Frank Warren has had a direct conversation with his heavyweight, Daniel Dubois, about the questions surrounding his heart in the ring.
Some fighters labelled the young Brit’s loss to Joe Joyce as quitting, but the fractured eye socket he suffered goes a way in explaining why he took the knee.
A serious injury was not the answer for his recent loss in the unified heavyweight world title challenge against Oleksandr Usyk, though.
He lost, and high profile figures in the sport have again questioned his will to fight on in the face of adversity, including Chris Eubank Jr and Tony Bellew, who both labelled the 26-year-old a quitter.
Warren has been open about being ‘annoyed’ that his fighter accepted the stoppage without protest, and has now told TalkSPORT that he spoke to Dubois directly about what’s needed of him.
“He’s got to want it. I’ve had this conversation by the way, I’ve looked him in the eye and I said to him we’re moving on now, whatever’s gonna be is gonna be regarding the appeal, but in a lot of peoples’ eyes they don’t fancy you as the real deal. Every fight you have now you’ve got to grit your teeth and get in it.”
The promoter confirmed Dubois gave him the right answer, but that the proof would need to come inside the ropes.
“He said he wants it, but you’ve got to do it in the ring haven’t you? It’s no good telling me.”
Warren then floated former world champion Anthony Joshua as a potential opponent for Dubois to prove he has what it takes at the top level.
“A good fight for me would be between him and Joshua, because both men have been criticised recently about their desire. Joshua is a big puncher like Daniel, and you look at his last few fights where you’d have liked to have seen a bit more out of him. I think that would be a cracking fight.”
Anthony Joshua has been accused recently of being a tentative fighter following three losses, but not of quitting.
What’s next for Dubois is undecided, and largely hinges on the WBA’s final decision on the appeal for a rematch given the controversy surrounding the low blow.