Billy Dib poses for a photo with his son at the hospital. Photo from Dib’s Facebook page
Former featherweight titleholder Billy Dib revealed Monday that he was diagnosed with cancer and is recovering from surgery.
The 37-year-old Australian boxer, who held the IBF featherweight title from 2011 to 2013, said on Facebook that he had been suffering from “debilitating stomach pain” about two weeks ago and was sent home with pain killers. When the pain didn’t subside, Dib’s family sent him to Norwest Private Hospital in Bella Vista, Australia, where a 5-centimeter tumor was found in his colon.
The tumor was immediately operated on, Dib said, telling Wide World of Sports that all of the tumor was removed, but it’s unsure whether he will need to undergo chemotherapy, and that additional tests are expected.
“The last 11 days have been a rollercoaster. Despite sharing the ring with some dangerous opponents in my career, this is one of the most frightening situations I have found myself in,” admits Dib (48-6, 27 knockouts), who last fought in March, defeating Jacob Ng by sixth round disqualification.
This isn’t Dib’s first battle with cancer, having lost his first wife, Sara Selim Dib, to leukemia in 2015 at age 21.
Dib says he has been unable to eat for the past nine days, which he said jokingly comes with the benefit of being able to make the 126-pound weight limit again.
“Cancer has picked the wrong opponent. I have too much to live for,” Dib wrote on Twitter.