Daniel Dubois has worked towards this moment for his entire life. On Saturday night, Dubois gets his shot at the unified heavyweight title. To achieve his goal, he must overcome one of the most difficult tasks in world boxing. He must beat modern great, Oleksandr Usyk. For the latest fight odds, visit our sportsbook.
As the WBA’s mandatory challenger, Dubois stepped into the breach when talks for an undisputed mega fight between Usyk and Tyson Fury ground to a complete halt and now has the opportunity to turn the division on its head.
The 25-year-old Londoner responded well to the setback he suffered when Joe Joyce stopped him back in 2020. He has recorded four straight stoppage victories since but has never faced a challenge like this. Joyce was always regarded as a very stiff test but with youth on his side, Dubois was favoured to win. There were also clear pathways to victory for the heavy handed Dubois against Joyce. He knew he would be able to land punches.
Facing Usyk is a whole different matter. Dubois is the younger, stronger man and hits much harder. That’s where his advantages end. He will need to be faster, smarter and more accurate than ever before and will need to hold his nerve in the midst of a frenzied atmosphere.
As his day of destiny draws near, we look back at three fights which characterise Dubois’ career.
W KO5 Nathan Gorman, Copperbox Arena, July 2019
Dubois breezed his way to British title level, only veteran American, Kevin Johnson, able to last the distance. Gorman promised to pose a different level of threat. Unbeaten himself in 16 fights with fast hands, decent power and a fierce determination, Gorman had the support of plenty of fans and lots of boxing insiders considered the fight to be a very risky piece of business for Dubois.
It didn’t turn out that way. Dubois dominated from the start. He was too big, too fast and just too powerful for Gorman who was floored in the third and finished in the fifth. Dubois dealt with the occasion and expectation well and never allowed Gorman to find his rhythm. For a young and relatively untested heavyweight pitched into his first true test, this was as good as it gets.
L TKO10 Joe Joyce, London, November 2020
In a quiet, eery venue in the midst of a global pandemic, Dubois faced off with Joe Joyce. It was an all too rare example of unbeaten fighters agreeing to put everything on the line to decide who moves on to the next level and who has a little more learning to do. For two well known, well promoted heavyweights to meet at such an early stage of their careers is almost unheard of. For them to do it behind closed doors made this a totally unique situation.
From the very outset it became clear that was was going to be a severe test of Dubois’ credentials. Joyce had been expected to plough forward and attempt to walking through Dubois’ power punches in order to close the distance. Instead, he cleverly moved around. He used his unorthodox herky-jerky rhythm to set up a ramrod jab that immediately found a home. The fight was a nip and tuck affair with both men landing heavy shots but while Joyce’s phenomenal chin held up, Dubois’ eye began to swell alarmingly.
Eventually, the pain of a damaged eye socket became too much and although two judges had Dubois ahead when he sank to a knee in round ten, the scorecards were rendered irrelevant.
Dubois walked directly into another fight. Accused of committing boxing’s cardinal sin, Dubois had to sit quietly and listen to his heart, desire and ability being called into question.
W KO4 Trevor Bryan, Miami, June 2022
After rebounding from the Joyce defeat with two confidence boosting lopsided victories, Dubois found himself in Miami at the rundown, leaky Casino Miami Jai Ala competing for the WBA regular heavyweight title. It was a bizarre setting and a strange event. Desperate for another sliver of the heavyweight title, famed promoter Don King was attempting to guide Bryan into position for a shot at one of the belts.
Bryan – unbeaten but untested – had absolutely nothing for Dubois who used advantages in size, speed and power to perfection before landing a beautiful short left hook to end matters in the fourth round. Dubois seemed to enjoy his American adventure and certainly impressed observers with the brutal manner of his victory.
Bryan offers very little in terms of preparing Dubois for the top names in the division but the victory proved ‘Dynamite’ belonged in the group of heavyweights vying for a crack at one of the big boys and picking up the WBA belt guaranteed him a shot. He may not have expected that shot to come so soon but Dubois has been the major beneficiary of the painfully slow negotiations between Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder. This weekend he has the chance to blow the heavyweight scene apart.