Amir Khan is promising a special show against Billy Dib this Friday on the massive ‘Red Sea Fight Night’ extravaganza as he looks to make Saudi Arabia the centre of the boxing world.
The Two-Time World Champion makes his big Middle East debut at the King Abdullah Sport City stadium in Jeddah when he takes on Billy Dib for the Vacant WBC International Welterweight Championship, exclusively live in the UK on Channel 5 and 5Spike.
Khan met face-to-face with Dib at the final press conference today at the Jeddah Hilton Hotel and said that this is just the beginning of his plan to bring big-time boxing to the region with the support of the Saudi General Sports Authority.
The fight is being held during Saudi Season that aims to promote the nation as a world leading tourist destination.
“It’s a very exciting time for boxing in the Middle East and myself and my partner Bill Dosanjh are pioneering the move with our Super Boxing League in the region,” Said Khan.
“My fight with Dib is breaking new ground here and I want to put on a real show for the public that have not seen big championship boxing before or have only seen it on TV. I’m sure once they see it and feel the excitement, it will give them a big appetite for it so they can’t wait to see the next show,”
“This is just the start of our plans, we intend to make Saudi Arabia a big-fight capital just like Las Vegas, New York and London and in time I believe that it will be just as big as those cities.”
“Through our Super Boxing League teams the Jeddah Sharks and Tigers we aim to discover and develop the first stars of Saudi boxing and help to create exciting talent in this largely untapped area of potential,”
“Also, we have just opened the Super Boxing Gym in partnership with Fitness Time to bring boxing training initially to eight properties in Saudi Arabia and can expand to 140 properties throughout the KSA that will give incredible access for people to train in boxing.”
“The dream would be to help discover the first Saudi boxing World Champion or help to take the first Saudi boxer to Olympic Gold, that is our aim and this is just the beginning.”
Amir Khan and Billy Dib gave Saudi fight fans a glimpse of what to expect ahead of their big fight this Friday night when they performed a public work-out in the Red Sea Mall in Jeddah.
Two-Time World Champions Khan and Dib will meet at the King Abdullah Sports City stadium with the Vacant WBC International Welterweight Championship on the line, exclusively live in the UK on Channel 5 and 5Spike.
Khan was put through his paces by trainer Clarence “Bones” Adams and fitness and strength conditioner Alex Ariza and was given a huge reception from the hundreds of spectators who filled the floors. The Bolton star of Pakistani heritage is the first and only high-profile Muslim boxer to have headlined in The Kingdom.
The 32-year-old looked sharp and fast as he unloaded big shots on Bones’ hand pads to the delight of the fans, for many it was their first time seeing a superstar boxer like Khan up close.
Khan is thrilled to making his Middle East debut and has promised more appearance in the future. He said, “This is my first time fighting in Jeddah and I’m going to make the most of this. I’ve fought all over the world, Las Vegas, New York, London, but it’s going to be great fighting in Jeddah, I want to create history and I want to bring big fights to Saudi Arabia, I want big fights in Jeddah.”
Dib took the fight with Khan after the original opponent Neeraj Goyat withdrew after being involved in a car crash, but Amir is ready for the change of opponent.
He added, “Sometimes it can be hard when you have a replacement opponent. It’s been hard because I’ve working on an opponent from India, Goyat, so what I have to do is change my game plan for this fight. Billy’s a great fighter and a two-time world champion and he’s coming to win so we have to change up a little bit, but I’m ready,”
He finished by promising to deliver an exciting performance for his new audience and is looking to forward to returning to Saudi Arabia soon.
Khan said, “Me and dib, we are both ex-world champions, we’re going to put on a great performance for the fans to enjoy. A win will give me a top five ranking in the world. We are going to see fireworks and there will be many more events like this in the future.”
Australian Dib didn’t give away too much as he did some light shadow boxing in the ring as he looks to cause a shock and defeat the heavy favourite Khan.
Dib said, “This is an amazing experience for me to be allowed to fight here and I can’t wait. I can definitely win this it’s a great opportunity for myself. Amir’s a great fighter and beaten some legends but I’m going to do whatever I can to win.”
Other British fighters on the packed ‘Red Sea Fight Night’ show were in action at the Red Sea Mall workout were Hughie Fury, who takes on former WBC World Heavyweight Champion Samuel Peter; Prince Patel, who faces Venezuelan punch Michell Banquez for the IBO World Bantamweight Championship and middleweight sensation Michael Hennessy who has his second professional fight.
It’s Ashes summer and like any true-born Australian worth his salt, Dib is intent on a spot of Brit-bashingKhan v Dib headlines a huge night of fights and entertainment in Jeddah, Saudi ArabiaFury v Peter, Patel v Banquez, Penalosa v Dlamini in big championship title actionStars Lennox Lewis, Chuck Liddell, Israel Adesanya at ringside with rap megastars Rick Ross and Tyga performing LIVE at the King Abdullah Sports CityJedda
On Friday 12th July, Billy Dib, the Two-Time World Champion from Sydney, Australia, front’s up to Bolton, England’s, Amir Khan at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and he’s already launching bouncers around ‘King Khan’s’ ears.
‘This is a one-off fight at welterweight for me and Amir Khan is absolutely the right guy for me to fight,’ states the 33 year old who can count on a 15 year and 52-fight pro career for experience.
‘Put it this way, you’d have to offer me a ridiculous amount, well into eight figures, to step into a ring with Manny Pacquiao. Your health is everything. But Amir Khan certainly isn’t Manny Pacquiao. ‘Look, Amir definitely WAS a great champion, a proven warrior who’s made his mark on the game. He could be a future Hall of Famer. In time, I hope the boxing world will fully appreciate his skillset. ‘But in the past few years there’s been a major decline, a lot of chinks have emerged. He’s no longer the fighter who schooled the likes of Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana. Today, he’s fighting for different reasons….money!’
Like the Bolton wonder, ‘Billy the Kid’ commenced his career in the lighter categories -fighting eight world championship fights between 126-130lbs – and is effectively jumping up three weight categories to challenge Khan. No problem, he insists.
‘When I landed in Saudi at the end of June, I was already in great shape,’ claims Dib who enters after a spectacular first round knockout victory in late April and whose only loss in his last eight was an IBF World title tilt at Tevin Farmer last August.
‘For the first time in my boxing career, I’ve not needed to worry about my weight. I’ll be far stronger, more thickset and hopefully I’ll carry my speed up cos I’m quick, too. Everybody knows I’m a quality body puncher and I’ll be bringing even more strength and power. I’ll definitely test Khan. I really fancy my chances.’
A triple national amateur champion, bustling Billy represented Oz at the World Juniors and Seniors (Cuba 2002 and Thailand 2003 respectively) and has previously starred as a pro in Britain, the US (ten times), Macau, Japan and Thailand. However, this will be his debut in the region of his ancestry.
‘I’m super, super excited to finally fight in the Middle East. It’s always been a mystery to me why boxing has been so slow to take off in the area,’ he says.
And he’s galvanised to deliver a career best showing.
‘If I don’t bring my absolute A game, I’ll get exposed,’ he concedes.
‘Amir’s a super-fast starter and brings amazing hand speed but once my eye is gauged to that speed, I’ll sort out the game plan. Sometimes that speed works against Amir. The times he’s been kayoed, have been when he gets carried away and becomes reckless. I may not be a one punch ‘lights out’ fighter but I’ve certainly got the power to inflict damage.
‘I expect it to be a stylish fight rather than a war. Amir’s the naturally bigger man so I’ll need to box out of my skin, like I did in the amateurs. I win because I’m the more intelligent fighter. In past fights, I’ve proved I can be a mover, a boxer, a puncher. I can diversify.
‘The only way I win is to lay him out. I’m gonna ice him!’
Check Billy out on Instagram @BillyDib.The event titled Red Sea Fight Night during the Saudi Seasons is a boxing extravaganza with three further big Championship titles fights on the show: Hughie Fury vs. Samuel Peter; Prince Patel vs. Michell Banquez – IBO World Bantamweight Championship; Dave Penalosa vs. Lerato Dlamini – WBC Silver Featherweight Championship.
An action packed undercard also features British middleweight talent Michael Hennessy Jr. vs Abdul Julaidan Fatah; Super-bantamweight contest Amandeep Singh vs Shakhobidin Zoirov; Lightweight contest Zuhayr Al Qahtani vs. Farhad Hazratzada; Super-featherweight contest Lolito Sonsona vs. Isack Junior; Welterweight contest Rodrigo Caraballo vs. Sajid Abid and Heavyweight Contest Ali Kiydin vs. Hemi Ahio.
Khan v Dib is exclusively live in the UK on free-to-air Channel 5 and the undercard on 5Spike on Friday 12th July.