By Chris Cella
This Friday live from the Foxwoods Resort in Connecticut, hosted by DiBella Entertainment and SMS Promotions, current IBF featherweight champion Billy “The Kid” Dib (35-1, 21 KO) will be putting his belt on the line against undefeated Russian prospect Evgeny Gradovich (15-0, 8 KO).
In addition to the action-packed matchups, rapper and founder of SMS Promotions—Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson will be performing live.
“We have an outstanding event coming up this Friday and I think it is important for everyone to know that we are not doing this event to make a ton of money,” said Lou DiBella. “We are doing this to give the public an opportunity to see a great event and also to give this great champion, Billy Dib, the exposure that he truly deserves here in the US.”
Dib has dominated the competition he has faced on his home turf in Australia, and has successfully defended his IBF title twice since winning it in 2011. The only blemish on his near perfect record is a unanimous decision loss against Steve Luevano in 2008, a fight held in Atlantic City. Fans and critics around the world will be watching to see how Dib holds up to fighting on the grand stage of FNF.
For challenger Gradovich, earning this title shot has been all about working hard and staying active within the ring. Turning pro in 2010, he has fought more than consistently, and has rolled through the competition standing in front of him.
Last year alone, Gradovich fought 4 times, and last March he devastated Francisco Leal so badly that he was taken to the hospital on a stretcher following the 10th round TKO.
“I want to thank everyone who was involved with this promotion. March 1st is going to be a great event,” said Dib.
“The whole team has worked very hard. This is my second coming. I am coming back here to America to showcase my ability. I am a completely different animal right now and you will see that Friday night.
“I know Gradovich is going to fight out of his skin, being this is his first world championship opportunity, so I can promise you that this is going to make for fireworks in this fight. We respect Gradovich; we know that he is ready, and these are the type of fights we want.”
The key in the past for Gradovich retaining his undefeated status has been his ability to come in and bring the fight to his opponents. Expect to see him not weary of coming forward and forcing Dib into exchanges.
About the chance to fight Dib for the title, Gradovich commented, “Thank you for this opportunity, I am very excited. I know that this is going to be a great fight. We trained very hard for this fight, and I know it is going to be a very good fight for everyone involved, especially the fans in attendance and those watching at home on ESPN.”
The action begins live on ESPN2 at 9 p.m tomorrow, March 1.