“The Monster” drew a sizable audience to ESPN on Saturday night.
According to statistics Nielsen Media Research revealed Tuesday, Naoya Inoue’s brief fight on ESPN drew an average audience of 818,000. The Japanese star knocked down Michael Dasmarinas three times on his way to winning their scheduled 12-round bantamweight championship bout by third-round knockout inside The Theater at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas.
The average and peak audiences for the Inoue-Dasmarinas match are the same because Nielsen releases viewership totals in 15-minute increments. Their fight began at 12:30 a.m. EDT on Sunday morning and did not last more than 15 minutes.
The 28-year-old Inoue (21-0, 18 KOs) dropped the Philippines’ Dasmarinas (30-3-1, 20 KOs) three times before referee Russell Mora halted the action 2:45 into the third round. The overmatched Dasmarinas was the IBF’s mandatory challenger for one of Inoue’s two bantamweight titles.
The Inoue-Dasmarinas match started significantly later than anticipated due to the length of a College World Series game ESPN televised Saturday night, Vanderbilt’s 7-6, 12-inning victory over Arizona.
The Vanderbilt-Arizona game caused ESPN’s three-bout broadcast to begin on ESPN2 at roughly 10:30 p.m. EDT.
The action shifted back to ESPN at approximately 12:10 a.m. EDT, following Mikaela Mayer’s 10-round, unanimous-decision defeat of Erica Farias in a WBO women’s junior lightweight title fight. Mayer (15-0, 5 KOs), of Colorado Springs, Colorado, beat Argentina’s Farias (26-5, 10 KOs) comfortably on all three scorecards (98-92, 98-92, 97-93).
The first fight of Top Rank’s tripleheader – Isaac Dogboe’s 10-round, majority-decision win over Adam Lopez – also aired on ESPN2. Ghana’s Dogboe (22-2, 15 KOs) beat Lopez (15-3, 6 KOs), of Glendale, California, on two scorecards in their featherweight fight (97-93, 96-94, 95-95).
By starting later than scheduled, the Inoue-Dasmarinas bout didn’t have to compete for viewers with another boxing broadcast. Showtime’s main event, Jermall Charlo-Juan Macias Montiel, ended approximately 25 minutes before the opening bell for Inoue-Dasmarinas.
The bout between Houston’s Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) and Mexico’s Montiel (22-5-2, 22 KOs) attracted an average audience of 333,000 and a peak audience of 379,000, according to Nielsen. Montiel gave the heavily favored Charlo more trouble than expected, but the WBC middleweight champion still won their 12-round bout by huge margins on all three scorecards (120-108, 119-109, 118-109).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.