Billy Dib has joined Australian legends Jeff Fenech and Johnny Famechon as a featherweight world boxing champion, taking out the vacant IBF title with a unanimous 12 round points win over Mexico's Jorge Lacierva on Friday.
Back at the venue where he had his first professional fight and three of his first four paid contests, Dib produced a savvy and streetwise performance, with just the odd flash of the brash showmanship that marked his early bouts.
Dib finished ahead on the cards 119-109, 118-109 and 115-112.
Watched by a crowd including former world champions Kostya Tszyu and and ex-NSW premier Bob Carr, Dib won the battle of contrasting styles.
His nifty footwork and head and body movement made things difficult for Lacierva to sustain pressure or land significant blows in the early stages.
The 25-year-old Australian used his reach advantage and faster hands well, scoring with the left jab when putting some space between himself and his opponent.
Lacierva tried to muscle Dib on the inside, but though he landed the odd blow, the smaller Mexican's crouching, lunging style gleaned few dividends.
American referee Jack Reiss had to break the fighters on numerous occasions and took some time after the bell for the third round to separate the protagonists.
Dib spoke earlier in the week about the possibility of Lacierva employing illegal tactics and his prediction rang true as Reiss penalised the Mexican a point in the fourth for hitting after the break.
Reiss gave Lacierva some time to rest in the ninth from a low blow, while the Mexican suffered a cut near his left eye in the same round following a head clash.
In the main preliminary fight, Sydneysider Zac Awad won the vacant IBF Pan Pacific super middleweight title with a 12 round split points decision over fellow Sydneysider Junior Talipeau in a classic phone box brawl.
Earlier on, classy Sydney based Queensland bred southpaw Paul Fleming took his professional record to 11-0, with a second round TKO of journeyman Quinton Donohue.
Tags: Billy Dib , Jorge Lacierva , Dib vs Lacierva , Dib-Lacierva