Billy Dib has stayed on course for a featherweight world title shot by outpointing American Mike Oliver despite being deducted two points for low blows.
Billy Dib overcame the possibility of a disastrous disqualification to keep his boxing world title rematch alive, with a majority points win over American Mike Oliver on Saturday.
Former IBF featherweight champion Dib was deducted a point in both the second and third rounds for low blows in the bout in Hartford, Connecticut.
Referee Michael Ortega warned Dib after the second point deduction he would be disqualified if he threw another low blow.
From then on Dib, whose only two professional losses had been in America, concentrated primarily on head shots and outworked the American through most of the middle and latter rounds.
Two judges scored the fight 96-92 to Dib while the third had it 94-94.
"My game is trying to hit the body and he (Ortega) didn't allow me to do that, I was kind of upset with that," Dib told AAP.
"I had to battle with points taken off for infringements I don't even think were worth taking points off for.
"I couldn't apply the pressure that I wanted to apply, I couldn't hit the body.
"I was trying to stick to the head which left me open a little bit.
"I'm fighting for the world title in my next fight, I'm excited and I'm pumped."
The victory kept Dib on course for a rematch with Russian Evgeny Gradovich, who took his title away earlier in the year.
Dib (36-2, 21 KOs) plans to invoke a rematch clause in his contract for that fight, provided Gradovich wins his first defence against Mauricio Munoz.
He confirmed he had not received a warning for punching low from Ortega before the first deduction, where he appeared to hurt Oliver with a legitimate left to the body, followed by a borderline right uppercut.
"Before the fight Michael Ortega came in and said 'these guys (Oliver's camp) are already complaining saying that you are known to be a dirty fighter'", Dib said.
"I thought 'what the hell is going on?'."
It wasn't the dominating display and knockout Dib was looking for, though he pushed the pace throughout the fight and frequently forced Hartford local Oliver (25-4, 8KOs) into the ropes.
While he was the aggressor, Dib was caught by several right hand counter punches from Oliver.
Dib concentrated in the early rounds on tagging Oliver with big right hands and body shots, but after being penalised for the latter, he used his jab effectively to set up plenty of right hand power shots to the head.
The Australian required some stitches in a wound near his left eye.