Daniel Dubois came through relentless pressure from the controversial 330lbs Jarrel Miller to force a stoppage in the final round.
The time came for Miller to back up the substantial trash talk that had targeted not only Dubois this fight week, but Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder, too. For his money, he would finish the young Brit in the sixth round.
Up until this moment, he was best known in the heavyweight division for testing positive for banned substances and thus being pulled from a fight with Anthony Joshua in 2019. Another failed test later and he was banned for two years.
Dubois entered the ring with questions about his heart and grit hanging over his head. Whilst still young, back-to-back losses, particularly if it was a stoppage as Miller predicted, would set him on a hard road back.
Dubois started with jabs, straight and shots to the body. Miller didn’t throw anything, just plodded forward. In the clinch, he wasn’t as strong as he gave himself credit for, but Dubois engaging and pushing him back would surely hit his stamina. Miller complained about a low-blow. In the final minute of the opener he had still barely thrown a punch. The Brit punctuated the first with a nice uppercut through the guard.
It was clear the Brooklyn native’s strategy was to tire Dubois through confidence in his chin, and he moved his feet a little quicker to start the second. He would throw more shots too, and it turned into an entertaining exchange. A stiff jab from Dubois managed to stop Miller in his tracks a little – the first sign he could even make a dent in the 330lbs man. Miller managed a barrage to end the round and Dubois – looking affected – chose to stand and trade.
Good start from Dubois in the third to the body, and he managed to dodge what was coming back to an extent. Miller, as day follows night, moved ahead relentlessly, jabbing more this time. You got the sense either could topple at any minute.
‘Big Baby’ started the trash talk in the fourth. Dubois showed once more that a stiff jab was key to winning back the rythym, but the American landed the eye-catchers to close it.
Both were blowing heavily in the fifth. Dubois had moved more in this half a fight more than he had in most of his career prior. With Miller refusing to back down, this was the ultimate test for the 26-year-old’s mental fortitude.
Dubois looked impressive to start the sixth – had he finally weathered the massive storm? Miller’s shots looked much less harmful, and his pressure looked less threatening.
Both came out quicker in the seventh, Miller miraculously throwing power shots once more. It ended in an entertaining exchange with Dubois having the clear advantage in pop, and still managing to keep up some of the movement he started with.
Dubois stopped Miller in his tracks at the start of the eighth with an impressive combo. He was warned for using his head. Miller was running on fumes alone at this point. Same again in the ninth and penultimate round, with Miller’s output significantly lower.
Miller needed a knockout in the tenth to win – no doubt about it – and he came out looking for it. Dubois punched with him, showing a wildly impressive engine. Miller got caught with huge hooks and taunted Dubois, but he tried to hold on which ruined the false bravado. Dubois smelled the blood and unleashed. ‘Big Baby’ was forced to hold himself up. He was getting battered, plain and simple. It was stopped. Miller could not back up his talk.
A significant performance for Dubois, who answered all of his doubters and showed some more skill than he had before. Miller called himself the bad guy in the run up, and every boxing fan was happy to see the good guy win.