The March 1 edition of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights presented by Corona Extra will feature an IBF Title fight between Featherweight titlist Billy “The Kid” Dib (35-1, 1 NC, 21 KOs; The Ring Magazine’s No. 4, ESPN.com No.8 ranked Featherweight) and undefeated challenger Evgeny “The Mexican Russian” Gradovich (15-0, 8 KOs) in the 12-round main event. Friday’s show from the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Conn., will air live at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2 HD, and will be available online through WatchESPN.com and on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app. The card will also air live on ESPN Deportes+, the new digital extension of ESPN Deportes, and will air tape delayed on ESPN Deportes Saturday morning at 3 a.m. The card is co-promoted by DiBella Entertainment and SMS Promotions, owned by multiplatinum recording artist and entrepreneur 50 Cent.
Joe Tessitore and Teddy Atlas will be ringside describing the action for ESPN2 HD, while studio host Todd Grisham (@GrishamESPN) will be on site presenting the latest boxing news and highlights. Alex Pombo and Delvin Rodriguez will call this week’s fights for ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates (Friday Night Fights) with Leopoldo Gonzalez and Pablo Viruega in the studio. Bilingual reporter Bernardo Osuna (@osunaespn) will present live interviews and reports for both shows.
50 Cent, who promotes Dib, will be at ESPN’s headquarters on Thursday, February 28, for an ESPN “Car Wash” to discuss Friday’s main event on ESPN TV and radio shows. On Friday, he will be at Foxwoods performing a walk out song prior to the main event. He will also be the sparring partner in Friday’s “Fight Plan” segment with Atlas, in which Atlas and a sparring partner outline what each fighter needs to do to win.
Australia’s Dib won a 10-round unanimous decision in a non-title fight over Juan Rodriguez in his last fight. Prior to that, he defended his title for the second time with a sixth–round TKO win over Eduardo Escobedo.
“I am really excited to be headlining against the ‘Mexican Russian,’” Dib said. “It is going to be an all-out punch up. The fans can definitely expect to see a great fight on March 1st.”
Gradovich, a native of Russia, is trained by 2012 Boxing Writers Association of America (BWAA) “Trainer of the Year” Robert Garcia. Gradovich scored a seventh-round TKO win over William Villanueva in his last fight.
“Becoming a world champion has been a life-long dream of mine, and on March 1, I will finally have that chance,” Gradovich said. “This is going to be a very special night for me, as not only am I fighting for my first world title, but the entire country will have the opportunity to watch it. I am already in great shape and I am going to show the world what I am capable of come March 1.”
Friday’s 10-round co-feature will pit Junior Middleweight titlist Willie “The Great” Nelson (19-1-1, 11 KOs) against former Junior Middleweight titlist Michael Medina (26-3-2 19 KOs). Nelson is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision win over previously undefeated 2008 Olympian John Jackson, while Medina is looking to build momentum after an eight-round unanimous decision win over James Winchester.
Follow ESPN’s Friday Night Fights on Twitter @ESPNFNF or like it on Facebook. Follow ESPN Deportes’ Viernes de Combates on Twitter @ESPNBoxeo. Also score the fights round-by-round with the “Live Friday Night Fights Facebook Voting App,” an application on the ESPN FNF Facebook page that allows viewers to score the fight round-by-round.