More than 11 years have passed since promoter Jimmy Burchfield brought live championship boxing to the Connecticut Convention Center.
The drought ends Friday with one of the state’s most successful fighters looking to add another title to his collection.
CES Boxing hosts its first event at the Convention Center since 2008 on Friday night live on UFC Fight Pass® with former two-time world champion “Bad” Chad Dawson of New Haven facing hard-hitting Russian challenger Denis Grachev (19-8-1, 10 KOs) for the vacant WBC USNBC Light Heavyweight Title in the eight-round main event.
The card features nine action-packed fights, an eclectic mix of longtime fight veterans and young up-and-comers, some of whom will have the opportunity to showcase their skills on the world’s largest streaming platform. The fight week festivities kick off today with a special pre-fight press conference at 5 p.m. at Armazem Fusion Fitness, 45 NE Industrial Rd., Branford, CT 06405. The press conference is free and open to the public.
Bringing boxing to UFC Fight Pass® was only a matter of time for CES Boxing, whose MMA division debuted with the streaming platform in January. Dawson’s return to the ring headlines the promotion’s first event in Hartford since fellow Connecticut boxer Matt Remillard captured the WBC Youth World Featherweight Title with a win over Jose Megallon.
Dawson last fought in Hartford in November of 2009 when he defended his WBC and IBO light heavyweight titles against Glen Johnson. Friday is his just his second appearance at the Connecticut Convention Center; his first also happened to be his first world title defense, a knockout victory over Jesus Ruiz in 2007 to retain the WBC championship.
Tickets for Friday start at $47 and are available online at www.cesboxing.com, www.ctconventions.com and www.showclix.com, or by phone at 401-724-2253. Doors open at 6 p.m. ET with the first preliminary bout beginning at 7. The UFC FIGHT PASS® live stream kicks off at 9 with the broadcast team of CES Boxing publicist and matchmaker Michael Parente and former light heavyweight contender George Foreman III. Start your free trail or purchase a UFC FIGHT PASS® subscription at www.ufcfightpass.com.
Starring in the co-feature, unbeaten New London, CT, heavyweight Cassius Chaney (16-0, 10 KOs) battles former world champion and Colombian veteran Santander Silgado (28-7, 22 KOs) in an eight-round bout co-promoted by CES Boxing and Main Events.
Also returning to the ring, New Haven super welterweight Jimmy Williams (16-3-1, 5 KOs) faces Tilton, NH, veteran Jose Medina (18-17-1, 7 KOs) in an intriguing six-round all-New England showdown while up-and-comer Sharad Collier (2-0-1, 2 KOs) of Hartford battles Ohio’s Glenn Mitchell (3-3, 3 KOs) in a six-round lightweight bout.
The undercard also features two undefeated Connecticut prospects making their firster appearance in Hartford in separate four-round bouts. Super bantamweight Nathan Martinez (5-0, 2 KOs) of New Britain faces Steve Garagarza (1-1-1, 1 KO) of Laredo, TX, and featherweight Jacob Marrero (4-0, 3 KOs) puts his perfect record on the line against Hartford veteran Mike Oliver (26-10-1, 8 KOs) in a special all-Connecticut attraction.
Super welterweight Jalen Renaud (1-0) of Springfield, MA, makes his promotional debut in a four-round intrastate showdown against Roxbury’s Maceo Crowder (2-2, 1 KO); former New York Golden Gloves champion Jahvel Joseph (0-0) of the Bronx makes his professional debut in a four-round bout against Leandro Silva (1-2) of Boca Raton, FL, and New Haven super lightweight Carlos Perez Ojeda (0-0) also debuts in a four-round bout against an opponent to be determined.
FIGHT WEEK QUOTES:
Dawson: “It’s a pleasure for me to be fighting for another title in front of my friends, family and supporters. I’ve trained hard to make sure I’m 100-percent ready for the task at hand. I’m looking forward to putting on a great show on October 11. Thanks to Mr. [Burchfield] for putting such a great show together. It’s great to be back home where it all started.”
Grachev: “I’ve fought world-class opponents before, so being in the ring with a guy like Chad Dawson is nothing new to me. I’ve been working hard with my team in San Diego to bring the belt back to the west coast. I hope Chad Dawson is as ready as I am. The fans will enjoy this fight.”
Chaney: “Thank you to my promoter, Main Events, and, of course, Jimmy Burchfield, promoter of CES, for allowing me to showcase my talents on this entertaining card. I believe Santander will provide me an opportunity to gain more experience. I’ve been taking him seriously and I’m looking forward to showcasing my skills back home in Connecticut. Thank you to all my family, friends and fans who are supporting me. I can’t thank you enough.”
Williams: “I’m truly thankful to be back in the ring October 11. Jose Medina is a tough opponent. This is a great fight for me. If you take a look at my career, I’ve never taken an easy fight. Come October 11, I’m ready to put on a great performance.
Oliver: “I’m happy to fight in my hometown of Hartford, Connecticut. I am dedicating this fight to [manager] Sammy Vega, who lost his daughter to cancer. She, too, was part of my team. Like I said, I’m happy to fight in my hometown and I’m coming to win. You don’t want to miss this fight!”