TV ONE’S RINGSIDE

BY: KIMBERLY ALSUP

Was excited to have the opportunity to dial into a Tele-Press Conference with Russ Parr, Tyler Lepley, Allen Maldonado, Jackie Long, Raney Branch, Tequan Richmond, and Julissa Bermudez. Ringside premieres on Sunday, September, 4 at 7 pm on TV ONE.

CAST:

Jaxon Hollie: Tyler Lepley (The Haves and the Have Nots, Baggage Claim)
Spencer “Timber” Collier: Allen Maldonado (Black-ish, Straight Outta Compton)
Payton Waiters: Jackie Long (Real Husbands of Hollywood, ATL)
TC: Tequan Richmond (Everybody Hates Chris)
Indera: Raney Branch (The Originals)
Carmen Santiago: Julissa Bermudez (Make It Happen)
Selita: Sevyn Streeter (Atlantic Records Recording Artist)

Russ Parr: Writer, Director, and Producer of Ringside

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ABOUT RINGSIDE:

The biggest fight in boxing history will take place May 7 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Spencer “Timber” Collier (Allen Maldonado) defends his title against the undefeated Jaxon Hollie (Tyler Lepley). “Boxing 365,” the popular documentary series, chronicles the events leading up to the big fight. Jaxon, a college educated boxer, deals with the issue of being his brother (Jackie Long) and his sister’s keeper.

Jaxon’s record label is in the red due in part that his only artist is his very untalented little brother, TC (Tequan Richmond). In addition to the backstabbing seedy world of the boxing and recording business, Jaxon’s baby sister, Selita (Sevyn Streeter), a young, naive woman who gets involved with his top heartbreaking producer.

Considering all the distractions of the world of gambling, groupies, and drugs, Jaxon falls in love with a freelance photographer (Raney Branch) who may not be who she claims to be. Oddsmakers don’t give Jaxon much of a chance against the much bigger steroid abuser, Spencer Collier. Jaxon Holley eventually figures out that fighting in front of millions is less stressful than all the drama that leads up to the big fight.

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Tyler Lepley: What drew him into the character is how dynamic the character is. There are lots of storylines with that one character. Jaxon has family issues and they are sucking him dry emotionally and financially. He is a man-child and had to step up and be a father to his siblings when their parents died. Jaxon is not your typical boxer, he wasn’t a rag to riches story, he is college educated and has a master’s degree in Psychology.

How Much Training Went Into It?
There were only a few weeks to prepare before filming. He did what he normally did but doing it as if it was a job. Getting up working out became a way of life every day. He comes from a boxing background so it wasn’t foreign to him. It just caused him to getting all the technicalities together and making sure he looked like a boxer when he stepped into the ring. Did more sparring in a live setting. That is where you get that killer instinct. After filming, he did indulge in a big fat cheeseburger as a reward to himself.

Jaxon Has So Many Different Layers and Different Roles. How Did YOu Flush Out the Sub-Characters?
When you have so much going on you have to take 1 layer at a time. Prioritize and look delicately and closely. To now be a father to his siblings you have to give that its due time and justice. Giving each layer time to grasp, then dive into each layer. Just like regular life.

Allen Maldonado: It was amazing for him to jump into this type of character. Collier has the insecurities that come along with being a champion, being cocky is one of them.

How Did You Train For This Role?
Was definitely already in shape. He has a background in boxing as well. His character was supposed to be on steroids so he had to do extra workouts to reflect that. Ground turkey and coconut water to get the intensity of steroid usage. After filming, he indulged in a grilled chicken sandwich and fries.

Tequan Richmond: His character TC shows a young man at many places of his life. He has an older brother that is excelling and he is working on getting attention and trying to get out of the shadows of Jaxon.

Who Was Your Inspiration For The Film?
Was inspired by Tyler Lepley. Tyler was up early and shadow boxing and that is when he realized that everyone was taking this seriously. He plays a rapper in this movie so he took on a Souja Boy like persona and he brought his own swag.

Jackie Long: His interest grew when the role said “Sexiest Black Man in the World” (jokes) But in all seriousness this was a challenging role because he is usually stereotyped and people thought of him to be nothing but funny and jokes. Payton has a lot of issues, he feels as if it’s all about the money.

Raney Branch: She initially thought she was playing a younger character until she read the script over. Indera is a very well thought out, complicated character.

Who Was Your Inspiration For the Film?
It took to work on her relationship with her own brother who she is estranged from. Had to make phone calls to get it right so that she could have the authentic relationship to bring to the screen.

Russ Parr: As the writer, producer, and director of Ringside it was something different he wanted to tell. He is definitely heavy handed dramatic.

What Was Your Inspiration to Tell a Story About the Pro Boxer and His Life?
He tried not to do anything socially normal. It was bringing in a darker side, and you don’t know the reason why people box.

Will There Be A Part 2 or an alternate ending?
This was written as a back-door pilot. He wrote it as a series. So hopefully if the ratings are good then Tyler can get some redemption later on. It was left wide open on purpose for that reason.

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