Gradovich beats Dib

Evgeny Gradovich bests Billy Dib in bloody scrap at Foxwoods

By Alex Pierpaoli

Originally published on 3/4/13

Featherweight Evgeny “The Mexican-Russian” Gradovich defeated Australian Billy Dib in a bruising and bloody 12 round split decision at Foxwoods MGM Grand Casino last night. The IBF Title bout was co-promoted by Lou DiBella and rapper/actor/mogul Fifty-Cent and was featured on ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights.

Fighting out of Oxnard, CA, and scaling 125, Gradovich is trained by Robert Garcia and was taking the bout versus Dib on short notice. Billy Dib, of New South Wales, Australia, also 125 lbs, won the first two rounds with several jolting jabs and straight rights, coupled with clever movement.

In the third Gradovich began timing Dib’s punches and he struck the Australian with several hard blows forcing Dib to try to get closer and work inside. In the fourth Gradovich started to control the distance and was succeeding in walking Dib down behind a solid jab.

In the fifth the blood really began to flow after The Mexican-Russian landed a hard left hook along with a head-butt or an elbow which caused Dib to stumble backwards, a grisly wound visible in the left side of his head just over the ear. By the end of the round both fighters were awash in the red stuff.

Despite being awfully grisly to look at and bleeding quite a lot, the gash in the side of Dib’s head never obstructed the vision of the Australian or affected the bout. But the referee may have when in round eight he took a point from Evgeny Gradovich for excessive holding and then a few seconds later took a point from Dib for the same infraction.

As the rounds wore on Gradovich continued landing heavier, more damaging blows while the gritty and determined Dib refused to give any quarter. After twelve rounds were complete it seemed the scorecards would reveal a decisive win for Gradovich but somehow Judge Don Ackerman scored the fight in favor of Billy Dib, 114-112. Thankfully he was overruled by Judges Don Trella and Glen Feldman who had the same scores the other way for Gradovich.

With the win, Evgeny Gradovich remains unbeaten at 16-0 (8) while Billy Dib drops to 35-2 (21) and is clearly going to need stitches.

In the co-featured attraction, the six foot three inch giant of a junior middleweight Willie Nelson, of Cleveland, OH, scored a first round technical knockout over Michael Medina, of Los Angeles, CA.

At the start of the round Medina went right to work on the body of Nelson while the taller fighter fired all of his blasts to the head. About halfway through the stanza, with Nelson’s back along the ropes, he fired a left uppercut followed by a powerful overhand right that Medina never saw that put him down hard. Ref. Arthur Mercante Jr. allowed the bout to continue and Nelson made the most of things, winging a right then a left and putting Medina down in a heap which prompted Mercante to halt the bout.

But ESPN’s replay on the arena’s big screens showed that Medina went down more from a badly damaged knee or ankle and not so much the final two blows of Nelson. The first knockdown was an impressive one scored off a big Nelson right and although Medina was stunned he should certainly not be dismissed. The TKO was clearly caused more by injury than the concussive effect of punches. It goes down as a stoppage win for Nelson whose patience and an economy of hard accurate shots prevailed in the 2:00 we saw of him.

Willie Nelson improved to 20-1-1 (12) and Michael Medina dropped to 26-4-2 (19).

Junior welterweight, and promoter Fifty Cent protégé, Luis Olivares, of Glendale AZ, debuted as a pro versus Rafael Munoz, of Houston TX, in the first televised bout of the card.

Rafael Munoz came out fast, throwing quick combinations at an excited pace, probably working out the jitters from a lay-off of nearly two years. Then, with a little over a minute gone in the fight, Luis Olivera fired a quick left as Munoz swung at him from too far away. Olivera’s shot got to the target first and put Munoz down. Rising from the knockdown, Munoz was allowed to continue but Olivera was all over him, firing a fusillade of blows which included three hard left hooks that did all the hurting, putting Munoz down for a second time and prompting ref Johnny callas to halt the bout at 1:38 of round number one.

Luis Olivares notched a first round TKO in his televised pro-debut and Rafael Munoz dropped to 1-2.

Welterweight Jimmy Williams of New Haven, CT scored a workman-like victory over Raynard Younger of Alpharetta, GA. At the end of four rounds the three judges all saw it the same way, 40-36, in favor of Williams, now 2-0 (1), while Raynard Younger fell to 0-2.

At 0-3, female junior featherweight Mikayla Nebel looks as beatable on paper as she does in person; she’s slightly though sturdily built and looks far more pubescent than adult. But looks don’t win fights as the saying goes and Nebel, of Columbus, OH, is far more talented than her record, showing nice counters, a shoulder roll defense and a hard busy jab versus Shelito Vincent, of Providence, RI.

Starting fast, the aggressive, pressuring Vincent went after the guts of Nebel in round one scoring often to the body. In rounds two and three, Vincent kept her foot on the gas, landing heavier and more frequently while Nebel looked for spots to counter and covered up. In the final frame of the scheduled four-rounder, Nebel went to work behind a well-timed snappy jab that surprised Vincent and blunted the wave of pressure that has become known as Shelito’s Way. By the end of the round the tone of the bout had changed significantly but it was too late to matter.

But the ringside officials didn’t seem to notice the change and all three scored the bout a shutout at 40-36 for Vincent. Had it been scheduled for six rounds though, things would have surely gotten interesting.

In victory, Shelito Vincent improved to 8-0 while Mikayla Nebel dropped to a deceiving 0-4.

Featherweight, Luis Rosa of New Haven, CT bested Jhovany Collado of Jamaica, NY over the 8 round distance in the second bout of the card.

Scoring a knockdown in round one, Rosa is a two-fisted power-puncher whose defense has looked a lot tighter than it did in this instance. Perhaps eager to get things finished early, Rosa squared up and slugged the remainder of the bout and Collado connected often with numerous bolts of his own, though never enough to swing a round in his favor.

When they finished all 3 judges agreed on a shutout, 80-71, for Luis Rosa who improved to 13-0 (6) as Jhovany Collado fell to 4-7-2 (1)

Junior lightweight Ryan “The Polish Prince” Kielczweski of Quincy, MA, outboxed Gil Garcia, of Houston TX over 8 rounds in the night’s opener. Kielczweski scored with heavier blows behind a hard, educated jab throughout but was never able to stun or stagger Garcia. At the end one judge did see Garcia do enough to win a round but the scores were all in The Polish Prince’s favor at 79-73 and 80-72 x 2.

Ryan Kielczweski improved to 16-0 (3) in picking up the win while Garcia heads West for home at 5-4-1 (1).

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