A successful return to the ring for Daniel Dubois
Daniel Dubois immediately declared a rematch with nemesis Joe Joyce remains high on his career wishlist after making his return to the ring with a spectacular second round knockout of Romanian Bogdan Dinu.
Shaking off the demons of his first career defeat last November to Joyce, Dubois claimed the World Boxing Association Interim heavyweight title in the rarified atmosphere of one thousand fans in Telford on Saturday.
The 23-year-old’s burgeoning career was de-railed last year and he was labelled "a quitter" – anathema to any fighter – when he took a knee in the tenth round of his contest against Joyce for the British, European and Commonwealth titles. Having been peppered by Joyce’s jab all night, and with his left eye closing, Dubois genuflected and gave up the bout, although it was later revealed that he had suffered a broken orbital bone and nerve damage.
Now under the tutelage of trainer Shane McGuigan, Dubois completed a patient first round behind the jab before then accounting for Dinu with a huge right hand in the second period, flooring his opponent sideways on the ropes as the referee counted him out. Dubois notched the 15th stoppage of his 17-fight career, with the one defeat to Joyce.
"It feels great to be back to winning ways, I was a little nervous but I feel great. There were some nerves, but I’m human. After the loss to Joyce it didn’t take long for me to know I wanted to be back in there. This is my life," Dubois told Telegraph Sport afterwards, also commenting on his sister Caroline Dubois, who qualified in the lightweight division for the Olympic Games in Tokyo just hours earlier in Paris with the GB amateur team. "It was a great feeling knowing Caroline had done that and it gave me a huge lift in the dressing room," he explained.
While Dubois might want to avenge defeat to Joyce, promoter Frank Warren told Telegraph Sport that Queensberry Promotions will be pushing the WBA for a contest with Trevor Bryan, for the WBA’s ‘Regular’ title belt next. Bryan is promoted by veteran Don King.
"This was the test to see if Daniel still has it, and it is onwards and upwards for him. Daniel can knock anyone out in the heavyweight division and before the loss to Joyce, he was one of the most touted young heavyweights from anywhere in the world in the division. We now advance with him, and he is back, simple as that."
It will be interesting to see the long-term impact that McGuigan, who has only been working with Dubois three weeks, can make on the Greenwich fighter.
McGuigan explained: "Daniel is so young, it is still possible to mould him and he has massive potential. We have only scratched the surface given the time we have spent together, but I’m delighted to be working with one of the great young heavyweights in the world. I think we saw a few things from him how quickly he can learn and adapt."
The crowd at the arena in Telford created a thrilling atmosphere, many of them there supporting Stoke fighter Nathan Heaney who stopped Iliyan Markov in the third round to send them into rapture. Earlier on the card, Tommy Fury, the 20-year-old brother of heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury, moved to six fights undefeated with a four-round 40-36 points victory over Scotsman Jordan Grant.
A triumphant weekend in Paris saw eight further members of the GB Boxing squad secure Olympic qualification at Tokyo 2021, as Caroline Dubois, Charley Davison, Lauren Price, Luke McCormack and his twin Pat McCormack, Ben Whittaker, Cheavon Clarke and Frazer Clarke all guaranteed their places at Tokyo 2021.
It means that Great Britain now has ten boxers guaranteed to compete at this summer’s Olympic Games, with Galal Yafai and Peter McGrail having qualified in London last March.