By Adrian Warren
The head of unbeaten Russian challenger Evgeny Gradovich is IBF featherweight boxing world champion Billy Dib's next target, but he's also aiming to set up a bigger bout by winning his first American contest in four-and-a-half years.
Dib (35-1, 21 KOs), will make the third defence of his title on Saturday afternoon (AEDT) when he fights Gradovich (15-0, 8 KOs) in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
The bout headlines a card on the ESPN network, which will beam the bout live to Australia, and also gives 27-year-old Dib invaluable exposure in the United States.
Dib said he felt calm and wasn't nervous about the opportunity.
While not looking past 26-year-old Gradovich, Dib viewed this weekend's contest as a potential stepping stone to a bout with one of the sport's bigger names.
"I'm not underestimating Gradovich. But hopefully once I do the business against Evgeny, we can look to the big fights - maybe possibly against (WBA featherweight Super champion) Chris John," the Australian told AAP by phone from Connecticut.
"Maybe even (WBO junior featherweight world champion) Nonito Donaire, or anyone else who is willing to step up to the plate and challenge for the world title.
"I know I've won the world title, but I'm yet to reap the rewards of being a world champion.
"So I'm hungry for the success and I'm hungry for the accolades that come with it."
Dib said he was a little bit taller than Gradovich after meeting him at the pre-fight media conference.
"He's got a much bigger head - I think it's a good target," Dib quipped.
Gradovich hasn't had the big-fight experience of Dib, but is renowned for being a pressure fighter.
"There will definitely be times where I've got to go toe to toe. There will definitely be times where I've got to box. There will definitely be times I've got to counter," Dib said.
"Just look for me to bring out a lot of arrows.
"I'm going to be mixing it up - a lot of different angles and styles."
Dib headlines the first show put out by SMS Promotions, the company of his manager and renowned rapper 50 Cent.Tags: Billy Dib , Evgeny Gradovich , Dib-Gradovich , Dib vs Gradovich
"He'll be walking me into the ring and he'll be performing a song," Dib said.