On April 27, undefeated Light Heavyweight contenders Ismayl Sillakh (17-0, 14 KOs, ESPN.com No. 9, The Ring No. 10) and Denis “The Pirate” Grachev (11-0-1, 7 KOs) will meet in the 10-round main event on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra. Friday’s show will air at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN2 HD, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN3 from Austin, Texas. The card is presented by Square Ring Promotions.
Friday Night Fights studio host Bernardo Osuna, filling in for Joe Tessitore, will be ringside with Teddy Atlas at the Frank Erwin Center describing the action. Todd Grisham, an anchor for ESPNEWS’ Highlight Express, MMA Live and SportsCenter, will fill in as studio host on ESPN2. On ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates (Friday Night Fights), Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will call the fights with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in the studio.
Grisham will discuss the May 5 Floyd Mayweather-Miguel Cotto bout, including fighter interviews by Osuna, and Saturday’s Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson Light Heavyweight rematch.
Sillakh of California has won his last two fights by knockout. A victory Friday, will position him to fight the winner of the Hopkins-Dawson rematch. In March 2011, Sillakh won a 10-round decision against previously undefeated 2004 Cuban Olympian Yordanis Despaigne on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
“When you watch Ismayl float through the ring, you just can’t help but be reminded of Muhammad Ali – he floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee, too,” Sillakh’s manager Ivaylo Gotsev said. “He’s like this reincarnation of these old fighters that were so pretty to watch and had the passion for it. He loves what he’s doing and has an incredible passion for this sport.”
California’s Grachev, a former professional kick boxer, has won his last three fights, two against previously undefeated fighters. Grachev said of Friday’s fight, “I know a lot about Sillakh. He’s a good, good fighter – strong, big amateur background. He’s very good in his pro career, but I’m going to break him.”
Undefeated Junior Lightweights Yaundale “Money Shot” Evans (16-0, 12 KOs) and Javier “El Abejon” Fortuna (18-0, 13 KOs) will meet in the 10-round co-feature. Evans, of Cleveland, is coming off a third-round TKO win over Andres Ledesma, while Fortuna of California won a 10-round unanimous decision over Miguel Roman in his last fight.