Daniel Dubois heeds lessons from his maiden loss
Three months after an unexpected stoppage and first loss to 2016 Olympian Joe Joyce, “Dynamite” Daniel Dubois looked relaxed, composed and unmarked as he discussed his eye injury with The Ring.
“Thankfully, I’m not in any pain or have issues with my vision,” he said. “None at all. The doctors said there were some fractures on the top and the bottom [of the eye socket] and also some bleeding in the retina. It was quite rough really, but as I’ve said before, I have to bounce back from this.
“When I look in the mirror, it looks fine to me and doesn’t even look like it happened a few months before. The doctors said I can start sparring again in about four weeks’ time [early April]. As far as they are concerned it’s fine now. I just need to give myself some time to be prepared to get hit in the face again! I need to find out how am I going to react and how will this eye react. Mentally, I’m strong enough. I’ve overcome many obstacles in my career and life before, so this is just another one I’ve got to deal with.”
Casting his mind back to November 28, 2020, Dubois (15-1, 14 knockouts) revisited the heavyweight showdown with fellow Brit Joyce.
“I did what I’ve always done,” Dubois said. “Use my jab and try to find a way to win. That’s what was going through my mind the whole time, ‘Try to find a way to win.’ I was tiring, but I was trying to keep in the zone. However, a lot of things went wrong. I was fighting with my heart. I could have maybe slipped more shots and been more evasive overall.
“Honestly, I didn’t feel I was at my best on the night. I didn’t feel 100 percent and that could have been to do with a few things such as spending a week in a hotel during fight week, but also some things in training that I could have done better. I need to take this time to iron out and improve on those things that let me down in that fight.”
At the time of the stoppage in the 10th round, Dubois was ahead on two of the judges’ scorecards.
“Triple D” explained what happened.
“In the round I took the knee, you can see when he hits me with the jab, I felt something shoot right through my eye and that shook me up. I thought, ‘What the hell was that?’ I’d never felt something like that before and I’ve been hit before and hurt, but I knew this was different. I decided to take the knee and the intention was to regroup, get up and go again and see it to the end.
“I knew it was looking likely that the KO wasn’t going to happen and that I’d have to grind this one out. That’s what was going on in my mind. But it never happened and the rest is history. I made a decision, took the knee and I will be back to fight another day.”
Three months on, Dubois gave his thoughts on his foe.
“Joe had a good game plan and strategy. He boxed with discipline and to orders. He took advantage of my mistakes. Full credit to Joe.”
DDD added with a confident smile, “I’d like to get him in the ring again and set things straight and clear up everything that’s happened. I want to set the record straight. Let’s see what happens next.
“Believe it or not, it wasn’t long after the fight that I was thinking, ‘I want to fight again.’ Before that fight it was always, ‘Who’s next?’ That’s the mode I was in. I had to calm down and wave goodbye to that gravy train. It’s, for now, gone without me. I’ll be back. It’s been a wakeup call for me. The main thing is not to listen too much to fighters and other people who are quick to try and pull you down, talking smack about you. That’s the other side of professional boxing. When I come back, I want to see those same people [the fighters]; get them in the ring with me and shut them all up.”
The physical injuries healed fast, but how is Dubois’ mental state?
“I took a while to get where I am now. All this talk of who I’d be fighting next all went out of the window. It was back to square one. I needed to rest and repair and let the stream of what everyone else was saying just wash over me. Think about it, go over it and see what and where I went wrong.”
The eldest of 11 siblings, Daniel is not the only Dubois to be donning the boxing gloves. Sister Caroline was a hot favourite for Olympic gold for Tokyo 2020 and hopefully will still get that chance when the opportunity arises, post pandemic.
The 20-year-old is currently unbeaten and boasts a host of accolades, including European honors four times over, as well as being crowned world women’s youth champion in 2018. In the wings are younger brothers Prince, who at 16 years old already measures over six feet and the youngest family member is Kid Solomon, who at eight years old is the one to keep an eye on, according to Daniel.
DDD discussed the influence of a large family after the Joyce loss.
“That was very important. They’ve been with me through my amateur losses and my ups and downs. They’re there with me, whatever happens and won’t let me fall to the wayside and crumble in depression. Instead, we’ve all been working in the gym.”
Sporting a t-shirt, Dubois looked in great shape.
“Of course, I’m always in the gym,” he said. “I’m working with my new team, Mark and Jimmy Tibbs.”
Dubois expanded on the switch in trainers from Martin Bowers to the father and son combination.
“Mark and Jimmy bring a wealth of experience of big fights and boxing knowledge and can help with all the areas I might have missed or need to cover. Jimmy Tibbs is part of the old school era. He trained the likes of Frank Bruno. I look at that as inspirational. Even now I look at Frank’s fights and get a buzz. Now, to be trained by him and his son, you’ll see something new from me.”
With Martin and brother Tony Bowers still guiding Dubois’s management for the next three years, the split has been amicable.
“They still have an influence in my career,” Dubois explained. “They’re still my managers. We haven’t completely cut ties, it’s just a new trainer I wanted to try out. We [Dubois and Martin Bowers] had three wonderful years together and have been on some great adventures. Some real good times to reflect on.”
With rumors of Dubois making an official return to the ring in May, the heavy-handed Londoner confirmed his long-term goals haven’t changed.
“I’m still looking to fight for a world title eventually, but I want to be in some meaningful fights when I come back, which will test me even more. I want to be better prepared for opponents like Joe and want to be able to test myself and prove to myself and everyone that I can really do something with boxing. I want to shine and show what we can bring to the table.
“My management and Frank Warren have spoken about maybe having three fights within 12 months. I want to start to work up that gravy line. I look forward to it and welcome the challenge with both hands and working on a strategy with my team of where to go next. I’m hungry, but I’m only 23 years old. There’s no rush. There’s a lot more of me to see. You’ll see an improved version of myself and far more focused than before. I’m coming back and I’m not messing about. One hundred percent.”