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Boxer Dib determined to take US chance
Adrian Warren
13:55 AEST Wed Feb 20 2013

IBF featherweight world champion Billy Dib is determined to capitalise on a huge opportunity headlining an American fight card and parlay it into even bigger bouts.

Dib (35-1, 21 KOs) flew out from Sydney on Wednesday to make his third title defence against 11th-ranked IBF contender Evgeny Gradovich (15-0, 8 KOs) at the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut on March 1.

It will be Dib's first title defence in a year, though he did have a non-title contest last July.

More significantly, it will be the 27-year-old Sydneysider's first fight in the US for four-and-a-half years since his points loss to then-WBO featherweight champion Steve Luevano.

"It's huge. Not only am I going to fight in America on ESPN, but I'm headlining the card, which is humungous," Dib told AAP.

"They are talking about the event going to over 100 million homes, so that's a phenomenal number and I'm just glad that I'm getting my opportunity."

A victory and good performance could boost Dib's career into the boxing stratosphere, with a potential title unification bout mooted.

"That's the aim and that's the goal," Dib said.

Russian-born Gradovich, 26, who has had all of his fights in the US and is based in North Carolina, was a late replacement for Cuban Luis Franco.

Dib wasn't fussed by the change of opponent or styles.

"It doesn't really have an effect on me. I'm a professional," Dib said.

"I think Franco was a little bit smarter. This bloke throws a lot more punches. He's a little bit more reckless.

"I guess with Franco I was going to be dealing with ring smarts.

"With this guy I'm going to be dealing with a guy that brings a lot of pressure and non-stop punching."

Dib will be headlining the first card to be promoted by American rapper 50 Cent and expects something very different to a standard boxing show.

"50 Cent is going to bring excitement. Not only is he bringing boxing but he is bringing the entertainment world into the sport, which is one of the reasons why I've signed to him," Dib said.


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