Daniel Dubious vs Kyotaro Fujimoto: Rare prodigy set for final showpiece before world stage

Briton is maturing at the perfect time and may just emerge as the best of the next generation of heavyweights

Steve Bunce
Tuesday 17 December 2019 08:23 GMT
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Young heavyweights with real potential are rare beasts in the boxing business where anybody with two wins, a pulse, a dozen followers on YouTube and a six-pack is greeted like the return of a fighting angel.

In east London at the Peacock gym, the first and last resort of boxing dreamers and schemers for over thirty years, they have a rare beast in their rings. Daniel Dubois is just 22, a brilliant athlete, unbeaten in 13 fights and devoted to his trade.

Dubois fights this Saturday against Japan’s Kyotaro Fujimoto at the Copper Box, his fifth fight of the year; Dubois is starting to get attention, next year he will probably make his move.

It was over ten years ago that Don King, the true heavyweight of heavyweight boxing, in the fading twilight of his promotional life declared the search for the next heavyweight star open. Dubois has put his name on the list, joining some men that came and vanished and are now forgotten. However, it is a hopeful list right now, to be fair, with a lot of experienced fighters, making up for not being young by turning pro after massively successful amateur careers. Dubois at just 22 is heavyweight boxing’s baby.

Since King’s announcement, and in the diminishing glory of arguably the last great heavyweight era, several men have lumbered into view, swinging their fists and proclaiming their greatness. But, the search goes on to replace Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Riddick Bowe and Lennox Lewis - the quartet ruled from 1986 until about 2003, the last of the greats. The Klitschko years, when Wladimir and Vitali beat the living daylights out of the American heavyweight division, were full of brilliant cameos but are marked by too much caution. The two big lads from the Ukraine knew their sweet science too well, knew the boxing business even better, and dominated with sense, their brains always dictating their hearts.

And so in late 2019 Dubois wanders in from the fringes, a perfectly formed fighter with the necessary dimensions to compete against the towering and heavy hulks, and he has the skills of an old-fashioned heavyweight. Dubois jabs, not a lazy left to open a space for a right, but a shattering straight jab, which has become an extinct tool in the heavyweight pool.

In July Dubois had a test, a British title fight against unbeaten Nathan Gorman; it finished in the fifth, a mild shock and a flawless display. Dubois is not a fighter to live on his boasts and make empty claims, his victory mostly went under the radar, his progress and improvement was not so easy to ignore. “It’s the dedication with Daniel, that’s what it is,” said Martin Bowers, trainer of Dubois, last week at the Peacock. “This is his life. It’s that simple.” In another boxing time, the Dubois win over Gorman for the British heavyweight title would have been rightly feted.

Dubois is maturing at a perfect time and under Frank Warren’s care at the perfect pace; boxing, remember, benefits from the modern world, but is essentially an ancient trade, a trade where products - especially big-boned kids - simply can’t be rushed. Warren might well be one of the last living practitioners of the art of matchmaking and creating a star.

Dubois should prove too big for Fujimoto on Saturday, biffing and bashing the Japanese heavyweight in about four rounds, and then it will be time to move through a packed field of talent. There are some perfect heavyweights, fading former champions and danger men, and some other young unbeaten fighters for Dubois to start meeting. The division’s elite seem intent on circling each other and it will probably be the same with Dubois and the six or so other leading, unbeaten and dangerous contenders. It might just be the best pack of heavyweights for a long, long time

Daniel Dubois faces Kyotaro Fujimoto (Getty (Getty)

Dubois against Frenchman Tony Yoka, the gold medal winner from Rio, or Joe Joyce, his British rival and the silver medal winner in Rio, would be stunning throwback fights. A clash with British veteran Dereck Chisora has been offered, former title challengers Dominic Breazeale and Carlos Molina make sense. A risk against former champions Charles Martin or Joseph Parker could happen by the end of next year. Dubois is just about ready in a division that is currently big news once again.

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