Billy The Kid named our top sportsperson of the year at night of nights

Dib KOs rivals: Billy Dib (centre) with Madeline Tynan and Hurstville Deputy Mayor Con Hindi at the awards night. Picture: Lisa McMahonBILLY Dib, the world featherweight boxing champion, is the 2011 Leader-Tynan Honda Sportstar of the year.
Nanjing Night Net

The unassuming boxer from Roselands — the son of Engadine greengrocers who migrated from Lebanon — won his second world title, beating Mexican Jorge Lacierva at Sydney Olympic Park in July last year.

Dib, 26, captured the IBF featherweight world title after a unanimous decision.

He then impressed while defending his world title in November in stunning fashion, knocking out previously undefeated Alberto Servidei.

The manner in which Dib defended his title impressed overseas boxing authorities and Dib now looks set to fight in America midway through this year.

‘‘Winning this award is amazing,’’ said Dib, surrounded by well-wishers and supporters at the Sportstar dinner at Doltone House, Sylvania Waters, last Friday.

‘‘I’ve joined some illustrious champions and I’m so honoured.

‘‘I’m really grateful to the Leader and Tynans, too, for all the support they’ve given.’’

Dib’s sport of choice as a youngster was rugby league and he spent four years playing for St John Bosco Junior Rugby League Club in the Sutherland Shire competition.

It was there his passion for boxing grew, after an off-the cuff boxing session with his rugby league coach, who identified his natural talent.

Within days, Dib was boxing at Sutherland PCYC.

A decorated amateur career followed, including three Australian titles before a motorbike accident cost him a spot in Australia’s 2004 Olympic team. He turned professional later that year and won the Australian super featherweight title after just five fights.

In 2008, Dib, then 22, won the vacant International Boxing Organisation super featherweight title but his ascent came to a halt just one fight later.

He was chasing a World Boxing Organisation featherweight title when the passionate St George Illawarra fan was handed his only professional boxing defeat after he was outclassed by Steve Luevano.

The journey back to the top was long and measured. He returned to the shire for two wins in 2009 and 2010, before rightfully reclaiming his spot on top of the world, outclassing Lacierva last year.

Dib’s Sportstar win continues a run of world champions taking out the major award.

See a full list of award winners in Thursday’s Leader and a slideshow of the night here.

Posted by at 24/04/2018
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