Boxing’s shutdown leaves most trainers worrying about the crisis facing the sport, but forever positive Martin Bowers, trainer of a talented stable at East London’s Peacock Gym reckons it could be a blessing.
Among the fighters he trains is 32Red ambassador, Daniel Dubois who is now sweating on his huge heavyweight showdown against Joe Joyce at London’s o2 Arena on July 11 taking place. They had been due to clash on April 11 with the British, Commonwealth, European, WBC Silver and WBO International title belts on the line, but the coronavirus pandemic forced a delay.
Unbeaten Dubois (14-0, 13 KOs) has serious momentum going. He has defeated Richard Lartey, Nathan Gorman, Ebenezer Tetteh and Kyotaro Fujimoto inside the last 12 months. The Londoner has also earned top ten rankings with the WBC and WBO.
Despite the boxing calendar blackout, Bowers insists Dubois will handle being in part lockdown at home with his family that includes outrageously talented sister Caroline, a genuine Olympic gold medal hope and 15 year-old brother Prince, an English Junior champion.
Although Bowers believes Dubois will still need a serious boxing camp before facing Olympic silver medalist Joyce, he said: “I think Daniel will cope. He lives in the house with other athletes, Caroline and Prince. The set-up to their day is quite regimental.
“They get up, do their run, come back home, do what training work they can, get up and repeat it the next day. “They are all dedicated athletes so his eating habits will be good and so will other things they do. It won’t be a problem.”
Even before Dubois v Joyce was postponed, Bowers had problems getting suitable sparring partners for his stable star. “You need a date which you can channel your energy towards and we were all doing that towards April 11,” explained Bowers.
“We had sparring partners booked to come in from America around March 20, but they had to cancel because they couldn’t fly because of the coronavirus crisis.
“That threw that out so we were going to soldier on and get around it with European sparring partners for Daniel, but they wouldn’t have been the caliber of what we were looking for.”
Bowers reckons the enforced break will work well for Dubois and other fighters in his stable that includes Denzel Bentley, Chris Bourke and James Branch. “I have told the boys; ‘Maintain your fitness and tick over,’ ” says Bowers who keeps in touch with his boxers by text.
“It will do them all good if it isn’t too long because they will all comeback with an appetite and be ready to go. How long will it go on for? We don’t know. It could be a year.
“I would need Daniel and everybody back in the gym for eight weeks before they would be fighting fit although they will be back on weight and fit.
“Because of the circumstances they haven’t been having late nights or living untoward. All they have to do is sit indoors, keep well and stay healthy. “They haven’t been out so they’re not getting colds and being at home when they can’t be in the gym is fine.
“It’s not like they are coming back from a holiday when they might have been living it up. I am gutted when lads have been away for two or three weeks and come back off weight and fitness.“
As long as we all come through this healthy and lose no loved one, we will be flying.”