One of Australia's top fighters is back in action tonight as IBF featherweight king Billy Dib meets the challenge posed by Evgeny Gradovich at Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, CT.
Dib, 35-1 (21), won the vacant IBF strap in 2011, outpointing Jorge Lacierva before going on to KO Alberto Servidei in one during a defense later that year. The 27 year old Sydney man retained his title twice more in 2012, stopping Eduardo Escobedo in six before posting a unanimous decision over Juan Antonio Rodriguez.
Tonight's challenger Gradovich, 15-0 (8), continues the tradition of Dib facing rather obscure opponents since losing a WBO title clash to Steven Luevano in 2008, and it should be interesting to see, should Dib win this bout, just how long he can continue his reign without meeting world level opposition.
At any rate, Gradovich, born in Russia but having fought his entire career to date in America, has even a blander resume than Dib but that can be expected of a prospect just in his third year as a pro.
How Gradovich got the call to challenge for a world title probably has something to due with the IBF rankings, in which the 26 year old North Carolina resident is in the #11 slot.
Dib, a good boxer, should win this fight and with any luck at all, will be put in with recently deposed WBO king Orlando Salido, who occupies the #10 position in the IBF rankings.
That would be a very good test for Dib, who deserves the chance to fight top level opposition after being held back for so long.
The undercard at Foxwoods features an NABF light middleweight scrap between belt holder Willie Nelson, 19-1 (11), and former titlist Michael Medina, 26-3-2 (19).