AFTER a brief sabbatical, former IBF featherweight champion Billy ‘The Kid’ Dib is back, revitalized and with renewed vigor as he readies himself to launch a new campaign for world title honours in the super-featherweight division.
“After being a professional for so many years and being so active, I needed to step away for a moment to let my body and mind heal,” said Dib in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “Sharing the company of champions overseas such as David Haye and Yuriorkis Gamboa helps me motivate myself to comeback bigger and better than ever.”
The last time Dib was seen in centre-ring was last November, where he unsuccessfully challenged Evgeny Gradovich for not only his IBF featherweight strap – but also revenge. Dib, 28, was stopped for the first time in his professional career at the Cotai Arena in Macao, where he fought as the co-feature to Manny Pacquiao vs. Brandon Rios. The fight was televised worldwide via boxing giant HBO’s pay-per-view arm.
Looking to put the past firmly behind him, a rejuvenated Dib is jovial about future opportunities that may present themselves as he begins his campaign to become a two-time, two-division world champion. Dib is signed to rapper 50 Cent’s SMS Promotions, who shares Dib’s belief that it is only a matter of time before Dib challenges yet again for world honours.
“I have definitely touched base with 50 Cent – and we shared a few ideas. I have spoken to him about the idea of moving up in weight and chasing more world titles.”
Dib has previously flirted with the idea up moving up to the super-featherweight division before, and given his assumed struggle to make featherweight for the Gradovich rematch – where Dib had to strip down to make weight – a permanent move-up always seemed to be on the cards.
“My days at featherweight are definitely behind me, but in saying that if the right opportunity and money was on offer anything is possible,” he continued. “I’m definitely keen to move up in weight as it would give me the opportunity to capture a world title in another weight division. I also feel that the bigger fights and paydays are in the higher weight divisions.”
Speaking to Dib, you get the feeling that the well traveled Sydney-based product has a more mature approach to his career and it’s prospects moving forward. Dib was once labelled as an overly confident fighter, that could sometimes be perceived as boastful – that stance is now gone – as Dib speaks with the tone of a man that understands his journey and is better for his career experiences.
“Well for me age and experience has definitely played a major factor in my maturity in the sport of boxing. One can only learn from his experiences in life and I definitely have a tonne of experience.” Dib said. “Being around such great influences in my life has also been a major factor in my maturity and growth, knowing that I am someone who can inspire others has also helped. I feel that I need to lead by example for the youth who are watching me closely.”
After almost a decade on the professional circuit, where Dib burst onto the scene with charisma and a style unlike most domestically, Dib appears to be at home within his current surroundings. This includes his management, which is led by his brother Emaid Dib as well as his training, where leading Australian trainer Billy Hussein has comfortably held the reins for several years.
“My trainer Billy and I have known each other since I first laced on the gloves. He is somewhat of an older brother to me and has always been one that I can always turn to,” explains Dib. “He and I joined forces shortly after my first career defeat (against Steven Luevano in 2008) and we have come leaps and bounds together capturing a world championship and making several defences. Together we have appeared in six world title fights.”
As it presently stands, the super-featherweight division is stacked. The division boasts names such as Mikey Garcia and Takashi Uchiyama, who are considered to be the top-two fighter by consensus – as well as fellow titleholders Takashi Miura and Argenis Mendez. With Dib being aligned to a promoter with influence in the US, a match-up against any of the above could be a realistic option.
“The goal for for this year is to get back to my winning ways and capture a world title in my new chosen weight – 2014 will be a new chapter in the career of Billy Dib.”
“I would like to thank all my great supporters, my family and my brother Emaid who has guided me through the ups and downs of my career. My sponsors who have helped me every step of the way and the special team at Lonsdale who have back every decision I have made in my career,”
“Success is around the corner, stay blessed.”