Gradovich Upsets Dib For Title

Updated: March 2, 2013

50 cent the rapper not only promoted IBF champion Billy Dib defense of his title against Evgeny Gradovich but he performed for Billy Dib’s walk into the ring.   Dib came into this fight with a reputation as rough and tough fighter who had been known to stretch rules and Gradovich came in as a replacement on short notice.  Gradovich started seeking out Dib and spent most of first round attacking.  Dibs managed to connect on a combination with thirty seconds only to be nailed by a Gradovich’s right ten seconds later.

Dib moved around the second round as he managed to connect on quick combination, set up by his jab as Gradovich simply moved in straight ahead without jabbing his way in. Throughout the fourth round, Gradovich managed to connect on some solid body shots as he managed to get inside Dibs, who began the round by staying on the outside.

At the beginning of the fifth round, a Gradovich left hook nailed Dib and staggered Dib.  Gradovich attacked Dib and forced him on the rope but Dib did manage to connect on solid body shots to counter Gradovich aggressive style.  After the fifth round, Dib left eye started to swell and found himself in a scrap.  Throughout the sixth round, both fighters fought on the inside and both connected on solid body shots in a close round.   Going into the second half of the fight, the fight looked close in the ring as Gradovich inside game kept the fight close against the veteran Dib.

Gradovich lost a key point deduction for excessive holding and then Dib lost a point moments later in a fight that each round was close.  In the closing minute, Gradovich landed a solid hook on the inside and a right hand that forced Dib reeling.   Gradovich caught Dib with a big right hand halfway in the ninth round as Dib pull straight back and ESPN Ted Atlas had Gradovich slightly ahead with three rounds left. Gradovich kept the pressure on throughout the tenth round and forced Dib to move back throughout the round.

Gradovich found himself close to an upset with two rounds left. Gradovich never went into the eleventh round in his career but now he had six minutes left to win a possible championship. Gradovich left himself open for Dib’s counter as he jumped into his opponent but Dib never successfully countered the on charging Gradovich. Gradovich nailed Dib with a solid left hook against the champion with time running out in the eleventh round.

Dib faced a possible loss of his title as he entered the twelfth round and Gradovich simply jumped on Dib.  Dib eyes were swelling and face bloody but he showed wiliness to trade with Gradovich. Gradovich consistently found a home for his right hand on the inside as he took a half step to snap it.  With final seconds ticking away, Gradovich put on his feet on the pedal as he pushed his will upon the champion.  The best punch was a short left hook that contorted Dib’s face. In boxing, a challenger may not always be awarded for his effort and Gradovich waited for his fate to be decided by three judges.

Both fighters waited as the announcer declared it was a split decision.  The announcer exclaimed, “114-112 Dib, 114-112 Gradovich,” and after brief hesitation; the announcer concluded, “114-112 and new featherweight champion, Evgeny Gradovich.”  I agreed with Ted Atlas that the margin should have been wider but Gradovich was the better fighter.  After just sixteen fights, Gradovich won a championship.

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