Australian boxer-puncher Billy “The Kid” Dib (35-2, 21 KOs) returns to the United States on a mission to recapture his world title belt. The former International Boxing Federation (IBF) featherweight champion takes on local favorite “Machine Gun” Mike Oliver (25-3, 8 KOs), in the 10-round co-feature on the July 5thESPN Friday Night Fightsshow, airing live from the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.
“50 Cent’s Birthday Bash,” the first solo venture by rapper/promoter 50 Cent’s (Curtis Jackson) SMS Promotions, is headlined on ESPN Friday Night Fights by a potentially explosive 10-round war showcasing undefeated North American Boxing Organization (NABO) and North American Boxing Association (NABA) light heavyweight champion Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (12-0, 8 KOs) against former world super middleweight title challenger Allan “Ghost Dog” Green (32-4, 22 KOs). Alvarez-Green is being presented in association with Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM).
Dib is coming off an exciting slugfest that headlined the March 1st ESPN Friday Night Fights, in which he lost a 12-round split decision (114-112, 112-114, 112-114) and his IBF belt to undefeated Russian challenger Evgeny Gradovich (18-0). IBF No. 4-rated Dib, ironically, gained more respect among American fans from his loss to Gradovich than he had in his 35 victories.
“I fought the wrong fight and paid the ultimate penalty,” Dib spoke about fighting Gradovich’s fight instead of following his game plan. “It was really hard for me to lose my IBF belt, which meant so much to me, but the great news is I know I can win it back. I have to give Gradovich credit for his performance but it’ll be a different outcome in a rematch. I will make a statement in this fight to let world featherweight champions know that Billy Dib is still here.”
Oliver, a former International Boxing Organization (IBO) and United States Boxing Association (USBA) super bantamweight champion, handed 18-0 Gary Stark, Jr. his first professional loss in 2007 by 12-round decision. The 33-year-old Oliver’s other notable victims include Adam Carrera, Al Seeger and Mauricio Pastrana.
“I know he (Oliver) was a great amateur champion who will enjoy fighting in front of his hometown fans,” Ring Magazine No. 7-rated Dib remarked. “He’s a crafty southpaw. People are going to see a rejuvenated Billy Dib, an aggressive fighter who is coming to fight Oliver. I was shown a lot of love and respect after my last fight in America and I will return that love with a devastating performance and knockout victory.”
Dib is promoted by 50 Cent, who has opened up many doors for the Australian boxer. “It has been amazing to work with 50,” Dib explained. “My manager and brother, Emaid Dib, deals with him on a regular basis. He says 50 really gets involved and is hands-on with the promoting side of boxing. He’s a great person with a great heart, who has great energy for boxing and actually loves the sport. He has built a great team around him at SMS Promotions. My twitter account (@BillyDib) went crazy when 50 sent out a couple of tweets to follow me. The social media side of things has been huge and my crossover fans have really increased. I guess that’s the power he brings that other promoters probably can’t. I want to thank all my fans for their loyalty and support.”
Undefeated lightweight prospect Mark “Too Sharp” Davis (16-0, 5 KOs), who captured gold medals at the 2005 and 2006 U.S. National Championships, meets Danish-import Robert “Super” Osobe (14-5-4, 6 KOs), fighting out of Las Vegas, in an eight-round bound.
In a six-round bout, unbeaten Puerto Rican welterweight Javier “El Chino” Flores (9-0, 8 KOs), fighting out of Hartford, faces Rogelio De la Torre (10-3, 6 KOs), of Houston.
Also fighting on the undercard in four rounds bouts is hot prospect Arizona light welterweight Luis Olivares (4-0, 3 KOs) vs. undefeated Puerto Rican Jonathan Perez (4-0, 2 KOs), along with Cincinnati native Donte Strayhorn (1-1) vs. Hartford’s Oscar Diaz (0-1), New Haven featherweight Nate Green (3-0, 1 KO) vs. Micah Branch (1-6-1), of Cincinnati, New Haven (CT) super bantamweight Jimmy Williams vs. Saul Almeida (0-1), of Woburn (MA), and pro-debuting light middleweights David Wilson, of New Haven, vs. Woburn’s (MA) Rodrigo Almeida.
Davis, Olivares, and Strayhorn are also promoted by 50 Cent. All fights and fighters are subject to change.
Tickets are priced at $150.00, $100.00, $60.00 and $35.00 (SOLD OUT) and available to purchase at Connecticut Convention Center (860-728-2625) or by calling Mike Criscio (203-627-7472). There is a 10-percent surcharge on all sold tickets. A $150.00 ticket entitles the bearer to free admission to 50 Cent’s post-fight party at the Connecticut Convention Center. Admission to the post fight party is $30.00 per person at the door for those without a fight ticket, or $20.00 for all tickets excluding $150.00.
Doors open at 6 p.m. ET with the first fight scheduled to start at 7 p.m. ET.