Bryan Vs Dubois Big Fight Preview

Trevor Bryan Daniel Dubois

Update (12/06/2022): Watch highlights and read Boxing Social’s Bryan vs Dubois result report: “Dubois A Class Above Bryan, Wins WBA Belt”.

Trevor Bryan defends his WBA regular strap against Daniel Dubois in Miami this weekend in a slightly surreal heavyweight showdown presided over by Don King. Luke G. Williams previews the action.

Veteran promoter Don King may be less energetic, less visible and less voluble than in his formidable heyday, but the 90-year-old still knows how to spring a surprise or two, as evidenced by his successful $3,116,001 purse bid to stage Saturday’s WBA heavyweight title fight between holder Trevor Bryan (22-0, 15 KOs) and Britain’s Daniel Dubois (17-1, 16 KOs).

Although King’s boxing empire has dwindled, in New York native Bryan perhaps the most infamous promoter of all time still has a grip – however tenuous – on a slender portion of the heavyweight championship pie. Bryan may only be the WBA ‘regular champion’ (Oleksandr Usyk is ‘super’ champion), but in prize fighting any title can be used to dupe the public or leverage attention and cold, hard cash.

Indeed, if 13-2 outsider Bryan were to pull off the upset on Saturday night at the Casino Miami and defeat the much touted and physically imposing Dubois (roughly a 1/12 favourite with most oddsmakers), King would be in a position to manoeuvre his fighter into further potentially high profile contests.

Hard evidence is in short supply when it comes to assessing Bryan’s chances in this fight. His pro CV is painfully thin, his 22 bouts spread interminably over 11 years, with the most recognisable name on his record being a faded, overweight and 42-year-old Bermane Stiverne. Bryan stopped the Haiti-born former WBC title holder in eleven in January 2021, flooring him twice in round eleven before the referee halted the contest. Bryan’s next best win was against blown up cruiser BJ Flores in 2018.

On the basis of these fights, and his record of 15 KOs in 22 fights, Bryan has decent power, above average hand speed and some decent if far from earth shattering boxing skills. However, his conditioning is suspect and we know nothing of his ability to withstand a shot from someone who punches as hard as Dubois.

Mind you, the New Yorker is a good talker. “I fight like every fight is my last fight,” he told Dev Sahni this week. “I am gonna give my heart, my soul and every inch, every bit of strength I have in this coming up fight on June 11 because, even with the heavyweights, this career doesn’t last long.

“Every opportunity I do get with names like Daniel Dubois and fighters after this, you want to fight your hardest and show everybody you have the heart and show everybody your skills are going to carry you along.”

Predictably, Bryan also piled in on Dubois, labelling him a ‘quitter’, a reference to the Londoner’s decision against Joe Joyce in November 2020 to take a knee and be counted out after he suffered a horrific eye injury.

“Daniel Dubois is a strong fighter, he has fought some good guys, but I am on a different level,” Bryan said. “You saw that when he came up against some good opposition, he quit, gave up. You don’t quit, you don’t give up. I would rather go out on my shield. He is an okay guy but he is going in against a nightmare, I will be a nightmare for him and not the fight that he wants. Maybe he should have went back and tried to reverse the loss he had against Joe Joyce before he came to the champion.

“Now that he’s said he wants the champion, he begged for this fight and now he has it. He has it and now he has to pay for it. I’m not the type of fighter where you can step in the ring and think you can walk all over me. I am not heavyweight champ for no reason and on 11 June 11 I’m gonna show everybody that I am a name that you are supposed to respect. I am that man who is going to be sticking around for a long time in this sport. I am taking over, so on June 11 you guys are going to see what Trevor Bryan, The Dream, is all about.”

My view on the abuse that Dubois received after the Joyce loss is that it was disgraceful and reprehensible. However, the loss to Joyce has left question marks over Dubois. For example, we do not yet know if he has successfully processed the setback, and to what extent it has dented his confidence. Comeback victories against the undemanding Bogdan Dinu and Joe Cusumano have taught us nothing about Dubois that we did not already know; namely that he is excellent at dispatching low to mid-level heavyweights, but he is unproven at world level.

Dubois has not fought in nearly a year, and during that time it seems he has been working hard with trainer Shane McGuigan to refine his style. “The break has allowed us to spend a lot of time together,” McGuigan told BT Sport. “Dan’s been working away week in, week out. We’ve been working on his head movement, working on speeding him up.

“He’s always had power,” McGuigan added. “But we’ve been working on his technique. We’re not going to give too much away, but it’s going to be interesting for people to see what he’s like underneath the lights and in a pressure environment and I think we’re going to get that with Trevor Byran. This next year or 18 months for Dan are going to be big I think. He’s 24, he’s not hit his peak yet – from a physical standpoint or from a mental one. He’s learning all the time.”

McGuigan is adamant that neither he nor Dubois will underestimate Bryan. “I think he’s better than people give him credit for,” McGuigan said. “He’s spent years in the gym. He’s been in there [sparring] with probably every single heavyweight of the last era [in the gym]. You can’t discredit that. He’s good under pressure.But we’ll see what he’s like when he gets clean with 10 oz gloves on.”

McGuigan is right – Bryan has been around boxing a long time. He has been fighting since the age of eleven and has been a pro since May 2011. He’s no novice, and knows his way around a ring. Although his professional CV is flimsy he remains unbeaten, and until a man has been defeated in the ring you never quite know how high his ceiling is.

The 24-year-old Dubois, for his part, is adamant he will be going for the stoppage. “I’m loving what I’m doing,” he said. “It’s been a year in the gym. It’s been a bit frustrating sometimes, not getting a fight, it’s been a waiting process but we’re nearly there now. I’m sure it will be a great show and a great fight too. He’s got decent technique and he’s a durable guy. I’m not overlooking this guy. I’m taking it seriously. I’m putting the work in and I’ve got an idea to take it to him and make a statement. This is my time now for sure.”

I’m inclined to agree that Bryan is probably better than most people think, and I suspect he is well versed in the art of ring survival. I see Dubois trying out a few new things in the early stages of this fight, moving in and out of range more often than in the past rather than inexorably pushing forward in straight lines.

At times Dubois might find it tricky to catch up with Bryan and land combinations, but in the end the Londoner’s physical presence will be the decisive factor. I see Dubois taking out Bryan sometime in the second half of the fight, although if the American merely comes to try and survive, in the manner of say Kevin Johnson in his 2018 showdown with Dubois, then I wouldn’t rule out a distance fight, with Dubois winning a wide and comfortable decision.

Update (12/06/2022): Watch highlights and read Boxing Social’s Bryan vs Dubois result report: “Dubois A Class Above Bryan, Wins WBA Belt”.