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Roc Nation acquires Shaw stable

NEW YORK -- On the eve of the first boxing card being put on by music mogul Jay Z's Roc Nation Sports, the company on Thursday completed a deal to buy promoter Gary Shaw's company, giving it an instant stable of fighters.

The deal, which had been in the works for more than a month, was finalized around the time Roc Nation Sports was conducting the weigh-in for its first card Friday night (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes, 10 ET) at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, which is headlined by welterweight prospect Dusty Hernandez-Harrison against Tommy Rainone.

Under the agreement, Gary Shaw Productions will be absorbed into Roc Nation Sports -- including most of the contracts of the 20 or so fighters he promotes -- and Shaw will run Roc Nation Sports' boxing division along with chief operating officer David Itskowitch, who joined the company before it announced in August that it would begin promoting boxing.

"Gary Shaw joins David as the heads of Roc Nation boxing, and they'll make a great team to help lead the company through this venture," said Roc Nation Sports spokesman Ron Berkowitz.

Shaw told ESPN.com, "I have joined the company. I really do think that they can do for a fighter what nobody else can by strength of their entertainment and music talent and the athletes they represent. When someone says they're with Roc Nation, it really means something. They're at the top of the game, and being with Roc Nation will elevate the boxers."

Shaw, who is bringing his staff with him to Roc Nation Sports, comes to the company with decades of experience in boxing. From 1970 to 1999, he worked in various capacities for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.

He went into the promotion side of the business and served as COO for Main Events from 1999 to 2002 before founding Gary Shaw Productions, which has been involved in many major fights as he promoted boxers such as Manny Pacquiao, Shane Mosley, Winky Wright, Jeff Lacy, Diego Corrales and Vernon Forrest.

While Shaw has been heavily involved in Friday's card and will be ringside at the Garden, the final Gary Shaw Productions card will be taking place at the same time across the country at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California, where interim lightweight titlist Darleys Perez will defend against Jonathan Maicelo on the season premiere of ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights."

Shaw said fighters from his stable who will now be promoted by Roc Nation Sports include heavyweight contender Bryant Jennings, who is close to a deal to challenge world champion Wladimir Klitschko on April 25 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn; junior welterweight contender Thomas Dulorme; Perez; Maicelo; middleweight Tureano Johnson, who fights in Friday's Garden co-feature; lightweight prospect Kenneth Simms Jr.; welterweight Francisco Santana, who fights in the ESPN2 co-feature; and former middleweight titlist Daniel Geale.

"This was an opportunity to leave a different type of legacy in boxing," Shaw said. "Roc Nation and Jay Z to me are as big as it gets. They are a great company with a great brand, and if I can elevate boxing and the boxers like they do with their music acts and their athletes, that would be a legacy, and that's what I am shooting for. I am shooting to build Roc Nation Sports into a boxing powerhouse. The fighters will be in great company of guys like [Roc Nation athletes] Robinson Cano, Kevin Durant and Dez Bryant.

"It was a very good deal for me and my fighters to join Roc Nation. It's not life-changing for me in terms of the money but it was a good deal. But I did it because I thought it was the right thing to do at the right time for me and my fighters. I think it will bring them to a whole new level. We'll be able to get endorsements for fighters and do things other companies just can't do."