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Billy Dib returns to action Friday night, 1st fight in Australia in four years

Credit: Emily Harney

Former featherweight titlist Billy “The Kid” Dib (37-3, 21 KOs) will not be trick-or-treating tomorrow night at home in Australia. Instead, he’ll be dressed in trunks and wearing boxing gloves for his 12-round fight with his upset-minded Indonesian opponent Ruben Manakane (14-11-1, 9 KOs).

Dib, whose only three losses as a professional have been in world title fights to undefeated Evgeny Gradovich twice and Steve Luevano, based on his tremendous experience and talent advantage, will likely throw a horrific scare, if not worse, into his young opponent.

The 29-year-old Dib will be fighting in Australia for the first time in more than four years having fought three of his last four fights in the United States with the other in Macao, China. This fight will mark Dib’s professional debut in Melbourne, where he last fought 13 years ago as an amateur in the Australian National Championship.

“The opportunity came about when I heard (promoter) Tarik Solak and (Dib’s trainer) Billy Hussein discussing it,” Dib explained to Aus-Boxing.com why he’s fighting in Melbourne. “I mentioned that I’d love to fight back in Australia, so Billy and Tarik were like, let’s do it. After my brother and manager Emid (Dib) got clearance from the team at SMS (Promotions) and (Dib’s promoter) 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson), we decided that the next stop should be Melbourne.

“I know that he (Manakane) is currently ranked fourth by the PABA and that he has eight wins from his last ten outings. He stretched world-class Filipino AJ Banal the full distance a few years back, too. He’s only 21 years of age, so I’m expecting him to come out fast and do all he can to cease the moment. I never take any of my opposition lightly and I know that Manakane stands in the way of my journey to another world championship. One step at a time.”

After being stopped for the first time in his career last November to Gradovich in their rematch, Dib decided to move up in weight and campaign as a super featherweight, staring this past July 2 at Foxwoods Resort Casino on ESPN Friday Night Fights against former WBA featherweight title challenger Alberto Garza (26-7-1, 21 KOs). Dib overcame a nasty cut over his right eye from an unintentional head-butt in the opening round to win a unanimous 10-round decision.

Now, Dib is rated No. 6 by the World Boxing Organization (WBO), as well as No. 12 by the IBF, as he positions himself for a potential world super featherweight title shot in 2015 against one of the reigning champions: IBF Rances Barthelemy, WBO Orlando Salido, WBC Takashi Miura and WBA Takashi Uchiyama.

“After being involved in the sport of boxing for so long, Dib continued his interview with Aus.Boxing.com, “I now understand that it’s a business and not just a sport. It’s all about strategic planning. We have had several discussions with WBA, WBO and IBF officials about this fight for the PABA crown. It will definitely help evaluate my rankings across the board. The plan is to face the necessary opposition to work my way into a mandatory position with one of the prestigious crowns. I honestly feel that I could face any of the super featherweight champions tomorrow, but realistically we may be looking at six to 12 months. I don’t just plan on getting a world title shot, I plan on winning another crown.