Billy Dib didn’t enjoy the best of years in 2013. As it began he held the IBF featherweight title, but the 28-year old Australian lost it on points to Evgeny Gradovich in March. Dib then struggled during a majority decision win over fringe contender Mike Oliver before getting stopped in nine rounds in a rematch with Gradovich.
On Wednesday, Dib will return from a seven-month break when he meets seasoned veteran Alberto Garza on a special edition of ESPN2’s “Friday Night Fights.”
“I don't like to make excuses,” Dib told RingTV.com from his training camp in Los Angeles. “I believe you learn more from your losses than your wins.”
One thing he learned following the second loss to Gradovich (36-3, 21 knockouts) is that he wanted a new direction. He thus decided to make the move up to junior lightweight.
Anson Wainwright – What are your thoughts on facing Alberto Garza?
Billy Dib – I am really excited and grateful to be given an opportunity to fight a tough opponent on national TV in America. ESPN have been very kind to me and I will repay them with a great performance.
AW – It marks your return to action – you've been out of the ring for seven months following the loss to Evgeny Gradovich for the IBF featherweight title.
BD – It's the first time in my career that I have spent time away from boxing in general, which has given me valuable time to be around my family. Watching my nephews and nieces grow and develop has been great. It's given my body and mind a really good rest also.
AW – You're now campaigning at junior lightweight?
BD – I have been campaigning at featherweight for the past 10 years. I worked hard to win and defend my title in this division and now felt it was time to set myself some new goals.
AW – While you're not looking past Garza, what is your plan at 130 pounds?
BD – I have never overlooked any of my opponents and Garza will be no different. The plan is to win a title at junior lightweight but my focus right now is on Garza.
AW – If we go back to 2013, it wasn't a good year for you, you lost your title to Gradovich, you then had a bit of a struggle with Mike Oliver and then you were stopped for the first time in your career in a rematch with Gradovich. From your point of view what happened?
BD – I don't like to make excuses and I believe you learn more from your losses than your wins. As a team we have made many changes. We have come out to America much earlier for this fight, which has helped with getting world-class sparring and getting acclimatized. We have made some mistakes along the way but have addressed them and, God willing, you will see the results come the July 2nd.
AW – What have you done in the seven months since your last fight?
BD – In the last seven months I have been working on strength and conditioning and working with my boxing coach on different things in the gym.
AW – You're promoted by Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson's company, SMS Promotions. What is it like working with a big name like him and how does that help you and your career?
BD – It's been a great experience and 50 Cent is a great guy. He is surrounded by a good team that works hard. It's great because I have picked up not only extra boxing fans but music fans also. The crossover of fans is a real bonus.
AW – Tell us about your life away from boxing?
BD – I enjoy wakeboarding in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. I also love training with and watching the mighty St. George Dragons, who are a rugby league team back home.
AW – What goals do you still have in boxing?
BD – My goals are to win world titles in numerous weight divisions and encourage kids around the world to chase your dreams.
AW – In closing, do you have a message for the junior lightweight division?
BD – No, I don’t have a message. I want to earn in the division and make a statement with my performance.
The ESPN show will be headlined by Mark Davis vs. Michael Farenas in an IBF junior featherweight title eliminator. The SMS promoted card will also feature several prospects, including the highly touted Ryan Martin.