By Jake Donovan
Takashi Miura is set to make the fourth defense of his junior lightweighe belt, while Billy Dib guns for the upset on the road and his second title reign in as many weight classes.
The bout takes place Friday evening in Tokyo, with Fuji TV in Japan to air via two-hour delay.
Miura (28-2-2, 21KOs) is riding an eight-fight win streak heading into the bout, with his last loss coming versus countryman and de facto junior lightweight king Takashi Uchiyama in Jan. '11, his first bid at a major title.
His two-year reign (and counting) extends to his title winning effort over Gamaliel Diaz in Apr. '13. Each of his past four fights have come versus opposition from Mexico, including a trip overseas for his first title defense versus Sergio 'Yeyo' Thompson in Aug. '13.
The showdown with Dib marks his first title fight among his current reign against a fighter not of Mexican descent, as his previous streak has prompted boxing observers to dub him as the "Mexican killer" of the 130 lb. division.
Dib (39-3, 23KOs) has managed three consecutive wins following confirmation that he was done in the featherweight division. The 29-year old from Australia rose to prominence during his early years as a prospect to watch, though losing some of the luster after a dull performance in a losing effort versus Steven Luevano in Oct. '08.
Included among an 18-fight unbeaten streak that followed was his vacant title winning effort over streaking Jorge Lacierva in July '11. Two successful defenses followed before running into unbeaten Evgeny Gradovich in March '13, dropping a competitive decision in a title losing effort. Their rematch was far more damaging, as Dib was battered into submission in the 9th round of a one-sided rout in their Nov. '13 clash in Macau.
The bout was his last in the featherweight division, having won three in a row since moving up in weight.
Read on to see how the staff at BoxingScene.com believes Friday’s junior lightweight action plays out.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: TAKASHI MIURA vs. BILLY DIB
Ryan Burton (Miura mid-rds TKO): Miura is still close to his prime while Dib has seen better days. I see this fight ending between round 6-8.
Jake Donovan (Miura TKO10): I'd have loved Billy's chances in this fight a couple of years ago. The move up in weight is a necessity, but he's in for a tall order against a now established titlist in Miura, who really looks like the second best junior lightweight in the world. A competitve fight early eventually reaches a point where Dib hopes to go 12 rounds, but is ultimately stopped against his will via attrition or by his corner in between rounds.
Takahiro Onaga (Miura TKO6): Miura bludgeon Dib around half way mark. This might be very ugly for Dib fans.
Cliff Rold (Miura Dec.): Dib is coming up in weight and wasn't physically imposing at 126. Miura has done nothing but improve since a loss to Uchiyama.
Victor Salazar (Miura mid-rds KO): Dib maybe took the better financial fight for himself as he was slated to face Puerto Rican Jose Pedraza. But this will be a much tougher and taxing fight. Miura’s power is real and it will show with a middle round knockout.
Reynaldo Sanchez (Miura late TKO): All his world title fights Dib lost in the past, now against one of the best in this weight class, we believe it will be difficult once again.
Alexey Sukachev (Miura TKO8): Miura is a well-established boxer-puncher whilst Dib, who is one year younger than his opponent, is already sliding down following his two bitter defeats from Evgueny Gradovich. Can't believe he will last much lomger after the midst of the fight. Knocked down once or twice, with his face bleeding profusely, Dib will either be stopped on advice of his team or will be save from more punishment by the ref.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox