Exclusive Interview With Super-Featherweight Contender Billy "The Kid" Dib
by James Slater: It's possible not too many fans will have heard of Australia's unbeaten super-featherweight contender Billy Dib. But that will change when the unbeaten 22 year old drops down to 126 pounds and challenges WBC featherweight king Jorge Linares on May 3rd in California. Boxing on the huge De La Hoya- Forbes card, the 18-0(9) Dib, nicknamed "The Kid" looks to make a big name for himself by becoming the first to defeat the quite superb Venezuelan-born Linares..
Article posted on 12.04.2008
Dib turned pro two days before his 19th birthday, with a 4th round TKO victory over one Nagin Gurumu, in Sydney back in August 2004. Billy's last five fights have taken place in America, however, and Dib has even boxed in the U.K before - with him picking up a six round points win at The Hallam F.M Arena in Sheffield in November of 2005. Now the 22 year-old is only weeks away from his first world title shot.
The fight against Linares is certainly an attractive one, with both men's unbeaten records adding to the intrigue of the clash between the two 22 year-olds. Dib himself calls Linares, who is nicknamed "Golden Boy," the best featherweight in the world right now. This does not stop Billy from believing he will beat him, and in exciting style come May 3rd, however. Dib has boxed at both feather and super-feather, and says he can do both weights comfortably. Indeed, the supremely confident and ambitious Aussie says he will one day be both a multi-weight champion, as well as being the greatest fighter of his era!
Confident the 5'7" Dib may be, but arrogant he is not. Speaking to me via his home in Hurstville, New South Wales, Dib was just about to enter intense training - or, in his words, "training camp lockdown!"
I began by asking Billy about his amateur background.
"I was three times national champion and twice Golden Gloves champ. My amateur record was 113 fights, with 98 wins. I was 12-years-old when I first put the gloves on."
Straightforward and to the point, Dib also told me who his major influences were/are.
"Naseem Hamed was definitely a huge influence on me. It was seeing Naseem fight that convinced me to turn pro. I loved his flamboyant style and attitude. I'm pretty flamboyant myself in the ring. There is nothing I won't try [in a fight]. For example, I like switching my stance from orthodox to southpaw, and back. I think my punch-power is getting better and better with age and maturity, too. But back to my heroes, and Muhammad Ali is still my number one boxing idol. He was the greatest."
Who trains Billy today?
"Brian Willmot is my trainer. He used to work with Jeff Harding a number of years ago."
And so far as a pro, has anyone given Billy what he would call a tough fight?
"I have had many hard fights, and I would say honestly, that all my opponents in America have been strong and extremely worthy opponents. So far, though, even though I have taken some good shots, I've not been down, amateur or pro, and I want to keep that statistic as long as I can!"
As stated above, Billy has boxed at both feather and super-feather. Is he strong at both weights?
"I do feel very comfortable at super-featherweight, but I can make featherweight easily enough and I'm strong there as well. I think my body is maturing quite quickly, and before I'm done with boxing I want to dominate in a number of weight classes. I definitely want to be the greatest fighter of my era, and get my place in history. All this begins with the Jorge Linares fight in May. I feel he is the very best featherweight in the world, but I also know he's going to lose on May 3rd!"
Down-to-earth, yet massively ambitious Billy Dib clearly is. What type of preparation will he be having for his big fight, though. Who will he be sparring with?
"There will be no expense spared with regards to getting the best men to spar with for Linares. I will be working with some of Australia's best fighters - guys like Hussein Hussein and Lovemore N'Dou. I will be having the best sparring possible, and I will be totally ready and prepared for my first world title fight."
What type of fight does he expect against Linares?
"I think it will be what I would call a chess match with a lot of fireworks. I will be doing everything I can to make sure it's an exciting fight and that the fans get their money's worth. I always try to fight excitingly. Like I said, I'm very flamboyant in the ring. I consider my left jab to be my best weapon in a fight."
And what will it mean for the young man from New South Wales to become champion of the world?
"Oh, it will de an absolute dream come true, a dream that started back when I was a twelve-year-old boy. It will mean that my father will not have to work anymore, which is something that is also very important to me."
Not wanting to rush things, and without looking too far ahead, who would Billy love to face in the coming months - assuming he defeats Linares. Does Dib have any "dream" fights?
"All I can tell you, is I just want to fight any fighter who is a good challenge. I'm not going to give you any particular names, I just always want to face the best. I don't feel I'm at my peak yet, that is still a fair ways down the road. But like I say, I want my place in history as a great, great fighter and all that's ahead of me right now."
Phase one begins on May 3rd for the likeable "Kid."
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