Daniel Dubois’ new trainer Mark Tibbs has said the 23-year-old heavyweight contender is likely to return to the ring in the summer and admitted they have yet to meet in person.
The former British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion suffered a gruesome injury to his left eye and first career defeat against an inspired Joe Joyce last November. After taking a stiff jab to a fractured eye socket, Dubois took a knee and was counted out in a surprise 10th round defeat.
Last week, Dubois (15-1, 14 KOs) chose to rebuild in a different direction, leaving long-time coach Martin Bowers (who will remain his manager) to link up with Tibbs who is currently training WBO super-middleweight title-holder Billy Joe Saunders in Tenerife, ahead of projected May 8 date with unified champion Canelo Alvarez.
Intriguingly, Tibbs told renowned boxing scribe Colin Hart in The Sun that he had never met Dubois, but felt confident they would gel in person. With an April or May return recently mooted by Dubois’ promoter Frank Warren, Tibbs apparently believes more time is required.
“I’m sure we will get on well because it’s vital there is mutual trust,” Tibbs told Hart in his longstanding column in The Sun newspaper.
“After what happened to Daniel in the Joyce fight, and the criticism he received over taking the knee, we may have to work on psychological problems.
“I don’t think he’ll be ready to make his comeback until June or July.”
While Dubois’ decision to remove the influential Bowers as trainer felt like a sour one to some observers, the overall feeling is Tibbs is a great fit as trainer in the next chapter of the South Londoner’s career, having previously developed Dillian Whyte from a domestic threat to a world class heavyweight.