(Presser Gallery Below Co-promoters Lou DiBella, of DiBella Entertainment, and 50 Cent, of SMS Promotions, hosted the final press conference today at the Strand Hotel in New York City for this week’s (Mar. 1) ESPN Friday Night Fights at the MGM Grand Theater at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.
In the 12-round main event, SMS Promotions’ IBF Featherweight Champion Billy "The Kid" Dib (35-1-0-1NC, 21KO’s) puts his world title on the line against Russia’s undefeated IBF #11 rated Evgeny Gradovich (15-0, 8KO’s). In the televised co-feature, former amateur standout and now top-ten rated junior middleweight contender Willie Nelson (19-1-1, 11KO’s) squares off against Michael Medina (26-3-2, 19KO’s) in a 10-round showdown for Nelson’s NABF super welterweight title. The Nelson-Medina bout is promoted in association with Rumble Time Promotions. The event is sponsored by SMS Audio. Both bouts will air on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET.
50 Cent will perform live on fight night.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
LOU DIBELLA: "First and foremost, I want to thank everyone here for coming out and also everyone that is involved in this event, particularly 50 cent, Foxwoods and our great sponsor, SMS Audio.
"We have an outstanding event coming up this Friday and I think it is important for everyone to know that we are not doing this event to make a ton of money. We are doing this to give the public an opportunity to see a great event and also to give this great champion, Billy Dib, the exposure that he truly deserves here in the US.
"We have a terrific card from top to bottom, including a dynamite co-feature with NABF Junior Middleweight Champion Willie Nelson defending his title against Michael Medina. It is a co-feature that easily could have been a main event on its own, in fact, it was originally, but then we had this great opportunity to put Billy Dib in the main event, defending his world championship live on ESPN and we just couldn’t pass that up. I want to thank Doug Loughrey from ESPN for giving us this opportunity and for working so hard on making this a reality.
"There are an awful lot of haters when you start a new business, especially in the boxing world. No one has laid out a red carpet for Curtis "50 Cent’ Jackson. Everything that he has achieved thus far he has worked to get. I am totally impressed by working with him to see his intellect and how hard he actually works. I only see great things for him in this sport moving forward and just wanted to say it really is an absolute pleasure to work with you and your company."
CURTIS "50 CENT" JACKSON: "I am excited about Friday night. This has been a great partnership I have formed with Lou (DiBella) and it has just been an amazing process for me. This is the first boxing event that I have been involved with for the entire process, from beginning to end, and it really is going to be a special night for me on Friday night.
"To actually be in Billy’s camp and to see the sacrifices that he makes day in and day out is really something special. It makes you realize really what these fighters go through. It gives you a whole new appreciation for them and for this great sport.
"The level of the actual talent involved in this promotion is exciting for me and excites me for what the future has to hold for me in this sport. I believe by combining the right elements we can bring back that younger demographic to this sport, and that is something we are going to be working on constantly."
BILLY "THE KID" DIB: "I want to thank everyone who was involved with this promotion. March 1st is going to be a great event. The whole team has worked very hard. This is my second coming. I am coming back here to America to showcase my ability. I am a completely different animal right now and you will see that Friday night. I know Gradovich is going to fight out of his skin, being this is his first world championship opportunity, so I can promise you that this is going to make for fireworks in this fight. We respect Gradovich; we know that he is ready, and these are the type of fights we want."
"Thank you for this opportunity, I am very excited. I know that this is going to be a great fight. We trained very hard for this fight, and I know it is going to be a very good fight for everyone involved, especially the fans in attendance and those watching at home on ESPN.