'FNF' to return for 12th season

"Friday Night Fights" returns for its 12th season on ESPN2 on Jan. 8 for the first of 29 live boxing cards, the network announced Tuesday.

Former junior middleweight titlist Roman Karmazin (39-3-1, 25 KOs) of Russia will face Colombia's Dionisio Miranda (20-4-2, 18 KOs) in Glendale, Calif., in a middleweight title elimination bout in the main event of the season premier (10 p.m. ET). The winner will receive a mandatory title shot against Sebastian Sylvester of Germany.

"We are excited about the return of ESPN 'Friday Night Fights' and we look forward to showcasing some entertaining matches," said Doug Loughrey, ESPN's boxing programming director. "We are always looking for ways to serve the fan and, to the end, all 29 of our FNF telecasts on ESPN2 will be in high definition. Furthermore, our ESPN2 coverage will be complimented by a live simulcast on ESPN Deportes and ESPN360.com. "

The first seven cards of the season, which ends Aug. 27, have been scheduled. Here's a look at what is on tap beyond the season premiere:

Jan. 15 (9 ET): Featherweight Fernando Beltran Jr. (33-3-1, 18 KOs), a former world title challenger, will be featured in the main event in Laredo, Texas. His tentative opponent is Tomas Villa (21-6-4, 14 KOs). Also scheduled to appear on the telecast is junior middleweight prospect Demetrius Andrade (8-0, 6 KOs), 2008 U.S. Olympian and former world amateur champion.

Jan. 29 (10 ET): Super middleweights Jesse Brinkley (34-5, 22 KOs), formerly of "The Contender," squares off with hard-hitting Curtis Stevens (21-2, 15 KOs) in Brinkley's home region of Reno, Nev. The winner of the elimination bout will be a step closer to a mandatory shot at titleholder Lucian Bute.

Feb. 5 (10:30 ET): The card in Fort Lauderdale will feature super prospect Guillermo Rigondeaux (3-0, 3 KOs), the two-time Cuban Olympic gold medalist and one of the most decorated amateurs of all-time. Rigondeaux, a junior featherweight trained by Freddie Roach, is slated to face Cuauhtemoc Vargas (15-2-1, 10 KOs) in a 10-rounder. Rigondeaux, who had his first scheduled 10-rounder in just his third fight, must first get past a Dec. 16 fight.

Feb. 12 (10 ET): Korean junior lightweight Ji-Hoon Kim (19-5, 16 KOs), who impressively knocked out Koba Gogoladze in the first round on "Friday Night Fights" last year, headlines against Tyrone Harris (24-5, 16 KOs) in Temecula, Calif. Russian junior welterweight prospect Ruslan Provodnikov (14-0, 9 KOs) faces Aris Ambriz (13-0, 8 KOs) on the undercard.

Feb. 19 (9 ET): Two of boxing's top prospects will be featured, middleweight Fernando Guerrero (16-0, 13 KOs) and junior middleweight Shawn Porter (11-0, 9 KOs) in Porter's hometown of Cleveland. Guerrero is slated to face Jesus Gonzalez (24-1, 13 KOs) while Porter, a 2008 U.S. Olympic alternate who gained notoriety for his sparring work with Manny Pacquiao in recent months, is scheduled to meet Damian Frias (16-2, 7 KOs). Guerrero and Porter both have interim bouts to get through first. They co-headline the Dec. 18 edition of Showtime's "ShoBox: The New Generation."

Feb. 26 (9 ET): Featherweight contender Antonio Escalante (22-2, 14 KOs) is slated to face an opponent to be determined in his hometown of El Paso, Texas.

Dan Rafael is ESPN.com's boxing writer.