TO define ‘Chomping at the bit’ a visit to the Boxing News YouTube channel to watch our interview with Daniel Dubois is in order.
The British heavyweight is nearing the biggest fight of his life against Oleksandr Usyk who is arguably the best in the division.
Dubois 19-1 (18) is tipped by many at having little chance of causing the upset with Bet365 pricing him at 11/2 to win in Wroclaw, Poland on August 26 while Usyk is the long odds-on favourite at 1/9.
The 25-year-old underdog was all smiles when he spoke to BN, rarely standing still and displaying some shadow boxing all of which demonstrated his eagerness to take on the Ukrainian right now. It was the sign of a young man who has carried out everything asked of him in camp and is visualising a stunning upset next week.
“I’ve done all the hard work now. It’s time for a battle, time for a good fight,” Dubois said.
“I’m so ready to fight, man,” he added later. “All the people that have things to say… this is boxing. If you don’t like it get out of the sport. This is it. Everything’s on you. There’s pressure. Everything. I’m an underdog and I’m just ready to rumble.”
Having chosen Shane McGuigan to train him following his loss to Joe Joyce in November 2020 Dubois went on to win four times in 18 months from June 2021. But it was against modest opposition in the shape of Bogdan Dinu, Joe Cusumano, Trevor Bryan, and Kevin Lerena. The latter contributed to an unexpected see-saw affair with Dubois down three times in the first round before his own bludgeoning power finished the South African off in the third. The winner suffered a knee injury during the fight at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium making his back from the brink victory much more impressive.
Unexpectedly Dubois made the decision to leave the McGuigan stable in May with the trainer telling Boxing News he “was put in a very compromising position”.
“I decided to continue my working relationship with (his sister) Caroline at the expense of losing Daniel really. Which is a bit of a shame,” McGuigan said at the time.
Veteran trainer Don Charles, known for his time working with Derek Chisora, now has the responsibility of directing the devastating Dubois power on to Usyk 20-0 (13) and bring three world titles back to London.
“Don has been great for me,” Dubois said. “I feel like the experience and the knowledge from him and the team bringing in new members as well, it’s all been adding up. My dad being there, the constant push behind me it’s going well.”
Charles removed Dubois from a more traditional UK training base to a different setting in Spain and made the camp as uncomfortable as possible for Dubois.
“Yeah,” the fighter confirmed. “The food especially! I got through it. It’s worked. It’s done what it needed to do. All of the moments that I needed to go through I got through them.”
Dubois is certainly up against it in facing Usyk. In front of him is a former amateur World Championship and Olympic gold medallist who became the former Undisputed Cruiserweight champion and then the current unified heavyweight champion. BN asked him what he must do to be successful on the night in Poland where millions of Usyk’s compatriots have sought refuge from the war with Russia.
“Whack him in the face as many times as possible,” Dubois said. “Body, arms, everything above the waist. By any means necessary. Perform out of my skin. Bring out what I haven’t shown before skill-wise and all of that.
“I can move, I can box. I’ve got good amateur experience. Whatever they’re thinking, whatever people are saying let them keep saying. Boxing’s full of opinions so it’s now time for me to go out there and perform on the night.
“Let’s get it on. Now it’s time for the finish, to complete this.”