Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Evgeny Gradovich upsets Billy Dib for IBF Featherweight Title

Australia’s Billy Dib may want to think twice about boxing in America as he’s now 0-2 in the U.S. The former IBF Featherweight Champion lost his second bout in the States as well as his title belt on Mar. 1 when he dropped a split decision to unbeaten Evgeny Gradovich of Russia at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Both men had their moments during the 12 rounds and the closeness of the fight showed on the judges’ scorecards as they had it 114-112 and 114-112 for Gradovich and 114-112 for Dib. Both fighters had a point deducted in the eighth round by referee Eddie Claudio as they were holding each other. Dib’s face was bloody and battered after the fight while Gradovich looked to be in a bit better shape.

The win was considered a bit of an upset since the challenger only had four week’s notice to prepare for the contest. Dib was originally supposed to meet Luis Franco, a former Cuban Olympian, but he pulled out of the title fight due to a disagreement over his purse. He may now be regretting that decision since Dib had an off night.

Dib is promoted by Curtis Jackson, who’s better known as 50 Cent, and he led Dib into the ring with one of his raps. The 27-year-old Dib seemed to be motivated by the ring entrance and he got off to a decent start. Gradovich was relentless though and kept pressing the attack. He also landed the harder, cleaner blows in the rough and tumble affair.

After the bout Dib had to get several cuts sewn up in hospital, but he said he wasn’t worried about his bleeding eye and scalp, he was upset that he had lost his title. He said he lost the fight because he strayed away from his game plan, which was to outbox the 26-year-old Gradovich. Instead, he got enticed into a brawl and paid for it dearly with his blood and championship belt.

Dib last fought in the U.S. back in 2008 when he was beaten by Steve Luevano of California in another title tilt. Luevano was trained by Roberto Garcia for that bout and Garcia also trained Gradovich for this fight.

Dib figured that a win over the unbeaten Gradovich on national television would be a great way to kick start his career in the States. The first part of the plan fell through, but Dib probably did gain some fans and make a bit of a name for himself since it was an exciting fight.

Both fighters showed that they had pretty solid chins and can take a punch, but Dib’s tendency to cut certainly didn’t help him. With the win, Gradovich raised his pro record to 16-0 with 8 Kos while Dib’s mark fell to 35-2 with 21 Kos. Dib said he’ll be back in the ring soon, but it’s hard to say if he’ll be fighting in America again anytime soon or against an opponent trained by Garcia.

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