Billy Dib to Put Aussie Boxing Back on the Map

By Daniel Attias on April 15, 2015
Billy Dib to Put Aussie Boxing Back on the Map
“This is an opportunity to win the world title and bring it back home where it belongs.”

Takashi Miura will be a tough ask for Billy Dib come May 1st, but Dib holds little fear of the big hitting southpaw, despite an impressive ring record…

Australia’s Billy Dib looks to become the first Australian ever to win the WBC junior-lightweight title when he takes on Japan’s Takashi Miura in the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan on the 1st of May in a bout that will see boxing return to Australian free to air television for the first time in over 30 years.

Australia has some history in the junior-lightweight division. Lester Ellis won the IBF title back in 1985, then lost it to countryman Barry Michael a few months later. Robbie Peden won the same strap when he knocked out his more fancied rival Nate Campbell in an entertaining fight in 2005 but it’s the WBC version of the title that causes most Australian boxing fans heartache.

It’s this WBC belt that Aussie great Jeff Fenech was robbed of when he fought Azumah Nelson in Las Vegas back in 1991. It’s also the same title that former bantamweight world champion Lionel Rose unsuccessfully challenged for in Japan, which is something Dib is well aware of in his quest for the junior-lightweight crown.

“There’s a lot of history behind this title,” Dib said. “The greats, Lionel Rose and Jeff Fenech, who both had very illustrious careers, came up short.”

Fenech’s challenge to the title has been well documented with the general consensus being he was shortchanged with a draw decision against fellow Hall of Famer Azumah Nelson. It’s a point that hasn’t been lost on Dib, who sees Fenech as a great friend and inspiration.

“Jeff Fenech was definitely robbed of that world title in Vegas. This is an opportunity to win the world title and bring it back home where it belongs.”

Beyond the historical significance there are a few other reasons Dib feels like this was the best fight to take at this stage of his career. The chance at fighting another lefty, which will be the about fifteenth time Dib has done so in his professional career, and a shot at taking the belt from the champ were too good to overlook.

“I love fighting southpaws,” Dib says. “We had a choice of who to fight, we could have gone with (Jose) Pedraza but I chose Miura for various reasons, the first reason was because I’m very comfortable with southpaws, the other one was the fact that he’s the champion and the opportunity to take the title off the champion and not win a vacant world title was appealing.”

Whilst Australia has history within the junior-lightweight division, it pales in comparison with Japan’s successes. The Japanese have long been major players within the ranks of the smaller men and the junior-lightweight division is littered with champions from the Land of the Rising Sun, both past and present.

Takashi Miura will be a tough ask for Billy Dib come May 1st, but Dib holds little fear of the big hitting southpaw, despite an impressive ring record.

When asked about Miura’s power and if it was something he was concerned about, Dib replied with casual indifference, “I’m not really worried about his power, in my career I’ve shown a pretty solid chin so that’s not something I’m really focusing on.”

Such nonchalance may lead some to question his perceived overconfidence but Dib is well aware of the quality of fighter he faces.

“He’s a tremendous fighter, with a lot of ability,” says Dib. “He’s not a world champion by accident, he has been in with some great fighters and I know that he’s been avoided a lot in his career. He’s been in with Takashi Uchiyama and if it wasn’t for the eye I think he was definitely in the fight. Just proves that he’s got class and I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Dib is no stranger to success. A former IBF featherweight titlist, he had two successful title defenses before coming up against a tough and unbeaten Russian in Evgeny Gradovich.

Gradovich took Dib’s title with a split decision victory in March of 2013 before handing him his lone stoppage defeat in the rematch in November of the same year. The defeats however are all part of the journey and have given him a great perspective on what its like to win and lose a world title.

“I’ve won a world title in the past and defended it on numerous occasions,” Dib said. “I know that I’ve been there and I know what it takes to win it and I know what it takes to hold onto it. Losing a world title is all part of the journey, great fighters lose sometimes.”

The fight itself will be the first world title fight shown on free to air television in Australia for more than 30 years and the significance isn’t lost on Dib, who views this as a huge opportunity for not only his own career but for the future of the sweet science down under.

“It’s a step in the right direction. All my career I’ve been looking for the opportunity to capture the imagination of the Australian public and the Australian boxing fan, not just the boxing fan though, to capture the football fan too. This is going to be a fight that’s going to be shown directly after the NRL Anzac Day test match and I guess it’s an opportunity to become a household name and somebody who can put Australia back on the map. I know we’ve had little success in recent times.”

Success is fleeting, as Dib very well knows having won and lost at the elite level before. How he handles it the second time around remains to be seen, but he certainly does have a big chance of putting boxing back on the map in Australia come fight night.

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Billy Dib vs Alberto Garza full fight 02.07.2014

Takashi Miura vs Gamaliel Diaz, Tokio Japón. 08 abril 2013. Boxeo de Gala.

Evgeny Gradovich vs. Billy Dib

Takashi Miura - Yoshimitsu Yashiro I

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  1. Kid Blast 08:19am, 04/16/2015

    We will see if he has remade himself. He started out as a bit of a runner and then started boxing and looked pretty good. I have always like him for his willingness to adapt.

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