Crystina Poncher Biography
Crystina Poncher is a host, reporter and correspondent for NFL Network and NFL.com. She also serves as a commentator and reporter for Top Rank.
Crystina Poncher Age
Poncher has neither disclosed her age nor her date of birth.
Crystina Poncher Height
She stands at a height of 1.83 m.
Crystina Poncher Net Worth
Her net worth is still under review.
Crystina Poncher Career
With the NFL, Crystina’s duties include serving as an in-studio host for the NFL Network and as a reporter and correspondent for NFL.com’s, NFL Fan Pass, which gives viewers inside access to all things NFL related. In Crystina’s role with Top Rank, she provides fight commentary and has interviewed some of boxing’s biggest stars.
Previously, she worked as a reporter and host for Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket and FoxSports.com. Crystina was an in-studio host for FoxSports.com, contributing news updates as a part of the Fox Sports Flash. In addition, she reported from the sidelines for college basketball on Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket.
Crystina Poncher Interview
BT: Hi Crystina, thanks for taking a minute to chat. I know you are going non-stop most days.
CP: Hi Bill, No problem, I’m happy to do it.
BT: First off, I gotta say, I love the pictures of your son you post, so cute, such a handsome little guy.
CP: Oh my gosh, I know I’m biased but isn’t he adorable? I arrive at a show now and everyone is like, ‘Hey Poncher’s here…where’s Kingston?’ He’s totally the star of the show. (Laughs).
BT: You didn’t have a lot of experience in boxing when you started although you had certainly had a love for sports and wanted to work in sports media.
CP: I was recommended through a friend who knew of my work in other sports. I hadn’t had any experience in boxing although I wasn’t uncomfortable being behind the mic in sports in general so I looked at this as just another medium. I had played basketball, I had been watching football my whole life but other than my parents having people over to watch a big fight I hadn’t had a lot of exposure to boxing. But, once I started working on shows and seeing the sport up close I very quickly grew to love it and just enjoyed it more an more. I started to really develop an appreciation for the sport, the fighters and the whole industry.
BT: What was the initial reaction? You weren’t just doing short, interview spots with the fighters, you were in the gyms and getting right in there with the fighters, working ringside, you jumped into the deep end.
CP: I got a few eye rolls at the beginning. Some people, not many, but some, probably thought, ‘who is this girl interviewing fighters’? It always takes a bit of time for people to know you and seize you up. But, they saw how hard I worked and I was invested in the sport and getting better each time out so I think they respected that. But, this drove me, not to prove I was a good female reporter in boxing, or a good female commentator, but just a good and respected reporter and commentator.
BT: The learning curve can be hard in a new sport that isn’t just second nature to you.
CP: Yes it can but hard work is the key. I’m the person that likes to over-prepare. So, when I was starting to work on the shows and getting ready for a card, I got as much information as possible, learned as much as I could about the fighters, took in absolutely everything. So, when I was behind the mic people could hear, and see, that I knew the fighters and knew what I was talking about in relation to the fighters and the fights; I think people respected that work ethic.
BT: You have a background working in a lot of other sports and mediums, do you have time to do any other work outside of boxing.
CP: I am full-time on boxing doing the Top Rank shows. We are so busy right now I wouldn’t have time for anything else, but that’s ok, I love what I’m doing. I really love the Top Rank family and I’m blessed to be doing this and I’m just working hard and trying to get better each time out. Not that I’d even have time for anything else but I’m 100% boxing these days.
BT: You’ve been with Top Rank for about a decade? Correct? Did you ever think you’d be doing boxing this long when you started?
CP: Yeah, wow, ten years in, times sure does fly. Bill, I never thought I’d be in boxing at all. I knew I always wanted to work in sports commentating, but I really didn’t ever think about boxing. But, now that I’m doing it, I absolutely love it. It’s such a unique sport, it really is. Once you get to work in boxing, you get the bug and it’s very hard to think of not working in boxing. Joe Tessitore said even after he got Monday Night Football that he wanted to still do boxing. I mean the guy travels every weekend and is so busy but he didn’t want to leave boxing and I get that. It gets in your blood and it is very hard to walk away from. It is such a unique sport and now I can’t imagine not working in boxing. Sometimes they say you don’t choose it, it chooses you; that’s how I feel about boxing (laughs).
BT: Let’s chat about your recent slot doing the main event on ESPN, only the second woman ever to call a full card. History making.
CP: With the new ESPN deal things are just busier than ever. When HBO got out of boxing we didn’t know exactly what was going to happen. Will there be enough fight dates? What is going to happen? Things were slow as there were so few dates available. I wasn’t privy to what was happening behind the scenes so I wasn’t sure exactly what was happening. T
hen, Todd (Top Rank President, DeBoeuf) announces this amazing new deal with ESPN. We have so many shows now, we are busier than ever. Todd is such a visionary, and is so ahead of everyone else in the sport, he sees opportunity and potential and knows how to access it and help Top Rank, and the whole sport, grow and thrive; Todd has amazing foresight.
BT: How did the slot open up for you to do the whole card in Costa Mesa recently? And, truly a home game for you.
CP: Brad (Jacobs) came up to me and asked if I was ready to do the entire card and be part of the main event as well for our recent show in Costa Mesa. It was groundbreaking and Brad even said, “Are you ready to make history in your hometown?” I’m always up for a challenge and I was excited for the challenge but at the time I thought that I’d just prepare like I do for any fight, as I’m the kind of person who is always over-prepared. They asked me if I was comfortable with them doing some pre-fight media, really pumping up the historical aspect, of me, as a woman, calling the whole card. At first I was a bit unsure.
But, actually my husband really encouraged me and said, ‘this is what it’s all about, this is what you want, embrace the challenge, you are ready and you are going to do it’. So, then I was like, ‘yeah, lets go for it’, it was exciting. On fight night I went on and did my best and I think I did pretty well. I did the entire undercard and then the main event fights for the international feed while Joe (Tessatore) and Andre (Ward) did the domestic feed.
It was a long night but a great night but I was up for the challenge. I worked the show with (former world champion) Chris Algieri. After the event it sunk in a little bit in terms of the significance of the assignment historically but at the time I was just in the moment working. I mean when you do the undercard fights and work the main event you are looking at about 6 or 6 ½ of on-air time, it’s a long night. It’s a great night, but a long night.
BT: Social media sure lit up the next morning with some very favourable reviews for your debut gig in the lead blow-by-blow role. Some pretty heavy names at Top Rank and ESPN – Brad Jacobs, Joe Tessitore, Andre Ward, among others – had some nice things to say about you and the job you did.
CP: Getting validation from guys likes Brad, Tess and Andre means a lot because I have so much respect for them. And, it was a compliment that Top Rank had faith in me and the belief in me that I could deliver for them in a groundbreaking role. I was very thankful to Top Rank for believing in me and giving me a shot. But, yeah, I think it went well. There will always be critics but I just prepare and do the best job I can and try to deliver, learn, and get better and better every show.
BT: Obviously, I’m assuming you’d love more main events. Is this something that might become more regular? Has that been discussed after the success of your Costa Mesa debut?
CP: No, it wasn’t discussed as something moving forward but things are often on a show-by-show basis as the blow-by-blow role can change depending on where we are. Well, actually I am going to be working the main event again this weekend in Philadelphia as unfortunately Bruce Beck had to bow out so I have been tapped to work the undercard and main event again.
BT: That’s great and obviously a compliment to how you did the first time in the main event slot. Do you feel like you have been handed the flag to lead the charge for female play-by-play announcers ringside? You did too good a job, you’ve got it whether you want it or not (laughing).
CP: (Laughs). Well, I just embraced the opportunity and went with it. I love a challenge and relish the opportunity to prove I can do something. I work hard and I prepare and I want to deliver to the people around me who believe in me and have given me these great opportunities.
BT: Working with Bob Arum over the years must be a thrill, he is truly a legend. I love his enthusiasm for the fight game after all these years.
CP: Oh my gosh Bill, getting to work with Bob is incredible. I have spent so much time with him and he is just an amazing man. He absolutely loves what he does and it keeps him young. Never mind the deals and interviews and press conferences, the schedule he keeps is a tough physical grind as well; the travel, the airports, moving around, everything. But, he loves what he does and it shows in his enthusiasm and work ethic, which is just second to none. He really is an amazing man.
BT: You and BoMac (trainer and part-time commentator Brian MacIntyre) have great on-air chemistry. I really like his casual, but very informative, style.
CP: Working with BoMac is great. We have done a lot of shows together. He is a great fit because he works with so many fighters so he brings so much perspective from the role as a coach and manager. He brings a very real perspective – he’s been in the gym, the ring, training, everything there is. He is very good at what he does and he takes it very seriously. He has a great sense of humour and he is a lot of fun to work with. He really saw the late Emanuel Steward, who like BoMac did lots of commentating along with training fighters, as a role model in many ways for what he would like to do. BoMac is a real character and brings a great enthusiasm to the broadcasts. I love his enthusiasm.
BT: I’m sure you’ve had a few but can you think of a ‘Wow’ moment that stands out?
CP: Exactly, I’ve just had so many that it’s hard to pick one. Oh my goodness, trying to pick one thing that jumps out at me is hard, I have so many amazing moments when I think back. I do remember when I was hosting a media workout in Times Square in New York and the huge image of me interviewing and hosting was up on the giant Nasdaq board overlooking Times Square and all the people were looking up at it and watching me working and I thought for a second, ‘Yeah, this is pretty cool’ (laughs).
BT: I won’t ask for your favourite fighter but is there any fight, or journey with a fighter, that you have been part of that stands out?
CP: Again, there have been so many amazing moments in the last decade that it is hard to just pick one. A lot of really amazing memories really flood back. I remember Ray Beltran and I crying together in his dressing room after he won his title (laughs). I had some amazing memories with Manny (Pacquiao), Top Rank had such a great run with him and such great fights with him. But, Manny was already Manny when I came into the picture so it wasn’t like I was there from the beginning.
But, one guy that does stand out is Bud Crawford. I remember years ago when he took the fight with Breidis Prescott, he had been shot in the head before and didn’t know if he was going to be able to box again, his manager was so nervous about the fight. Bud being Bud was like, ‘I got this’, and he wins that fight. He is from Omaha, Nebraska, not exactly a hotbed of boxing at that time. He goes into the champions (Ricky Burns) backyard to win the title.
Now, long story short, he has gone on to win multiple world titles, he is considered the best fighter in the world, and you know, just where he came from, his self-belief and determination, to see what a role model he is now. To have been part of that whole journey and to see it right from the beginning has been amazing. People don’t realize where that guy came from and what he had to go through to put himself where he is today; he is an amazing story.
BT: Boxing’s popularity has its peaks and valleys but the sport just seems so healthy right now, the audiences are growing all the time and there are just more and more platforms to see the fighters; an exciting time.
CP: Yes, it is. I’m busy and loving what I do and get to work with a great team. But, I always believe that it’s just God’s plan anyway; I’m just blessed to get the opportunity to fulfill what was put out there for me.
BT: Thanks for the chat Crystina, let’s do this again down the road.
CP: Absolutely Bill, would love to anytime. Thank you.