a shift to more of a structured from-the-ground-up approach to programming. My guy Abe Gonzalez tells me that the Verzuz Rap Battle will make a sellout of the small room a given, and then it'll be up to the fighters on the Triller card, the Hunters and the Chris Algieri's, to ply their trade in entertaining fashion.
Yeah, Hunter isn't known outside of hardcore circles, and is booked in what should be a squash, and Algieri is 37 and hasn't fought in two years…But this lineup and structure reads arguably as something of an admission by Team Triller. That being, sometimes coming out of the gate BIG and then downsizing in scope from there isn't signaling weakness, but actually, maybe, strength, because assessing recent performance and pulling back a bit on ambitions suggests that lessons are being learned.
Here is the release sent out by Triller laying out details on the NY show, and some of their stated aims on what they hope to achieve with this play:
New York City (July 14, 2021) Triller Fight Club today announced the lineup of the first of the ‘TrillerVerz’ events. Held on the first Tuesday of every month, this will be an unprecedented series of spectacular combat sports and music kicking off Tuesday, August 3 at Madison Square Garden pairing world class professional boxing and an iconic, live Verzuz Rap Battle between DIPSET and THE LOX.
The ‘TrillerVerz’ events will take place the first Tuesday of each month in the legendary venue and will be broadcast live internationally on FITE.TV and TRILLER.co. The live event will start at 6:00 p.m. ET with the Verzuz Rap Battle commencing at 9:00 p.m. ET after a 30-minute intermission.
Formed in Harlem by childhood friends Cam’ron and Jim Jones and adding Juelz Santana in 1999, DIPSET have been one of the leaders in the international hip-hop community for over two decades. Formed in 1994, from Yonkers, NY, THE LOX burst onto the hip-hop scene with their stylistic and unique sound created by original members Sheek Louch, Styles P and Jadakiss. This will be the first-ever Verzuz Rap Battle with a live audience. Founded during the pandemic, the Verzuz Rap Battle’s became a social phenomenon with millions of viewers watching from all over the world.
The debut boxing event from Triller is headlined by an outstanding ten-round WBA Heavyweight World Title Eliminator between Las Vegas, NV native Michael ‘The Bounty’ Hunter II, (19-1-1, 3 KOs), and Michael ‘White Delight’ Wilson, (21-1, 10 KOs), of Medford, OR. Hunter is currently ranked #7 by Ring Magazine and #10 by ESPN.
Co-featured, ‘The Fighting Pride of Huntington, Long Island,’ former world champion Chris Algieri, (24-3-0, 9 KOs’), battles cross-town rival Mikkel ‘Slikk Mikk’ LesPierre, (22-2-1, 10 KOs) of Brooklyn, NY in a scheduled ten-round welterweight clash.
Promoted by DiBella Entertainment, tickets for the full evening of entertainment from Triller will go on-sale Thursday, July 15 at 12:00 p.m. ET and may be purchased at MSG.com.
Doors will open on the night of the event at 5:30 p.m. ET with the first bell at 6:00 p.m. ET. Entrance to the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden is at Seventh Avenue between 31st and 33rd Street. VIP packages are also available to the event through MSG.com. “We couldn’t be more excited to be involved in bringing back such an important and culturally relevant piece of history, boxing on Tuesday nights at Madison Square Garden,” said Ryan Kavanaugh of Triller. “To be pairing it with such an important and relevant movement today such as ‘Verzuz’ is exciting and we believe sets the tone for the future of entertainment. These two world’s colliding introduce a younger and older culture of different interests and bring together Triller’s culture graph into one room underneath the ‘TrillerVerz’ umbrella.
In a special attraction ten-round clash for the vacant IBF-USBA welterweight title, Eric ‘The Baby-Faced Assassin’ Walker, (20-3, 9 KOs), of Plaquemine, LA faces local fan favorite southpaw Ivan ‘The Volk’ Golub, (22-2-1, 10 KOs), of Brooklyn, NY. Among the other fan favorites fighting on the stacked Triller undercard include former Irish amateur standout, Joe Ward, (3-1, 2 KOs), of Moate, Ireland, seven-time USA National Champion, pro debuting flyweight Christina Cruz of New York City, heralded junior welterweight prospect Aaron ‘The Alien King’ Aponte, (3-0, 1 KO), of Hialeah Gardens, FL and undefeated light-heavyweight Matthew Tinker, (6-0, 5 KO’s) of New York City.
Also featured is heavyweight newcomer Robert Sabbagh, (2-0, 2 KOs), of Brooklyn, NY, junior middleweight Nikoloz Sekhniashvili, (7-0, 5 KOs), of Gori, Georgia and pro debuting lightweight Harley Mederos of Brooklyn, NY.
More information on this exciting event will be announced shortly.
Guests will need to be fully vaccinated for the TrillerVerz event in the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden and must provide proof upon entry to the event of having received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine no later than 14 days before the event date. Exceptions will be made for children under the age of 16, who may provide proof of a negative antigen or PCR COVID-19 test, or full vaccination, and who may only attend with a fully vaccinated adult. For more information, please visit msg.com/faqs.