Dib fights for late mate, Ali

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - - SPORT - JAMIE PANDARAM

A MIL­LION­AIRE with a flashy life­style who turned to char­ity work af­ter be­ing di­ag­nosed with cancer will be the in­spi­ra­tion for Billy Dib’s world ti­tle fight in August.

Ali Banat, one of Dib’s clos­est friends, passed away last Tues­day at 32 af­ter a three­year bat­tle with lung cancer.

The busi­ness­man used to flaunt his Fer­rari, Louis Vuit­ton shoes and gold bracelets worth $60,000 each.

But af­ter be­ing given his cancer di­ag­no­sis in 2015 and be­ing told he had seven months to live, Banat ded­i­cated him­self to char­ity.

He raised more than $1 mil­lion, which went to­wards build­ing a school and hospi­tal for or­phans in the African na­tion of Togo.

Dib will take on Amer­i­can Tevin Farmer for the IBF su­per-feath­er­weight ti­tle in Syd­ney on Fri­day, August 3, with the words “In Mem­ory Of Ali Banat” em­bla­zoned on his shorts.

“He was one of a kind, he was such a pos­i­tive per­son even though he was suf­fer­ing,” Dib said. “At the funeral, his broth­ers told me I need to win this fight for Ali, and I will.

“Ali be­lieved this life is tem­po­rary, he wasn’t scared to die, he was pre­par­ing him­self by do­ing char­ity work, feed­ing and cloth­ing or­phans.

“We spoke a week be­fore he passed. He told me to go out there and do my best and, no mat­ter what, peo­ple would be proud of me. We were su­per close. God called him back, so he had to go.”

Dib (43-4, 24KO) and Farmer (25-4-1, 5KO) will fight for the va­cant ti­tle for­feited by Ja­pan’s Kenichi Ogawa, who failed a drug test af­ter he beat Farmer.

Boxer Billy Dib with his late friend Ali Banat

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