By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
Former IBO 130 pound world champion Billy Dib (22-1, 11 KOs) talks to Fightnews and explains why he has IBF featherweight champion Cristobal Cruz in his sights, the best win he scored in the USA, and why Sugar Shane Mosley is his greatest supporter, plus reveals that the Grange Gym will be promoting him in 2009.
Fighthnews: You have had some great wins in the USA. Please tell me in your opinion – your best win and why?
Rogers Mtagwa – easily my most favorite and best win overseas. Mtagwa was really being touted as something big in the US and one who was ‘tough’ and expected to take care of me. With no disrespect and the judges decisions and scorecards tell the story, I won the bout convincingly and shut him out, never giving him a chance. I really felt on top of my game that night and also, I got to fulfill a dream with the bout being at Madison Square Garden on my great friend ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley’s undercard when he faced Miguel Cotto.
My manager always says to me that I have been very fortunate in life to fight at ‘The Garden’ because of the history that goes with it and that a lot of great fighters don’t get to fight there. I feel very privileged to have had the opportunity.
Fightnews: You have a great relationship with Shane Mosley who travelled to Australia for your most recent contest. Can you tell me about your friendship with this future hall of famer and how it developed.
It started through a mutual friend introduction in Las Vegas and subsequently, Shane emailed to invite me to his home at Pomona, California where we got to properly meet, sit down and talk about where I was heading, where I would like to go, etc and then it was the ultimate, Shane threw me some gloves and we jumped into the ring and sparred. It was daunting at first because you’re in the ring with a legend, but quickly (and after a few punches!) I had to show him something and I’m forever grateful that he saw something in me that day in which to support me further with my career.
Fightnews: Please tell me who is on your radar and why.
Not to sound clichéd, but I’m really concentrating on my fights, one by one. My manager and I have a saying which is ‘Rome’ – as in “Rome wasn’t built in a day” and that’s how we are looking at my future career. We’re patiently building a sound base and platform in which to expand from.
I’ve been very fortunate to have achieved a great deal in my career to date, however that chapter’s closed and I now want to achieve a lot more. My manager and trainer work closely together discussing opportunities that are offered and also on future opponents they feel we want to challenge. I’ve never dodged an opponent and I’m looking for great fights that yes, hopefully I win, but also make me a better fighter for when the really big chances present themselves.
Too answer your question definitively, the IBF champion – Cristobel Cruz and WBA champion – Chris John are two opponents I would really love to fight. Cruz is a tough, walk-in-and-fight Mexican who I really rate my chances against and Chris John, well his record and standing speak for itself, however with the greatest respect, I believe I could beat him and I would love the opportunity to show this. I believe, as does my team that either opponent would be a great fight.
Fightnews: You have a good team behind you – trainer Billy Hussein and manager Nathan Butler. Tell be about your team.
There’s the old saying, “a happy fighter’s a good fighter” and both Billy and Nathan provide this. Billy’s credentials as a trainer are second to none and name a big fighter in this country that Billy hasn’t had some involvement with. I really enjoyed our first training preparation together for the Browne fight and I’d like to think people saw not only improvement in me, but also that I really enjoyed the fight.
Nathan and I came together late last year and he stepped into the manager’s role for me post-Luevano and has done a fantastic job taking care of ‘outside the ring’ matters. Whether it be fights to organize, speaking with promoters, guest appearances on things like 2KY’s ‘Big Sport Breakfast’ or upcoming on ‘Wide World of Sports’ and through to introducing new sponsors, he’s taken care of all that for me.
Billy and Nathan take care of things out of the ring, to give me every chance of success in it.
Fightnews: You have agreement with the Grange Gym who will promote you in 2009. Your thoughts please.
Straight up, hat’s off to ‘The Grange.’ They really put on great shows and are genuinely aiming to improve the standard of shows and fights for all concerned. Both Bill and Garrie are great guys and I enjoy being on their shows. I’d like to think they enjoy having me fight on their shows.
Recently after the Browne fight, we had a really positive discussion and agreed that we wanted to move forward together, working to help one another achieve bigger things. I’m very grateful of their support and aim to be consistently performing on their shows, for my benefit, ‘The Grange’ and overall, supporters of boxing.
Australian boxing need people like ‘The Grange’ who really invest a lot of time, effort and money exposing fighters like me to the public on quality, televised promotions and I want to be a part of these exciting opportunities.