GWENT'S WBO super-middleweight champion Joe Calzaghe today welcomed the news that his future world title fights will be shown live on terrestrial television.

Promoter Frank Warren yesterday announced he had concluded a deal with ITV to bring big-time boxing back to mainstream TV.

ITV will broadcast 20 Sports Network shows a year featuring the best talent in British and world boxing, including the unbeaten Calzaghe, IBF world light-welterweight champion Ricky Hatton and WBO featherweight champion Scott Harrison.

The first show to be televised in the deal will be the highly anticipated professional debut of Olympic silver medallist Amir Khan who features on the undercard of Matt Skelton's British heavyweight title defence ag ainst Danny Williams at the Bolton Arena on Saturday, July 16.

Calzaghe's last world title defence against Mario Veit in Germany was not shown live on any TV channel in Britain with just the final round subsequently shown on ITV.

The Newbridge southpaw told the Argus, "that was very disappointing and it's exciting news that boxing fans all over Britain will have the chance to see me and others live on terrestrial TV. Boxing deserves to be a mainstream sport once again

"When Chris Eubank, Nigel Benn, Frank Bruno and others had their fights shown live on TV they attracted 8-9m audiences and it would be great to achieve that again.

"I've often felt I haven't gained the recognition I deserve and if this gives me the chance to put that right then I'll be delighted."

For Warren, who has promoted in excess of 200 world title fights, this is a return to ITV where Benn, Bruno and Naseem Hamed's fights were in 1995's top five sports programmes.

He said, "I am delighted to rejoin ITV where I spent 14 happy years when the station was known as home of British boxing. I then spent 10 great years with Sky Sports and developed Ricky Hatton through satellite television when many people said it could not be done.

"We saw the huge potential of boxing on ITV when we promoted the Amir Khan-Mario Kindelan rematch in May and it delivered fantastic TV ratings - to the tune of 6.3m viewers. Just imagine what kind of figures exciting fighters like Calzaghe and Hatton will pull in."