Promoter Main Events' new boxing series on NBC Sports Network will kick off with a showdown between former heavyweight titlist Sergei Liakhovich and former title challenger Eddie Chambers, Main Events chief Kathy Duva told ESPN.com on Thursday.
The fight headlines a Jan. 21 card at the Asylum Arena in Philadelphia -- Chambers' hometown -- and marks the debut show of the recently announced "NBC Sports Network Fight Night" series. NBC Sports Network is still called Versus, but the name changes Jan. 2.
Main Events will promote at least four cards on the network in 2012, although that number is likely to increase, Duva said.
Liakhovich (25-4, 16 KOs) and Chambers (36-2, 18 KOs) will meet in a scheduled 10-round bout that could propel the winner back into a bigger fight.
Chambers got a mandatory shot at heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in March 2010, but lost every round before being knocked out cold with five seconds left in the 12th round. He rebounded with a win against Derric Ross in February and recently withdrew from a title eliminator with Tony Thompson, citing a sore back.
Liakhovich held a version of the title in 2006, but he has fought only four times since. In August, he showed tremendous heart to fight on with a badly broken nose against top-10 contender Robert Helenius, but was stopped in the ninth round.
"When you look at the landscape of the heavyweights, it seems like an underserved weight class," Duva said. "People wait around for their shot to get beat up by one of the Klitschko brothers and those (contenders) don't fight each other. So with Liakhovich and Chambers, you have two top heavyweights willing to fight each other and you don't know who's going to win.
"I think it will be a really good fight. It will be entertaining and you don't know the outcome in advance, and the winner will move up, so the fight has some meaning also."
Duva promotes Liakhovich and said after three weeks of discussion with Chambers and his promoter, Dan Goossen, they finalized the deal Thursday.
In the 10-round co-feature, junior middleweight Gabriel Rosado (18-5, 10 KOs), who is also from Philadelphia, will face Mexico's Jesus Soto-Karass (24-6-3, 16 KOs), who has lost two crowd-pleasing and competitive fights to another Philadelphia fighter, welterweight contender Mike Jones.
"This co-feature is exactly the kind of fight we were talking about when we were discussing the series, where the records don't matter but you have the potential for a war there," Duva said. "This is a fight that is not about names or records, just a good fight. It's the kind of fight with a true Philly mindset."
Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.