Vasiliy Lomachenko's lightweight unification win over Jose Pedraza was a ratings success for ESPN.
The December 8 Top Rank Boxing on ESPN broadcast averaged 1.865 million viewers, 813,000 viewers in the 18-49 demographic and a 1.17 rating. The main event, which took place at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden, saw Lomachenko defeat Pedraza to unify the WBA and WBO lightweight world titles.
It was Lomachenko's third straight fight at Madison Square Garden on ESPN, but this was the most successful one in terms of ratings. Lomachenko's last fight on ESPN was a WBA lightweight title win over Jorge Linares back in May and the broadcast averaged 1.439 million viewers. The previous fight was a win over Guillermo Rigondeaux in December 2017 and that fight averaged 1.73 million viewers.
The viewership numbers for the December 8 card was the second-highest for a boxing fight on ESPN for 2018. The most-watched fight on ESPN was Terence Crawford's WBO welterweight title defense over Jose Benavidez Jr. in October with that fight averaging 2.245 million viewers.
The Top Rank broadcast had to compete with the UFC 231 prelims on FS1 as well as boxing telecasts from both Showtime and HBO. Regardless, ESPN was the big winner of the night among all four networks. This was also the final Top Rank card on the main ESPN channel for 2018, but Top Rank's next big card on an ESPN platform is December 14 when Gilberto Ramirez defends his WBO super middleweight title against Jesse Hart. The fight will be streamed exclusively on the ESPN+ service.