More than 11 years have passed since promoter Jimmy Burchfield brought live championship boxing to the Connecticut Convention Center. The drought ends Friday when former world light heavyweight champion “Bad” Chad Dawson of New Haven faces hard-hitting Russian challenger Denis Grachev (19-8-1, 10 KOs) in the eight-round main event. The card features a total of nine fights and wil be streamed on the UFC Fight Pass pay site. 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.
Starring in the co-feature, local heavyweight Cassius Chaney (16-0, 10 KOs) battles Colombia's Santander Silgado (28-7, 22 KOs) in an eight-round bout. Also returning to the ring, New Haven super welterweight Jimmy Williams (16-3-1, 5 KOs) faces New Hampshire's Jose Medina (18-17-1, 7 KOs) in a six-round all-New England showdown while 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 boxers making their first 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's Mike Oliver (26-10-1, 8 KOs) in a special all-Connecticut attraction.
Junior middleweight Jalen Renaud (1-0) of Springfield, MA, will compete in a four-round intrastate showdown against Roxbury’s Maceo Crowder (2-2, 1 KO); former New York Golden Gloves champion Jahvel Joseph of the Bronx makes his professional debut in a four-round bout against Leandro Silva (1-2) of Boca Raton, FL, and New Haven junior welterweight 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!”