A literal plethora of questions were in need of answering ahead of ACE Boxing’s Dib vs Ng card on Saturday night. For the most part, boxing fans came away from the event with a greater understanding about those participating in the six title fights on the Gold Coast.
Although the result of the main event between two converging fighters, Billy Dib and Jacob Ng, left us somewhat disappointed, the remaining pugilists provided clarity around the state of their careers.
Whether it be promising youngsters providing a glimpse into their potential or crafty veterans showcasing their abilities, some statements were made.
Here are the moments from a solid night of boxing that got tongues talking.
And the winner is… controversy
Australian boxing has been no stranger to controversy and in recent years the sport has experienced a fair share of polarising incidents. Saturday night’s main event between Jacob Ng (15-1, 11 KOs) and Billy Dib (48-6, 27 KOs) added to the growing trend.
Before the opening bell even sounded, yet another glove related drama occurred. As Ng danced his way to the ring, opposing trainer Billy Hussein remained eagle eyed, noticing a rip in the glove of ‘The Flamingo.’
Consequently, the bout was delayed briefly as cornermen and officials went through a re-gloving process. This ordeal paled in comparison to how the fight would end, though.
Across five hard-fought rounds, it was clear that both men were steadfast in their game plans. For the younger Ng, much of his work revolved around pressure, trapping Dib against the ropes on numerous occasions and fighting on the inside.
Conversely, Dib used every ounce of the veteran savvy that he has accrued across his decorated career. In doing so, the 36 year old grabbed and held often, at times punching in the clinch.
In all, Dib did have some success, but it was clear that Ng was in control at the halfway point of the contest. He had landed the heavier punches, increased his volume and was seemingly unflustered.
Then things came to ahead.
After Dib had again locked up the head after an exchange, Ng used a bucking action to free himself. As a result, Billy ‘The Kid’ was flipped in body slam fashion onto the canvas, causing a disqualification.
From the impact of the fall, Dib remained almost motionless on the canvas, at times moving only to gasp for air.
Tempers quickly flared between opposing corners, but soon died down as all involved realised that the health of Dib remained paramount. Thankfully, the two-time World champion later confirmed that he has taken the first steps towards recovery.
Overall, the manner in which the main event ended put somewhat of a dampener on proceedings. The loss might be made all more frustrating for Ng, by the fact that he was leading on all three scorecards at the time (48-47 x 2, 50-45).
It is almost certain that the 27 year old will bounce back. Losing his WBO Oriental and IBF International Lightweight titles to Dib in this way will spur him on to continue his climb through the world rankings.
That said, the first blemish on his record will forever remain an unforgettable one.
‘The Machine’ takes bruising encounter
The back and forth jibes between Justin ‘Iceman’ Frost (12-2-1, 4 KOs) and Blake Minto (14-2-2, 3 KOs) in the lead up to their IBF Asia Oceania title fight provided a funny side attraction to fight week. However, we knew that their 10 round meeting was going to be anything but humorous.
Having been scheduled to face each other last year before COVID delayed plans, both combatants were champing at the bit make the walk to the ring.
As such, the pair only competed once each in 2021 due to these cancellations. Frost put a stamp on his jaw-dropping trilogy with Waylon Law (12-9, 3 KOs), while Minto fought gallantly in a fast-paced bout with Jacob Ng.
From the moment the first bell sounded, Minto went about living up to his ‘Machine’ moniker. At every turn, the 29 year old worked hard to cramp Frost and limit his usually high output.
As a result, a large majority of the fight was spent in the pocket. Both fighters pressed into each other and looked to land clean shots.
It was Minto though, that scored the more effective punches. Of note, a slick left hook to end combinations found its way around Frost’s guard on a number of occasions.
Frost would in fact find a way to implement his trademark work rate in rounds nine and ten, but the result had probably already been determined. Though the judges differed in opinions on proceedings, Minto was declared a worthy winner via split decision (94-96, 96-94, 97-93).
The triumph ranks as Minto’s biggest to date and adds to a trophy cabinet that already holds the lesser-rated WBF World title.
It also throws his name into the mix for potential future match ups with some of the biggest names in Australia’s Super Lightweight division, such as the hard hitting Stevie Spark (13-2, 12 KOs).
Expect Blake Minto to be a fighter on your television screen again this year.
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Telford return packs a punch
Fighting for the first time since his highly entertaining decision loss to Darragh Foley (19-4-1, 9 KOs) in December 2020, Ty Telford (7-1-1, 3 KOs) picked up exactly where he left off, securing a stunning second round stoppage of ultra tough Queenslander Tysinn Best (14-4, 4 KOs).
Both men found comfort on the inside and from the opening seconds of the fight, engaged at close range. The action could literally be described as head to head, with each taking turns landing upper cuts and body punches.
Despite Best’s willingness to engage, Telford got the better of the exchanges early and controlled the ring for much of the opening round.
The second continued in similar fashion, but by now the fighter known as ‘Trigger’ began to stalk Best. After trapping his foe against the ropes again, Telford established a comfortable distance and began raining down a series of thumping blows.
With Best no longer defending himself intelligently, referee Phil Holiday stepped in to end proceedings.
In another era, the stoppage might have won the official some backlash for coming too early. Ultimately though, his intentions should be applauded. The lack of protest from Best and his corner signified that the right decision was made.
In victory, Telford was also awarded the ANBF Australasian Welterweight title, a phenomenal feat given he accepted the fight on short notice.
Now, the 24 year old will surely be aiming to climb the ranks of the division after reminding boxing fans of his action packed fighting style.
Aokuso strikes gold
Of all fighters that competed on Saturday night’s card, none shone brighter in terms of future potential than Cruiserweight Austin Aokuso (2-0, 1 KO).
In just his second professional bout, the 23 year old won a unanimous decision (79-73, 77-75, 78-74) against fellow rising big man, Ricky Esilva (4-1, 3 KOs), capturing the Queensland Cruiserweight title in the process.
Aokuso fought in a composed fashion, using a particularly strong jab in the early rounds. As the fight drew on, the southpaw began to find a home for an educated left hand against his orthodox opponent.
More impressive still, he kept calm in the face of fire. As Esilva increased his tempo from round six, Aokuso weaved in and out of danger, all while landing jabs to both body and head.
Though fans might be more familiar with older brother and 2020 Olympian Paulo, Austin will be hoping to emerge from the shadow cast by his sibling. Taking home the first belt in his promising professional career is a strong step in this direction.
ACE broadcast deal gets a huge tick
In recent years, ACE Boxing have bounced between streaming platforms in an effort to give fans the opportunity to watch their events. From the pay-per-view service Epicentre to the mainstream YouTube, the promotion have found ways to showcase their bouts, albeit with a lack of convenience.
This has seemingly turned a corner however, with the entire Dib vs Ng card airing live on beIN Sports and Kayo. Although these channels are restricted by a paywall, the move to the broadcaster should be heralded as a success, given the accessibility that television provides.
While the promotion may not boast the star power of domestic rivals, their appeal comes from a dedication to an ethos of ’50-50′ match making. Event after event, ACE work to ensure that cards are filled with even contests.
Moreover, it is a clear sign that Australian boxing is going through a major boom period, with another broadcaster willing to pick up the sport domestically.
In the end, is more boxing on TV a bad thing for the sport?
For all the results from ACE Boxing’s Dib vs Ng, click here.
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