MASHANTUCKET, Conn. - Former IBF featherweight champion Billy "The Kid" Dib (36-3, 21 KOs) returns Wednesday, July 2 to the scene of arguably the most disappointing night of his professional career for a 10-round co-feature bout against former WBA featherweight title challenger Alberto "Kichis" Garza (26-7-1, 21 KOs). Dib's promoter, 50 Cent's SMS Promotions, will present a special edition of ESPN Friday Night Fights at Grand Theater in Fox Tower at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
In 2013, Dib lost his International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight title belt at Foxwoods by way of a 12-round split decision (114-112, 112-114, 112-114) to undefeated Evgeny Gradovich. Dib also lost a rematch to Gradovich last November and the Australian has moved up one weight class to junior lightweight for his fight with Garza.
"I'm grateful for fighting again at a beautiful venue like Foxwoods," Dib said. "I have no demons (fighting there). I am blessed for what I already achieved and hungry to achieve more. I am also grateful for the opportunity ESPN and my promoter have given me. 50 creates opportunities. I have had all four of my fights shown on U.S. television and also shown live in my home country, Australia. 50 is a really smart guy that surrounds himself with really good people that help run his business. Some really fine examples of that is Monique Mayers, Angel Martinez and Sean Gibbons who make sure I'm always looked after. I am very grateful to them and the whole SMS team."
Moving up in weight at the age of 28 is typical for fighters. "I have been making featherweight for the past 10 years and felt that I was losing some power due to slight struggles making weight," Dib explained. "I feel stronger now and I am excited about attempting to win another world time in different division. That's definitely my goal. I have done it before and know what it takes. I can't put a time frame on it. I will be patient and work hard to achieve another world title, God willing."
Garza is a 28-year-old Mexican boxer who lost his only world title shot to World Boxing Association (WBA) featherweight champion Nicholas Walters by fourth-round technical knockout in 2013. Garza has held the World Boxing Council (WBC) and Silver Continental Americas titles, as well as the IBF Latino championship during his 11-year pro career.
"I know Garza has the Mexican heart that you can never underestimate," Dib added. "He is very experienced, fought and won titles, and is dangerous. But I will be ready!"
In the 12-round main event, undefeated 50 Cent-promoted junior lightweight Mark "Too Sharp" Davis (18-0, 5 KOs), fighting out of Cleveland, faces Filipino knockout specialist Michael "Hammer Fist" Farenas (38-4-4, 30 KOs) in an IBF (IBF) title eliminator. The winner will become the mandatory challenger for the winner of the July 10 title match between IBF junior lightweight champion Argenis Mendez and challenger Rances Barthelemy.
Undefeated SMS Promotions lightweight prospect Ryan "Blue Chip" Martin (6-0, 3 KOs), fighting out of Cleveland, takes on Albuquerque's Matthew "Champ" Baca (4-1-1, 2 KOs) in the four-round ESPN opener.
Former S. Connecticut State University football player and current Connecticut State junior middleweight champion, New Haven's unbeaten Jimmy Williams (6-0, 3 KOs), faces Bronx veteran Stephen Owusu (8-6, 4 KOs) in a six-round fight of local interest.
Undefeated WIBA International super bantamweight champion Shelly "Shelito's Way" Vincent (11-0, 1 KO), of Providence, and former IWBF bantamweight titlist Nadia "Da Phenomenal" Feliciano (7-5-3, 0 KOs), fighting out of the Bronx, square off a six-round, non-title bout.
Also scheduled to fight on the undercard is undefeated Nick DeLomba (3-0), of Cranston, RI versus New Haven (CT) welterweight Edwin Soto (9-1-2, 4 KOs) in a four-round match.
All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Tickets are priced at $100.00, $75.00 and $45.00 and are on sale online at www.foxwoods.com, calling Foxwoods' box office at (800) 200-2882, or in person at Foxwoods' box office. Tickets will also be available to purchase through any Ticketmaster outlet and online at www.ticketmaster.com.
Doors at Grand Theater in Fox Tower will open at 6 p.m. ET. The first bout will start at 7 p.m. ET with ESPN FNF between 9-11 p.m. ET.
Doors to the after party will open at 10:00 p.m. ET. Tickets may also be purchased online at www.foxwoods.com, calling Foxwoods' box office at (800) 200-2882, or in person at Foxwoods' box office.
Tags: Billy Dib