Will Daniel Dubois rue missing out on the Olympic Games?

Photo Courtesy: Alexander Babl

For any young boxer, the decision to abandon one’s amateur career in favour of turning professional is always a difficult one. In the case of Daniel Dubois, who is widely seen as one of Britain’s best young boxing prospects, you can imagine the inner turmoil over the decision to give up the chance to compete at the Tokyo Olympics.

But that is the decision Dubois made, and with reputable promoter Frank Warren on the scene, perhaps it’s easy to see why the young boxer decided to focus on becoming a professional. After all, Warren is one of the best in the business, and boasts heavyweight champion Tyson Fury among his clientele. 

Dubois is a fighter whose potential was clear from a very early age, and his decision to go professional has been more than justified since he did so. 15 wins from 15 bouts is a record that speaks for itself, and perhaps even more impressive is the nature in which the 23-year-old has achieved that feat. He is a boxer blessed with innate punching power, and out of his 15 victories, just one of them has come via a decision, the rest physical proof of Dubois’ knockout credentials. 

He’s as talented a heavyweight the UK has produced since Joshua himself burst onto the scene, and with every passing fight he seems to only get stronger. The next challenge is a significant one, as Dubois takes on Joe Joyce, another fighter with an unbeaten record, on November 28th at the BT Sport Studios in London. The latest Dubois v Joyce odds place the former as the overwhelming favourite, and that’s no surprise given how impressive Dubois’ rise to prominence has been. 

But in the form of Joyce, there is a boxer who has experienced the unique thrill of winning an Olympic medal, having won silver in the super-heavyweight division at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. Although Joyce is 12 years older than Dubois, he has four fewer professional bouts under his belt than his upcoming opponent. This is due to Joyce’s lengthy amateur career, where in addition to his Olympic silver medal, he won gold at both the Commonwealth Games and the European Games, along with bronze medals at the World Championships and European Championships. 

That’s quite the amateur career, and Joyce has built on his success by going 11 fights unbeaten as a professional. Dubois will be the toughest test yet for the 35-year-old, but even if the odds are to prove correct and Dubois emerge victorious, he will always have the glory of his amateur successes to look back on with pride. 

Conversely, if Joyce is to upset the odds and win, then Dubois’ budding heavyweight career will take a serious dent. If ‘Triple D’ is to suffer defeat, then many avenues may close to the young fighter. Not least among these is the prospect of taking on Olexsandr Usyk, which might occur if Anthony Joshua decides to abandon his titles to take on Fury instead of Usyk. 

But judging by the confidence Dubois exudes, and the competence he has displayed across his impressive record of victories, he does not seem the kind to hold regrets for missing out on Tokyo, whenever the Games end up taking place. 

“Joe’s Joe,” Dubois said recently of his opponent. “He boxes differently that’s all I’m gonna say. He’s got his own way of doing things and that’s who I’m gonna be fighting. I’ve just got to be ready to fight him and take away everything that he brings.”

What Joyce brings is Olympic pedigree and an impressive amateur record. But, for Dubois, there is a sense that the young starlet is destined for the most glittering achievements the sport has to offer. Perhaps, in a few years’ time, we will view Dubois’ talent as one that transcended the need to tussle and toil at amateur level.