By Jake Donovan
Former featherweight titlist Billy Dib endured a tougher battle with the flu than he did in the ring, stopping Ruben Mananake in the eighth round of their headlining act Friday evening at Melbourne Pavilion in Melbourne, Australia.
The action was sparse for much of the night, as Dib was still in recovery mode from his earlier ailment. The Aussie boxer spent the earlier rounds bouncing around the ring, rarely committing to a punch and randomly switching between orthodox and southpaw.
Fans in attendance - and those watching at home on Fox Sports Australia - were put out of their misery in round eight, when Dib connected with an overhand right. The shot caught Manakane on his eardrum, throwing off his equilibrium and sending him to the canvas where he took the full count.
With the win, Dib advances to 38-3-1 (22KOs). The win is his second straight following a knockout loss in his rematch with Evgeny Gradovich last November. Dib was dethroned by the 'Mexican Russian' earlier last year, but thoroughly dominated in their sequel in Macau.
Manakane falls to 14-12-1 (9KOs), snapping a three-fight unbeaten streak, all of which took place against pedestrian opposition at home in Indonesia.
A same-day four-man knockout heavyweight tournament graced the undercard, as Andre 'The Giant' Meunier floored Apa Nanai three times en route to a 1st round knockout.
Meunier was fortunate to get to that point, escaping with a majority win over debuting Veysel Catak, a former kickboxer from Turkey. The difference on the cards was a point deduction against Catak, who was docked for hitting on the break. As a result, Meunier edged out a majority decision, with matching scores of 29-28 trumping a 28-28 tally on the third card.
Nanai had a much easier night of things in his semi-final bout, cruising to a unanimous decision over Lloyd. The threat of a knockout twice surfaced in the bout for Nanai, who rocked Lloyd midway through the opening round and then floored him in round three to seal the deal. Scores were 29-27 (twice) and 29-26.
The finals proved to be a reversal of fortune. Meunier came out swinging from the opening bell, and Nanai literally had no defense. Three knockdowns put an instant end to the heavyweight brawl, with Nanai sprawled out on the canvas as the fight was waived by the referee.
Billel Dib picked up his first knockout win in more than a year, though coming in the closing seconds of the 6th and final round of his mismatch with Anshori Anhar Pitulay.
The bout was a gross mismatch on every level, with the 25-year old Dib controlling the action the entire way. Pitulay was floored midway through round four, with body shots paving the way for a flurry upstairs to send the Indonesian clubfighter to the canvas.
Pitulay bore an exhausted, punched out look after every round, at one point being physically escorted by his cornermen to his stool. Still, he managed to extend Dib rounds until he was unable to remain on his feet. Two more knockdowns in round six forced the stoppage.
The official time was 2:48 of round six.
Dib improves to 15-1 (6KOs). The win was his fourth of 2014 and overall his fifth straight. Pitulay falls to 8-13-2 (6KOs) after returning from a two-year layoff and moving up in weight.
Andrew Moloney (1-0, 1KO) enjoyed a successful pro debut with a 3rd round knockout over Indonesia's Willem Marahina. A crippling right hook to the body forced Marahina (4-14-1, 2KOs) to double over and pitch forward face-first to the canvas, where he took the full count. The official time was 1:09 of round three.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a member of Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox