“He might only have just 12 pro fights, but he is a seasoned campaigner when you consider his development. And of course I want to make a statement. I want to make a statement every time I fight. I believe when you look at my last dozen fights, I have been making statements. Big statements. I have transformed into the most exciting featherweight in the world. I truly believe that…I’m just glad that the U.S. audience will now have the opportunity to see what great excitement they have been missing out on for the last couple of years,” stated IBF featherweight champion Billy Dib, who talked about his upcoming March 1 return to the ring. Check it out!
SS: How much of a relief is it to finally have a fight announced over in the USA after months of waiting and being caught up in politics?
BD: Well, all I want to do is fight. I haven’t fought in 9 months now, which is rather unusual for me. Finally I’m getting some action (laughing).
SS: A former Olympian from Cuba, Luis Franco, is the opponent. What do you know about him up to now?
BD: He’s a good, solid fighter. I respect him. I just believe my skills are superior to his. Come March 1, I will prove it.
SS: What danger do you think he poses to you?
BD: He’s a credible opponent who has earned his shot against me. He’s been in with some good guys and has experience, when you consider his amateur background. This is his shot at the ultimate glory, to become world champ. People rise 300% when there is a title on the line, so I need to be at my absolute best.
SS: He is relatively inexperienced at the pro level with just 12 fights, but he is ranked number 3 in the IBF. Are you seeing this as a tune-up bout to make a statement against the names you mentioned to me previously?
BD: He might only have just 12 pro fights, but he is a seasoned campaigner when you consider his development. And of course I want to make a statement. I want to make a statement every time I fight. I believe when you look at my last dozen fights, I have been making statements. Big statements. I have transformed into the most exciting featherweight in the world. I truly believe that.
SS: What approach are you looking on taking into the fight? The intention of stopping the show early to make a statement, or after almost 9 months out of the ring, is it important to get rounds under your belt?
BD: You can’t plan for that type of thing. My focus is to ensure I bring my A game. If I do that, I know I will emerge victorious, God willing.
SS: Returning to the USA to showcase your talents must be exciting. With a little over a month to go until the fight, when are you intending to start camp, or have you already begun?
BD: I’m a full-time pugilist. I’m in the gym every day, ready to fight at any time. I’ve hardly had any breaks during the past 9 months. I’m fit, fresh and strong. I’m not sure when we will be arriving in the US. That’s up to my coach, Billy Hussein.
SS: Who have you asked to join the camp as sparring partners, and is there anything you are asking them to work in particular to get you ready?
BD: Billy Hussein has had me working with some exciting up-and-comers. I also did some work with warrior Michael Katsidis, so I’m ready for combat.
SS: 50 Cent’s entrance with Gamboa in December drew a lot of attention. Have you or 50 got anything spectacular in store for your entrance or are you going to surprise us?
BD: 50 cent’s involvement in boxing is very exciting and refreshing for boxing. I’m looking forward to what he has to offer the sport. I haven’t discussed entrances with him. That’s the furthest thing from my mind (laughing).
SS: For your loyal Australian fans, what TV network over there is covering this fight, or has it yet to be confirmed?
BD: That’s yet to be confirmed as the fight has just been announced.
SS: You must be grateful to ESPN for giving you the opportunity after the politics previously with the other stations setting you back.
BD: I’m grateful to ESPN. I’m greatful for all the good that happens in my life. I’m confident that I will repay their faith in me by providing ESPN with a very exciting performance that will have fans demanding to see more of me.
SS: Franco lost out in the IBF title eliminator to Munoz in October, with Munoz being the mandatory for the title. Is that your next business at hand?
BD: Munoz had the opportunity to fight me and opted not to. Very strange indeed. People would kill for an opportunity at a world title, but not Munoz for some reason. Obviously, I would love to fight the best fighters out there. I keep hearing that Nonito Donaire wants to campaign at featherweight, which is exciting news as I regard him in the top 5 pound-for-pounders. I would be happy for an opportunity to rumble with him.
SS: Anything else you wish to say before you go?
BD: I’m just glad that the U.S. audience will now have the opportunity to see what great excitement they have been missing out on for the last couple of years…me!