New York—Here's the latest "Big Bang" theory: Just win, baby! “Fight Week” has finally arrived for "Big Bang" Zhang Zhilei, as the Chinese heavyweight Olympic Silver-Medalist makes his professional debut on August 8. DiBella Entertainment and Dynasty Boxing, in association with Rumble Time Promotions, head to Fallon, NV, to host ESPN Friday Night Fights/ ESPN Deportes' Noche de Combates.
The 6-foot-6 southpaw will open the card in a four-round heavyweight special attraction against Curtis Lee Tate of Tennessee, a knockout artist with six KO’s to go along with his 7-4 ring record. ESPN will begin live coverage at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN.
For Zhilei’s promoter, Dynasty president Dino Duva, it is the culmination of a five-year journey. "We've all been waiting a long time for this moment, for Zhilei's first pro fight,” says Duva. “I've been waiting almost 5 years! This may very well be the first fight for a very historic boxer’s career – his goal is to be the first Chinese world heavyweight champion. I feel he has the potential, but it's going to be a learning process that will take much hard work and dedication from Zhilei" Duva and his heavyweight depart for Nevada on Tuesday.
Headlining the card will be top-rated junior middleweight contender Willie Nelson (22-1-1, 13KO's) taking on the hard-hitting and dangerous Mexican Luis Grajeda (17-2-2, 13KO's) in the 10-round main event. In the co-feature, fast-rising 18-year-old phenom Norbert Nemesapati (14-0, 13KO's) will be looking make a splash in his US debut when he faces fellow unbeaten Lennox Allen (17-0-1, 10KO's) in an eight-round super middleweight matchup.
"On behalf of Dynasty Boxing, we are happy to be working with DiBella Entertainment and ESPN, and extremely grateful for them giving Zhang Zhilei the opportunity to showcase his professional debut on ESPN," said Dino Duva, President of Dynasty Boxing, promoter of Zhang.
Says Zhang Zhilei: “I’ve trained very hard for this fight. Everything has been going smoothly getting ready for this moment. I stick to the training schedule and stay disciplined.
“I’m extremely excited about my first professional fight,” adds the "Big Bang". “It’s an important fight and I’m looking forward to it. As everybody knows, ESPN is biggest sports TV network in the world with hundreds of millions of viewers. And Friday Night Fights is an important part of ESPN shows. I never thought that my first fight would be broadcast on ESPN. I’m very thankful and will perform my best.”
“Opening up the card, you have Zhilei, a silver medalist who many believe has the ability to be a future star in the heavyweight division,“said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment. “This is a big event for the people of Fallon and we are excited to be a part of it."
"From top to bottom, this is a terrific event, featuring up-and-coming local talent in exciting fights on the undercard and three intriguing televised bouts on ESPN,” added DiBella. “Willie Nelson is knocking on the door to a world title opportunity and an impressive performance against the hard-punching Grajeda moves him in that direction.”
"The Fallon Fights: The Rural Rumble is one of Fallon's premier special events, drawing visitors from northern Nevada and California," tourism director Rick Gray said.
"Fallon welcomes ESPN's Friday Night Fights. We have worked hard to put on a top-notch event that would draw the attention of the network," Fallon tourism director Rick Gray said.
"The fights are a labor of love. All of the City's departments worked together to support the production of the event," Fallon Mayor, Ken Tedford, said.