One is a calm, publicity shy heavyweight who lets his fists do the talking. The other is fame hungry, fiery and chaotic. Daniel Dubois and Jake Paul couldn’t be more different but this weekend, they have something in common. They will both be looking to create a viral moment.
Dubois has been a headliner since early on in his career so the news that he would be fighting Joe Cusumano on the undercard of the clash between Paul and Tyron Woodley raised plenty of eyebrows. The Snapchat generation don’t care about potential and promise, they want controversy and talking points and Paul pretty much guarantees both. Heavy handed Dubois has spent his career creating his own form of spectacular content so sending the 32Red ambassador to be part of the circus and the inevitable media storm was a no-brainer.
Unless you are the Beatles, cracking America can be a long, difficult process. Sending a young fighter across the Atlantic as a mandatory challenge or underdog is is one thing but getting them a pure showcase spot is something else.
“It’s not easy at all. It’s a tough thing to do and the reason he’s on this card is to help him crack America,” Frank Warren told 32Red. “He has had his fights shown in the States on ESPN but this means real eyeballs for him. It’s all about promotion and we’re promoting our fighter and getting him recognition over there.
“It’s a good stage and now he’s gotta make the most of it. He’s not got an easy fight. It won’t be a walk in the park but we all know he’s got this explosive power and that’s what we want to see. We want to see him blast somebody out. This is a great opportunity to showcase his talent and he has to show what he can do.”
For decades, America was the home of major heavyweight fights but although Deontay Wilder stoically carried the torch for a long time and reignited American interest in the sport’s blue riband division, European fighters have dominated in recent times.
But whilst elite fighters like Wladimir Klitchsko and Anthony Joshua have thrilled European audiences for years, their stateside outings failed to impress and they returned home to continue racking up title defences. On the other hand, Tyson Fury has taken the American market by storm and is lauded.
Even though the number of American fighters participating at the very highest level of the sport has waned, it remains the place to be if you want to earn both worldwide recognition and the financial rewards that go with it.
“I think it is. Firstly you build your attraction here and work hard at it. The Klitschkos would fight in Germany and get 30 to 50 thousand people buying tickets. Similar for Anthony Joshua. That compensates for the lack of revenue they’ll get in the States,” Warren said. “The Americans showed some Klitschko fights but they just weren’t their style. They weren’t dynamic enough for them. Joshua flopped on his debut.
“As far as cracking America, it’s a massive PPV market and if you can get it right it’s the place to be. Daniel wants to become a big attraction over there. You’ve all seen the PPV revenue and gate money available. It can generate in excess of 150m dollars.
“This will be a good experience for Daniel. To be honest even I don’t really know what to expect from it all. It’s outside of anything I’ve done.”
Should Dubois win, Warren is hoping he can get Dubois the opportunity to upgrade his interim WBA belt for the regular title currently held by unbeaten American Trevor Bryant. Talks are ongoing and a decision should be made soon.
“We’re really pushing the WBA and I hope they get their act together on it. I think that’s the perfect next step for Dan.”
A few hours before the extravaganza in Cleveland, BT Sport will televise a card packed with real title action from Birmingham. Akeem Ennis-Brown defends his British and Commonwealth junior welterweight titles against Sam Maxwell, Anthony Cacace and Lyon Woodstock seem certain to go to war for the Northern Irishman’s British super featherweight belt and Ijaz Ahmed and Quaise Khademi rematch for the British belt at super flyweight. Ahmed won the first fight.
Expect to see more and more multi title cards from BT. Promising young fighters will also get regular opportunities to impress on the new Prospect Series.
“They’re really good, quality fights. They’re all fifty-fifty matches and there’s gonna be a great atmosphere there because the lads are all well supported,” Warren said. “It’s a shame we lost the Brad Foster fight but he’ll fighting in October. What a good card it is. If you’re a neutral you’re gonna have a real good night of entertainment watching that.”
“This is what our policy is going to be at the moment. We’re putting on the new series of smaller shows on the Friday nights to highlight the youngsters and give them the opportunity to impress and this is going to be the way forward for us.”