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50 Cent Will Perform on “Friday Night Fights”

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Featherweight Titlist Billy Dib – Promoted by Entertainer 50 Cent – to Defend Title Against Evgeny Gradovich on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights

50 Cent to Visit ESPN Thursday, Appear on TV & Radio Shows

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.

Main Event:
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.”

Co-Feature:
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.

 

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2015 Fight of the Year – Francisco Vargas vs Takashi Miura

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The WBC World Super Featherweight title bout between Francisco Vargas and Takashi Miura came on one of the biggest boxing stages of 2015, as the bout served as the HBO pay-per-view’s co-main event on November 21st, in support of Miguel Cotto vs Saul Alvarez.

Miura entered the fight with a (29-2-2) record and he was making the fifth defense of his world title, while Vargas entered the fight with an undefeated mark of (22-0-1) in what was his first world title fight. Both men had a reputation for all-out fighting, with Miura especially earning high praise for his title defense in Mexico where he defeated Sergio Thompson in a fiercely contested battle.

The fight started out hotly contested, and the intensity never let up. Vargas seemed to win the first two rounds, but by the fourth round, Miura seemed to pull ahead, scoring a knock-down and fighting with a lot of confidence. After brawling the first four rounds, Miura appeared to settle into a more technical approach. Rounds 5 and 6 saw the pendulum swing back towards Vargas, as he withstood Miura’s rush to open the fifth round and the sixth round saw both men exchanging hard punches.

The big swinging continued, and though Vargas likely edged Miura in rounds 5 and 6, Vargas’ face was cut in at least two spots and Miura started to assert himself again in rounds 7 and 8. Miura was beginning to grow in confidence while it appeared that Vargas was beginning to slow down, and Miura appeared to hurt Vargas at the end of the 8th round.

Vargas turned the tide again at the start of the ninth round, scoring a knock down with an uppercut and a straight right hand that took Miura’s legs and sent him to the canvas. Purely on instinct, Miura got back up and continued to fight, but Vargas was landing frequently and with force. Referee Tony Weeks stepped in to stop the fight at the halfway point of round 9 as Miura was sustaining a barrage of punches.

Miura still had a minute and a half to survive if he was going to get out of the round, and it was clear that he was not going to stop fighting.

A back and forth battle of wills between two world championship level fighters, Takashi Miura versus “El Bandido” Vargas wins the 2015 Fight of the Year.

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Jan 9 in Germany – Feigenbutz and De Carolis To Settle Score

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This coming Saturday, January 9th, the stage is set at the Baden Arena in Offenburg, Germany for a re-match between Vincent Feigenbutz and Giovanni De Carolis. The highly anticipated re-match is set to air on SAT.1 in Germany, and Feigenbutz will once again be defending his GBU and interim WBA World titles at Super Middleweight.

The first meeting between the two was less than three months ago, on October 17th and that meeting saw Feigenbutz controversially edge De Carolis on the judge’s cards by scores of (115-113, 114-113 and 115-113). De Carolis scored a flash knock down in the opening round, and he appeared to outbox Feigenbutz in the early going, but the 20 year old German champion came on in the later rounds.

The first bout is described as one of the most crowd-pleasing bouts of the year in Germany, and De Carolis and many observers felt that the Italian had done enough to win.

De Carolis told German language website RAN.DE that he was more prepared for the re-match, and that due to the arrogance Feigenbutz displayed in the aftermath of the first fight, he was confident that he had won over some of the audience. Though De Carolis fell short of predicting victory, he promised a re-vamped strategy tailored to what he has learned about Feigenbutz, whom he termed immature and inexperienced.

The stage is set for Feigenbutz vs De Carolis 2, this Saturday January 9th in Offenburg, Germany. If you can get to the live event do it, if not you have SAT.1 in Germany airing the fights, and The Boxing Channel right back here for full results.

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2015 Knock Out of the Year – Saul Alvarez KO’s James Kirkland

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On May 9th of 2015, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez delivered a resonant knock-out of James Kirkland on HBO that wins the 2015 KO of the Year.

The knock-out itself came in the third round, after slightly more than two minutes of action. The end came when Alvarez delivered a single, big right hand that caught Kirkland on the jaw and left him flat on his back after spinning to the canvas.Alvarez was clearly the big star heading into the fight. The fight was telecast by HBO for free just one week after the controversial and disappointing Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight, and Alvarez was under pressure to deliver the type of finish that people were going to talk about. Kirkland was happy to oblige Alvarez, taking it right to Alvarez from the start. Kirkland’s aggression saw him appear to land blows that troubled the young Mexican in the early going. Alvarez played good defense, and he floored Kirkland in the first round, displaying his power and his technique in knocking down an aggressive opponent.

However, Kirkland kept coming at Alvarez and the fight entered the third round with both men working hard and the feeling that the fight would not go the distance. Kirkland continued to move forward, keeping “Canelo” against the ropes and scoring points with a barrage of punches while looking for an opening.

At around the two minute mark, Alvarez landed an uppercut that sent Kirkland to the canvas again. Kirkland got up, but it was clear that he did not have his legs under him. Kirkland was going to try to survive the round, but Alvarez had an opportunity to close out the fight. The question was would he take it?

Alvarez closed in on Kirkland, putting his opponent’s back to the ropes. Kirkland was hurt, but he was still dangerous, pawing with punches and loading up for one big shot.

But it was the big shot “Canelo” threw that ended the night. Kirkland never saw it coming, as he was loading up with a huge right hand of his own. The right Alvarez threw cracked Kirkland in the jaw, and his eyes went blank. His big right hand whizzed harmlessly over the head of a ducking Alvarez, providing the momentum for the spin that left Kirkland prone on the canvas.

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez went on to defeat Miguel Cotto in his second fight of 2015 and he is clearly one of boxing’s biggest stars heading into 2016. On May 9th Alvarez added another reel to his highlight film when he knocked out James Kirkland with the 2015 “Knock Out of the Year”.

Photo by naoki fukuda

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