BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Greenwich heavyweight Daniel Dubois faces Joe Joyce tomorrow night – with the victor achieving so much more than just claiming the vacant European title.
The British and Commonwealth belts are also on the line – in a bout to be shown on BT Sport – but the man who has his hand raised will also send out a statement to the elite fighters in the division.
Dubois is a heavy betting favourite despite the fact that Joyce is an Olympic silver medallist and is also undefeated in the professional ranks.
It is a major step up in calibre of opposition for the South Londoner, who had blown away all of his opposition apart from ring-savvy American Kevin Johnson, who survived but was wiped out on the scorecards.
Here’s what both men – and promoter Frank Warren – had to say about a quality match-up at Westminster’s Church House.
“It’s 40 years of promoting for me on December 1 and this is the most mouth-watering fight, three days before that anniversary. What makes it special? They are tremendous heavyweights who have done everything asked so far.
“It rarely happens that they do fight at this stage of their careers, but when the fight was put out they both wanted it and didn’t take a backward step. That tells you their self-belief. They believe they have the beating of each other. There is no give in either of them. Joe’s got tremendous amateur experience, was robbed of the gold medal in the Olympics. He brings that to the table. Daniel has dedicated his life to boxing and look at what he has done after having had just seven senior amateur fights? On the day you have all the experience and punching power of Joe and we have the young hungry lion who wants to get out and show what he has got.
“Daniel is a tremendous puncher and capturing everyone’s imagination. It’s got the ingredients of an amazing, amazing fight. Whatever happens the winner will become new mandatory for the WBO or fight Usyk for the vacant title if Anthony Joshua fights Tyson Fury.
“People talk about Daniel like he is a one-trick pony and just has a big punch, but he has a great jab. It is superb. Every fight he brings something else. Joe will bring the best out of him. That’s why it is a phenomenal fight.
“How do I see it? Whoever controls this fight from the beginning will be the winner. This is it — a big moment in time for both of them. The winner is in the big time. If you’re going to watch any fight this year or in the next 12 months this is the one.”
“I feel confident and left no stone unturned in training. I am not intimidated by his experience.
“He has never been in with a fighter like me before and I’m ready to go. I’ve accomplished what I’ve needed to and it’s my destiny. You can argue some guys he beat were past their prime. I am young and hungry. I am ready to go 12 rounds no problem if I have to. I am ready for a long, hard fight but also a quick one.
“I have the power in both hands to take him out. I will break him down and chop him up. People haven’t seen the best of me. This fight will show I can do something else.
“I am looking forward to showing my whole repertoire and skill. I want to win in devastating fashion and knock him out. I want to send a clear message to the rest of the fighters in the heavyweight division and to the world that I am coming. I’m ready for war.”
“I am not under pressure. I am confident and ready to do the business. The bookies have Daniel in a good position so he has the pressure to deliver.
“I’m the underdog and coming to take him out. I don’t care if people have written me off. My amateur experience makes a difference. I have been there and been tested. There are no questions about my ability and my achievements.
“Dubois hasn’t done anything in the senior amateurs or quite yet in the pros. I feel I have achieved more in my fewer professional fights than he has. I have had the test and answered questions. I’m in a place where I’m ready to go for that world title. I have seen him knockout guys, but do you think I wouldn’t have knocked out those guys? I have power in both hands, I have a good chin, my engine is good and I’m ready to go 12 rounds if need be.
“If I see the opportunity I will punch him until he’s down. If his power doesn’t put me down he is in a heap of trouble. I’ve taken big punches and kept going forward. I prefer not to take them big shots. I want to move out of the way and not get hit. I’m not blessed with speed but I hit the target and keep coming. I don’t want to leave it to chance.
“I want to go to work, find my range and knock him out. I have nothing to say to him except respect your elders and he will do on Saturday night.”
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