Daniel Dubois can hit heavyweight jackpot as he bids to wrench world heavyweight titles of Oleksandr Usyk


Daniel Dubois has the chance to hit the heavyweight jackpot tomorrow night. We are soon going to find out if his gamble to face brilliant Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk pays off.

The 25-year-old Greenwich puncher will claim the IBF, WBA, WBO and IBO world titles if he can inflict a first career loss on Usyk, a superb amateur who was undisputed cruiserweight champion before moving up a division for the increased stature and significantly bigger paydays.

Dubois is a huge underdog with bookmakers offering odds of 6/1 on him prevailing in Wroclaw Stadium in Poland.

The South Londoner has not amassed a huge fanbase in his career and so will be in a hostile environment.

Usyk has underlined on numerous occasions that he is a skilled technician and the fact he is also a southpaw adds another layer of difficulty to the challenge.

At the age of 25, Dubois easily has time on his side to come again if he does return to the UK empty handed.

While there is no disputing he carries serious power – 18 of his 19 victories coming inside the distance – there are questions marks over his ability to recover from setbacks.

Dubois quit with a horrendously swollen left eye when he faced Joe Joyce in a domestic showdown in November 2020.

Dubois had been ahead on the cards but Putney’s Joyce was chipping away his resistance when the prospect went down on one knee to take the full count in the 10th round.

Since then, in brutal truth, he has been carefully matched.

Bogdan Dinu and Joe Cusumano could both be placed in the bracket of confidence-builders before Dubois won effectively an interim WBA world title in June 2022, making him mandatory challenger to Usyk with that governing body.

New York’s Trevor Bryan had boxed just once in almost 18 months and Dubois breezed to a fourth-round knockout in New York.

A first defence against Kevin Lerena looked set to be routine but the new champion was down three times in the first round, appearing to suffer a leg injury which affected his balance.

Strangely Lerena showed no great desire to go for the jugular in the second round with a fragile-looking Dubois putting the South African down twice in the third before referee Howard Foster waved it off.

If Dubois does get his hand raised this weekend then it would mean his promoter Queensberry Promotions having all the world titles at the weight – with Tyson Fury holding the WBC version.

There has been mind-numbing claim and counter-claim over why Fury has not taken on Usyk. The bottom line is that Fury has opted instead for a lucrative October 28 bout against former UFC star Francis Ngannou – with Saudi money, much as it has done in football, making the oil-rich state a major player.

Daniel Dubois (right) and Kevin Lerena in action during their WBA World Heavyweight title fight at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London. Picture date: Saturday December 3, 2022.

The acrimonious nature of negotiations by Fury’s camp with the likes of Usyk and Anthony Joshua mean that getting a deal over the line to face either has proved an unyielding obstacle. A Dubois win can set up an undisputed showdown with none of the same pinch points.

“Everyone loves an underdog and that’s what I like,” said Dubois. “I need to go in there, perform and shut all the haters up.

“In training camp I’ve suffered and I’m ready to go out there and do the business. I need to hold my mind together and do it – I’ve got all the tools.

“He is a cruiserweight, I need to land those shots on his cruiserweight head.

“I’ve got to fight out of my skin – that means all the skills I’ve learned as an amateur and the rough stuff as a pro. I’ve got to explode on the night.”


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