Daniel Dubois will make his ring return on June 5 – with the vacant interim WBA world title at stake.
The 23-year-old looked set for a rebuilding job after his 10th round stoppage at the hands of Joe Joyce in November.
Dubois has split with trainer Martin Bowers after a first career loss and it set to have Mark Tibbs in his corner moving forward.
It is a surprise that the big-punching Greenwich heavyweight had been able to bounce back with a shot at a major belt with Romania’s Bogdan Dinu (20-2) standing in his way.
Dinu, 34, has been knocked out by Jarrell Miller and Kubrat Pulev, with two low-key victories since.
Dubois (15-1) opted to be counted out after his eye closed against Joyce.
Dinu is ranked number two by the WBA, but the governing body has a plethora of ‘world titles’. Anthony Joshua is listed as their ‘super champion’ while Trevor Bryan is ‘world champion’. But they also have a ‘champion in recess’ – Manuel Charr.
Dubois is 10th in the WBA listings.
“I am excited to be back in the ring on June 5 after the frustration of being kept out of the gym and doing what I love to do for a number of months after my last fight,” said Dubois.
“This is my chance to remind people of what I am really about, which is winning fights in a devastating fashion. I don’t need to make any excuses for the Joe fight because everybody could see the issue with my vision, but Joe won fair and square and we move on.
“Time is on my side but I don’t intend to slow down my progress and I am more than happy to be returning to the ring in a big title fight that puts me right back in the picture.
“I respect Dinu and accept that he could provide a tough test, but I can only see one outcome and that is me leaving the ring with another major championship belt for my collection.”
Dinu, who last fought in October 2020 with a second round stoppage, said: “This is the most important fight for me and I will be prepared for a war in the ring. It’s my perfect moment to win and to get to the big fights. I’m fighting in London to become the first Romanian heavyweight champion of the world.”
Promoter Frank Warren added: “I’m delighted to get this fight over the line for Daniel and really pleased to be working with Greg Cohen on this event. A win for Daniel in this interim title fight will see him become the mandatory challenger for the WBA world title and, if he can get past Dinu on June 5, he is back in contention and right in the mix with the top contenders.
“It is an opportunity for Daniel to post a ‘business as usual’ statement to the public and the rest of the heavyweight division following his setback against Joe. Daniel’s enthusiasm to reach the very top has not diminished in the slightest and, even though it is a bit of an old cliche, it is true that he will only learn and benefit from the experience of taking a first loss and rebuilding from it.
“Dinu is a high quality and respected opponent who in no way can Daniel take lightly. It is exactly the sort of challenge he needs at this stage in his career. Daniel achieved so much, so early on his professional journey and remains so young in heavyweight terms.
“There will be significant pressure on Daniel coming back after a first defeat and the focus will be right on him to see how he reacts. He is returning in a big fight, everything will be on the line and the prize on offer is a shot at the world title.”
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