Not all great finish are clean knockouts. Sometimes we see a fighter take a huge shot, get dropped and some how get back to their feet. Although upright they have no idea where they are, what they are doing and there is no referee in their right mind who would let the fighter continue. Today we are going to look at one of those bouts in this week's "Reliving the Finish". It was a bout that probably could have been waved off when the recipient got dropped but the fighter's spirit on show, getting them on to their feet, was genuinely very impressive.
Takashi Miura (28-2-2, 21) Vs Billy Dib (39-3-0-1, 23)
By May 2015 Japan's Takashi Miura was proving himself as a top Super Featherweight. Although technically crude he was teak tough, had a great work rate, an incredible will to win and, most obviously, serious bang in his punches. The hard hitting Japanese southpaw had been dubbed "Bomber Left" due to how vicious his left hand was. He could be out boxed, he could be out sped and out thought. He was raw, defensively open, but that worked in his favour making opponent think he was easy to hit and allowing him a chance to catch them getting greedy.
After winning the WBC Super Featherweight title, in April 2013, Miura had defended the title against a trio of Mexican challengers, Sergio Thompson, Dante Jardon and Edgar Puerta. Those wins had seen him earn a moniker as the "Mexicutioner" to go alongside his "Bomber Left" nickname. In his fourth defense however he ended a run of facing Mexicans as he faced off with Australian challenger Billy Dib.
Coming into this bout Dib was a former IBF Featherweight champion who had made 3 defenses before losing the title to Evgeny Gradovich in 2013. He would lost a rematch to Gradovichi before moving up in weight and after picking up 3 wins got a show at Miura.
Although a talented fighter, and one of the biggest names in Australian boxing, Dib was the under-dog going in. Whilst the challenger had the speed and skills to ask questions of Miura it was assumed the natural difference in power and Dib's somewhat poor defense would prove to be the difference. It was assumed, sooner or later, that Miura's power would get to Dib and either stop him, or put him into a very negative mindset of trying to just survive.
From the off Miura took center ring whilst Dib tried to use his speed and movement to circle around the outside of the ring, and try to avoid the left hand of Miura. It was mostly negative stuff from Dib, but it was a tactic to see out the early storm and get a chance to get a read on Miura's power and timing. Dib was again rather negative in round 2, landing some shots and getting back on his toes. It was smart despite not being very entertaining, and whilst he may have done enough to claim the two rounds it very much felt like he was trying to fiddling his way to victory and avoid getting hit clean.
Although it was smart from Dib it was a tactic that was going to need to be changed at some point. It wasn't a tactic that could work for 12 rounds against Miura. Sooner or later the champion was going to land.
The wait to see Miura land clean didn't take long and came in round 3.
Midway through the round Dib moved into the corner. It was something he had done numerous times through the fight. This time however he had slowed just a touch, feeling the effects of some solid body shots from Miura earlier in the round. Miura then connected with a huge left, followed by a right and another left. Down went Dib, hard.
Somehow the challenger got back to his feet, but stumbled, before the referee decided to stop the contest. Credit to Dib for getting up, but he really had no idea where he was, and was stumbling like a drunk.
On live showing it seemed it had just been a thunder bolt of a left hand that had taken out Dib. On replay however the brilliance of the combination was shown. The first left had stiffened the legs of Dib who looked out, a follow up right hook and another left hand had then finished off the job in brutal and explosive fashion.
This was a gorgeous combination to finish off a frustrating challenger, and was proof of Miura's power, and the way he could close the show when he had his man hurt.
Sadly for Miura he would lose the title 6 months later to Francisco Vargas, in a 2015 Fight of the Year contender and never managed to reclaim the title. As for Dib he managed to get another world title fight himself, losing to Tevin Farmer in 2018 for the IBF title, though was widely beaten by the slippery American.
Thinking Out East
With this site being pretty successful so far we've decided to open up about our own views and start what could be considered effectively an editorial style opinion column dubbed "Thinking Out East" (T.O.E).