BILLY Dib offers no excuses ahead of his rebirth as a super-featherweight contender.
The former IBF featherweight champion makes his highly anticipated return when he takes on an upset-minded former world title challenger in Mexican Alberto Garza from the Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, Connecticut in a ten round non-title bout that will serve as the co-feature.
The card will be televised globally by cable giant ESPN and will be headlined by unbeaten American Mark Davis who will face battle-hardened Filipino Michael Farenas. The event will be promoted by Curtis Jackson’s SMS Promotions.
Speaking from his California base, Dib, 28, speaks candidly about his upcoming challenge as well as his new home in the super featherweight division.
“Alberto Garza is a seasoned Mexican, he has competed in several world title fights winning a WBC silver championship,” said Dib in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “I also know that he is a dangerous puncher and has scored some unexpected wins throughout his career.”
In preparation for the fight against Garza, Dib has been based for several weeks in California, where he has trained out of the Glendale Fighting Club (GFC), which serves most famously as the home of UFC womens titleholder and the face of WMMA, Ronda Rousey.
The gym is owned and operated by head coach Edmond Tarverdyan, who also trains fellow Australian Vic Darchinyan.
“The training at GFC was the best decision we made, I was fortunate enough to get some fantastic sparring with some world class fighters.” Dib continued. “The atmosphere there is simply amazing, both Edmund and Ronda have treated me as though I was part of the family. I’m very grateful for their amazing hospitality.”
Despite his success at featherweight, where he lifted the IBF featherweight title while making a further two title defences, Dib sees the permanent move up to super featherweight as well overdue and a long time coming.
“Moving up in weigh was a long overdue move. I have paid my dues in the featherweight division and now it’s time for a change.” he explained. “A new outlook, new opportunities, new results and of course the opportunity to win another championship in another weight division.”
Dib was last seen as a super featherweight when he fought a non-title fight against the underrated Juan Antonio Rodriguez in between his IBF featherweight title defences in July 2012. A rejuvenated Dib believes he will be better for the move up in weight after years of battling with the scales.
“My training camp began in Australia, but we then shifted over to the States to give us ample time to prepare as best we can and get the world class sparring that is available all around the States.”
Providing Dib (36-3, 21 KOs) is successful against Garza (26-7-1, 21 KOs), he believes his team, led by manager Emaid Dib and SMS Promotions will be able to secure him another lucrative world title opportunity before the year is over.
“My team has been working closely with SMS Promotions and Sean Gibbons (matchmaker for SMS) to get me meaningful fights that will put me right back in contention for a world title bout, hopefully by the end of the year.” he continued.
“Having a close knit team like mine, gives me plenty of comfort and confidence. Knowing that I have people around that I can put all of my trust and faith in allows me to do my job, which is to train and fight hard, without ever having to worry about the things that can happen behind the scenes. I believe this is a massive part of my success over the span of my career.”
“I am currently contracted to SMS Promotions and I have no doubt that by working closely with them I can put myself in the position to win numerous world titles over the next few years of my career.”
To Dib, the elated feeling of winning a world title goes without saying. The feeling, which Dib sees as unmatched is something he is vigorously chasing as he attempts to win a lucrative world title in a second division.
“There is nothing quite like the buzz of knowing that you are at the pinnacle of your sport,” Dib confesses.
“Becoming a world champion is the goal for all boxers but only a select few are likely to achieve the feat. Having the opportunity to become world champion is the reason why we train so hard and put our bodies and minds through what they go through.”
A confident Dib speaks for his future with promise, offering the image of a fighter that is not only refreshed, but is legitimately happy with his surroundings as he begins the next chapter of his storied career. The story of a fighter as well as his growing brand.
“To all my friends and fans, thank you all for continuing to share my journey. Get ready as I prepare to drop my new Billy The Kid label,” Dib says in closing.
“The designs are mind blowing.”
Photo: Damian Bennett