This Friday night, in the extravagant yet unconventional setting of the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington, London, heavyweight hopeful Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois hopes to notch up his tenth professional victory against Razvan Cojanu.
Cojanu, a former world title challenger and sparring partner to erstwhile WBO titlist Joseph Parker, recently dropped a comprehensive points decision to Nathan Gorman in December on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s successful title defence against Carl Frampton at the Manchester Arena.
Undoubtedly a seasoned operator and an adept spoiler, the Romanian was able to survive all twelve rounds against Nantwich native Gorman; who has repeatedly expressed his willingness to challenge Dubois in what would be an intriguing battle between two unbeaten British heavyweight contenders.
Dubois does not appear to have risen yet to the persistent goading from his rival, but will undoubtedly be aiming to make a statement and replicate the feats of Luis Ortiz in July with a violent knockout win over Cojanu; something which – as Gorman and Joseph Parker discovered in their respective fights – is definitely easier said than done.
At the same time, Dubois’ previous fight, an imperious decision victory over American Kevin Johnson, demonstrated also the young Londoner’s ability to box with discipline and adhere to a game plan for ten rounds. Despite the destructive punching power he carries in both fists – a power that some top heavyweights have reputedly succumbed to in sparring sessions – Dubois was largely content to pump out a commanding jab and pace himself steadily throughout the course of the contest, while his veteran counterpart tucked up and offered no resistance whatsoever.
Another Londoner with a penchant for producing devastating knockouts also makes an appearance on the card, in similarly undefeated light-heavyweight contender Anthony Yarde. Like Dubois, his explosiveness and strength has appeared to be positively Herculean at times, but in recent outings he has been keen to showcase different and more methodical dimensions to his game as he progresses under the guidance of longtime trainer Tunde Ajayi.
Yarde, a charismatic, Zen-like character and talented athlete seemingly on the cusp of a world title shot, has made remarkable strides for someone with such limited amateur experience. However, he has attracted ire from certain quarters for a perceived indifference towards his domestic counterparts in the division, such as Callum Johnson, Hosea Burton and former Olympic prodigy Joshua Buatsi.
With London rival Buatsi being touted as a potential star of the future following his Bronze medal at the 2016 Olympic games in Rio, intrigue continues to build ahead of a possible showdown between the pair. Buatsi, who is scheduled to face Liam Conroy for the vacant British belt later in the month, has already spoken of his willingness to take the fight – and should he emerge victorious against Conroy, calls for the bout will continue to grow louder and louder.
Originally scheduled to fight Frenchman Medhi Amar, Yarde – who trains out of the famous Peacock Gym in Canning Town – Yarde will be facing Travis Reeves as he seeks to prepare himself for a high-stakes future showdown with fearsome WBO champion Sergey Kovalev, possibly later in the year.
British middleweight champion Liam Williams, a recent addition to Dominic Ingle’s burgeoning stable, also makes the first defence of the title he secured with a comfortable tenth-round stoppage victory over Mark Heffron in December against Joe Mullender, while welterweight equivalent Johnny Garton – following a sensational stoppage win against Gary Corcoran – defends his British strap against former Prizefighter winner Chris Jenkins.
Additional local talent also will be featuring on the card as super-featherweight Archie Sharp, who outpointed Leicester’s Lyon Woodstock in a heated affair on away soil in October, hopes to make a triumphant homecoming with a victory over Lucas Ballingall.