Warren previews Dubois-Joyce showdown

Promoter Frank Warren speaks to Boxing Social’s Luke G. Williams about this weekend’s showdown between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce…

The Saturday showdown between heavyweight rivals Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce for the British, European and Commonwealth heavyweight titles is undoubtedly one of the most eagerly awaited fights of the year.

“I’m delighted the fight is going ahead,” promoter Frank Warren tells Boxing Social, as fight night draws ever closer. “Of course, I’m sad that we’re losing out on the live gate, because obviously that affects the income for everybody, but it is what it is.

“It’s an exciting fight, everyone’s got an opinion on it. Some people keep changing their mind. You’ve got to take your hat off to the two guys who at this stage in their professional careers are taking such a risky fight and doing what they’re doing.”

Warren believes that Dubois-Joyce could be the sort of fight that enhances both men’s reputations.

“It absolutely could be. It’s not the end of the world for the loser, although it depends how you lose obviously. You’ve only got to look at what’s happened with Dereck Chisora’s career – he’s made a living out of losing! I think it’s going to be a really interesting fight. I don’t think it will just be a smash and bash up. They’re not naïve tactically. I think the jab is going to be the key to this fight. It’s going to be a battle of the jabs.”

Warren has promoted the precocious talents of the 23-year-old Dubois for the entirety of the Deptford prospect’s 15-0 (14KOs) pro career and gives an assessment of the qualities that have made him one of the most discussed prospects in world boxing.

“Daniel had very limited senior experience as an amateur – just seven fights. But it’s his confidence and the natural power that he’s got that impresses me most. We know he can punch, we know he’s strong, but what really impresses me is that he learns from every fight.

“One of his key fights was when he fought Kevin Johnson [in 2018, the only of Dubois’ fights to go the distance, as won a points decision]. Daniel basically head hunted that whole fight and when he came out again after that fight he had changed – he started to work the body more, for example.

“He’s also got a super jab. In the [Nathan] Gorman fight [in 2019, which Dubois won by fifth-round KO] he controlled the fight by out-jabbing the boxer. It really impresses me how well and how quickly Daniel learns and the determination he’s got. All he does is live and breathe boxing. He doesn’t do anything else. And all he wants to be is the best.”

However, although Warren is a huge admirer of Dubois’ talents and the bookmakers make him an odds-on favourite, the Hall of Fame promoter argues that Joyce’s chances cannot be discounted. Since making his pro debut in 2017 – the same year Dubois turned over – Joyce has won all eleven of his contests, ten via stoppage.

“Joe has tremendous amateur pedigree,” Warren points out. “He fought at the World Championships, the Commonwealth Games, I thought he should have won the gold medal in the Olympics. I thought he did enough to win it.  [Joyce lost a decision to Tony Yoka in the final of the super heavyweight tournament at the 2016 Rio Olympics].

“Looking at this fight, because of his age Joe has more to lose than Daniel Dubois does. He brings a lot to the party – all that experience and that makes it a really intriguing situation. How will Daniel handle all that experience that Joe has picked up over the years? Also over lockdown Joe has shed a lot of weight he’s got some real definition about him, he was a bit porky before. Is that going to make him faster? Is that going to be his tactic, to try and be faster than Daniel?

“Joe is a really lovely guy, a super guy to work with and he’s going out there to prove people wrong. Daniel is a big favourite but Joe has the wherewithal to prove people wrong.”

The contest will take place in the historic surroundings of Church House in Westminster – a venue first constructed in 1887 to celebrate the golden jubilee of Queen Victoria.

“We were looking for venues during lockdown,” Warren reveals. “My son Henry found it. I think we would have started off our lockdown shows there if we could have done. Eventually we got the clearance.

“It’s a very historic venue – it’s used to bombs it got bombed in the war, and they’ll be some bombs going off there on Saturday, Churchill gave his famous speech there about the sinking of the Bismarck and I think the first ever NATO meeting was held there. So they’re used to war!”