It seemed like the entire boxing world turned against Daniel Dubois when he took a knee to hand Joe Joyce victory in their much-anticipated bout back in November.
Thirty seconds into the 10th round of that battle of the undefeated prospects, a fractured eye socket rendered Dubois unable to continue and the vultures circled in the following days, questioning his heart.
Now, just six months down the line, Dubois is hoping to live up to his ‘Dynamite’ alias by reigniting his career against dangerous Romanian contender Bogdan Dinu.
Dinu’s two defeats have come against quality opposition in Jarrell Miller and Kubrat Pulev, and you have to go back to 2014 for the last time the 34-year-old was involved in a fight that went the distance. Sixteen of Dinu’s 20 victories have come by way of stoppage, and Dubois would have been forgiven for taking an easier fight in his first bout back from injury.
The fact that he hasn’t proves that the Greenwich man still means business, and those who were quick to write him off may end up eating their own words.
Billy Joe Saunders wasted no time in suggesting that Dubois took a knee too quickly in the aftermath of the Joyce clash, and Dubois was presented with the perfect opportunity to bite back given the manner of the super middleweight’s defeat to Saul Alvarez.
He didn’t, of course. Dubois is focused on his career and his career only, and his reserved manner has allowed him to prepare for his comeback under the radar.
At 23 years of age, he has time on his side. At the same age, Anthony Joshua was making his professional debut on the undercard of a Lee Selby and Ryan Walsh Commonwealth title fight.
Joyce, the only man to beat Dubois to date, didn’t begin his professional career until he was in his thirties.
It is testament to Dubois’ ambition that he found himself as a 3/10 underdog in a fight of that magnitude at such a tender age, but the reset button has been pressed and he can now continue his promising career at his own pace.
With the pressure off, we make Dubois one of the five boxers to look out for this year as he embarks on his reascent to the summit of the heavyweight division.
A brief flirtation with Mark Tibbs as his trainer was cut short, and Shane McGuigan will now be in the Dubois corner for the foreseeable future.
Changing members of a team can often reinvigorate a fighter, but mass alterations aren’t required here – just tweaks. Given the controversial way in which the fight ended, it is easy to forget that Dubois was ahead on two of the judges’ three scorecards when he took a knee against Joyce.
‘The Juggernaut’ is keeping a close eye on the situation between Oleksandr Usyk and Anthony Joshua, given that he is ranked at number two with the WBO. It’s an enviable position to be in, and one that Dubois was arguably on course for had it not been for an injury that we mere mortals struggle to comprehend.
His time will come, but to quote the great Louis Armstrong, ‘We Have All the Time in the World’ when it comes to the career of a fighter whose 24th birthday isn’t for another three months.
For now, it’s time to enjoy the second coming of one of the most promising fighters on our shores.