Sylvester Stallone Taps Gloves With DAZN, Sets ‘One Night’ Feature Doc Series

Rocky Balboa DAZN

EXCLUSIVE: Sylvester Stallone’s Balboa Productions has formed a partnership with rising sports streaming outlet DAZN, starting with a series of feature documentaries under the banner One Night.

The pairing suits DAZN’s initial positioning in the U.S. as a home for boxing, though it’s a broad enough heading to encompass other sports narratives. The $20-a-month streaming service launched in the U.S. in fall 2018 but also operates in eight other countries, carrying games in many territories from leagues like the NFL, NBA and Major League Baseball. Stateside, DAZN made its biggest initial splash by grabbing exclusive rights to five years of Canelo Alvarez fights. It also streamed the biggest boxing upset in decades on June 1, when Andy Ruiz beat Anthony Joshua at Madison Square Garden.

Leveraging Stallone’s creation of the Rocky franchise, One Night films will look back at memorable nights in recent boxing history such as the Ruiz-Joshua bout. The shocking win made Ruiz the first Mexican-American heavyweight champion, putting him on a Rocky Balboa-like trajectory from obscurity to stardom.

Andy Ruiz knocks down Anthony Joshua (left) for the second time in their June 1 fight. Nick Potts/PA Wire

”My Hollywood script came to life that historic June night when unknown boxer Andy Ruiz achieved a victory that shocked the world. It was the real life Rocky and the perfect story to kick off our partnership with DAZN,” Stallone said. “There is nothing like the world of boxing … the drama, the humanity, the agony, and the ecstasy. This sport reveals the souls of these courageous warriors like no other sport can so it’s a privilege to be very involved with DAZN and their revolutionary programming.”

More details and additional projects in the partnership will be announced in the coming months.

One Night: Joshua vs. Ruiz will premiere Wednesday, November 20 on DAZN and the DAZN YouTube channel, a bit more than two weeks before Ruiz and Joshua fight a rematch on DAZN on December 7. The film is executive produced by Stallone and his Balboa Productions partner Kourosh Taj, as well as Carrie Keagan for No Good Entertainment and DAZN.

One Night is directed by Deirdre Fenton, who moved to DAZN to head up original doc programming after a stint at ESPN’s 30 for 30 highlighted by an Oscar win for producing O.J. Made In America.

“For the first film in this series, we wanted to tell the definitive story of an unlikely underdog boxer achieving what few thought possible,” DAZN’s EVP of North America content Jamie Horowitz said. “We are honored to be able to partner with Sylvester Stallone, the creator of the greatest underdog boxing story of all-time.”

“Everything we do at Balboa begins with great storytelling that is deeply rooted in the human condition and there’s nothing quite like boxing that captures that,” Taj said. “What is so exciting about our partnership with DAZN is that it enables us to collaborate with smart, like-minded creatives and share these amazing stories with their dedicated viewers; and our first project together, One Night, is the perfect story to help fulfill Balboa’s mission of being the home for all underdogs.”

CAA and law firm Kleinberg, Lange, Cuddy & Carlo repped Balboa in the deal.

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