British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Daniel Dubois faces by far and away the toughest test of his abilities to date when he battles the 2016 Olympic Games silver medallist Joe Joyce at the O2 Arena on Saturday, April 11th. The fight will be broadcast in the UK on BT Sports and streamed in the USA on the ESPN++ app.
The 22-year-old Dubois starts as favourite in this fight but there are plenty of knowledgeable fight heads that will tell you that the younger man by 12 years could be facing the first man that will meet him head-on and trade on level terms until one of them can’t take anymore. They don’t call Joe Joyce ‘The Juggernaut’ for nothing.
It is quite easy to imagine Dubois hitting Joyce’s high held guard with his best punches round after round while being forced onto the back-foot because that is how the 34-year-old from Putney in North London operates. Good fighters Iago Kiladze, Joe Hanks, Bermane Stiverne, Alexander Ustinov, and Bryant Jennings who have faced Joyce in his last five outings can all verify that he is a hard man to discourage.
Dubois supporters will attest to the fact that their man hits so much harder than Joyce but that is not always the determining factor when you are facing a man with such an extensive amateur background and possibly the better professional resume.
Dubois has been cleverly matched thus far. Promoter Frank Warren will tell you that his Greenwich, South London client’s last fight resulted in a 2nd round knockout of the WBO world #2 ranked heavyweight, but anyone with real knowledge of the sport knew that the untested Kyotaro Fujimoto was little more than target practice for Daniel and another chance for a spectacular showreel knockout.
But there are performances that do prove the level that he is capable of performing at. The October 2018 ten round decision win over former world title challenger Kevin Johnson showed that the youngster could win without flattening the opposition. The British heavyweight title showdown with unbeaten Nathan Gormon in July last year showed that Dubois could perform under real pressure, I mean the mental pressure when you are in a 50/50 fight scenario with the world’s press watching. Daniel’s performance that night was measured, controlled and spiteful.
It’s hard to remember the last time we had a British heavyweight title fight of such relevance in terms of world title rankings but it would be fair to say that the winner will put himself among the top contenders. Fights with the likes of Dillian Whyte, Oleksandr Usyk, Joseph Parker, Alexander Povetkin, Michael Hunter or Kubrat Pulev will surely determine a mandatory contender for Joshua, Wilder or Fury at some stage in the near future.
Joyce and Dubois know each other well having sparred together so their styles will be no real surprise to one-another. So who holds what advantages? Dubois has that huge right-hand but he can also land a devastating left hook to the body. The jab is the key with Dubois though. He has one of the best jabs in boxing and if he can use it while under that imposing forward pressure that he will face from Joyce then it could be a fight winning weapon.
Joyce is extremely tough and has wins over far more experienced boxers who could not contain him through boxing ability. Bryant Jennings is still a fighter that many promoters avoid for their up and coming prospects, he is competitive with any contender around today and yet Joyce handled him with relative ease other than when he was hurt with a body shot. Dubois has still yet to be tested by a fighter with this sort of experience and desire, so the edge in experience is definitely with the North Londoner.
So what do you like the most? Youth and power or experience and toughness?
Prediction: Dubois to win by stoppage inside 8 rounds.