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Dib moving up in weight for return

Billy Dib, fresh off a title in his rematch with Evgeny Gradovich, will try his hand at junior lightweight. Chris Farina/Top Rank

Former featherweight titlist Billy Dib is looking to give it another go and is doing so by returning to the scene of his title loss.

Dib, who is moving up to the junior lightweight division, will take on Alberto Garza in a 10-round bout that will open a special Wednesday night edition of "Friday Night Fights" on July 2 (ESPN2, 9 p.m. ET) at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

It was at Foxwoods in March 2012, also on FNF, that Dib lost a hard-fought split decision and his 126-pound world title to late replacement opponent Evgeny Gradovich.

After rebounding with a difficult majority-decision win against Mike Oliver last July, Dib faced Gradovich in a November rematch in Macau and had his head handed to him. Gradovich dropped Dib in the sixth round and pounded him out in the ninth round of a one-sided beating.

Now Dib (36-3, 21 KOs), 28, of Australia, is moving up to 130 pounds and looking to get back on track, even if it means returning to a place that does not hold fond memories.

"I'm grateful for fighting again at a beautiful venue like Foxwoods," said Dib, who is promoted by rap star Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. "I have no demons [fighting there]. I am blessed for what I already achieved and hungry to achieve more."

Dib, who turned pro as a lightweight in 2004, felt it was time to move up in weight after spending years draining himself to make featherweight.

"I have been making featherweight for the past 10 years and felt that I was losing some power due to slight struggles making weight," Dib said. "I feel stronger now and I am excited about attempting to win another world title in a different division. That's definitely my goal. I have done it before and know what it takes. I can't put a time frame on it. I will be patient and work hard to achieve another world title, God willing."

Garza (26-7-1, 21 KOs), 29, of Mexico, has lost two of his last three bouts. He suffered a fourth-round knockout at the hands of defending featherweight titlist Nicholas Walters in November and a 12-round unanimous-decision loss in March against Jose Pedraza, an undefeated former Olympian and one of Puerto Rico's best prospects.

"I know Garza has the Mexican heart that you can never underestimate," Dib said. "He is very experienced, fought and won [regional] titles and is dangerous. But I will be ready."

In the scheduled 12-round main event, junior lightweight Mark Davis (18-0, 5 KOs) of Cleveland will face the Philippines' Michael Farenas (38-4-4, 30 KOs) in a title eliminator making the winner the mandatory challenger for the winner of the July 10 rematch between 130-pound titlist Argenis Mendez and Rances Barthelemy.