Daniel Dubois’ trainer Martin Bowers has told Boxing Social that his young heavyweight has suffered a fractured eye socket following his loss to Joe Joyce last night in London.
Dubois and Joyce contested the British, Commonwealth and European titles at the historic Church House in Westminster. After months of build up and postponements the pair delivered an absorbing fight which ended with Dubois unable to continue after being dropped in the 10th round by a lead left punch from Joyce.
That, however, doesn’t tell the full story. Dubois, who was defending his Lonsdale belt suffered damage to his left eye early on in the fight. The swelling led to the eye closing bringing back memories of the injury Mark Heffron suffered against Denzel Bentley earlier this month in their British middleweight title fight. While Dubois constantly launched attacks on Joyce it was the 35-year-old Commonwealth title holder who took advantage of the impairment jabbing his way to victory.
“I’m just waiting for the doctor’s report to come through. He’s got a fractured eye socket and some other damage,” Bowers told Boxing Social today. Bowers added that he has spoken to Dubois who is in good spirits but disappointed.
Promoter Frank Warren who put on last night’s mammoth domestic clash told Boxing Social that Dubois, who Warren described to us as the best young heavyweight he has worked for, will see an eye specialist tomorrow to confirm the extent of the damage.
“It was a great fight,” said Warren. “There was nothing in it. I think two of the judges had Daniel up. If he had got through the last few rounds and won one of them, he would have won the fight, but his eye was terrible. Joe boxed extremely well. Unfortunately, Daniel couldn’t continue.”
Dubois, 23, was the odds-on favourite going into the fight with many fans and experts citing his power as the deciding factor which would prove too much for Joyce on the night. The 2016 Olympic Silver medallist did have his head rocked back on occasion but seemed largely untroubled by the reputable punching of his much younger foe.
“He [Dubois] took some good shots off Joe and Joe took some good shots off Daniel,” said Warren. “Daniel never caught him cleanly. I think there was times that he could have used his jab better [and used] a bit more head movement, that’s my criticisms of him but you can’t criticise Joe because Joe did what he had to do and I don’t want to make it sound like Daniel’s a sore loser. One thing about it is he will learn from it.”
“Up to the third round I thought he [Dubois] boxed well and then after the third round onwards he obviously couldn’t see, and he wasn’t himself,” said Bowers. “I genuinely thought we won the first three rounds and boxed quite well but then from the third onwards he wasn’t his self. We don’t hide [after a fight]. When we win, we’re there to be counted and when we lose, we’re there to be counted. Daniel gave a good account of himself.
“I wish Joe all the best. We prepared to win and if you lose you get beat by a better man and that’s it. It’s a hard, brutal sport. I wish Joe well. We’ve got no malice there. I think Dan was winning the fight and lost on an injury and I’m not saying that to be rude to Joe. I’m genuinely pleased for him as I would any other fighter. You go away and spend weeks and weeks in the gym preparing and getting yourself ready and sometimes this is the outcome. You have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off and start all over again. That’s why they say boxing is character building. You have to see what you’re made of now.”
Warren believes that Dubois has even more pressure now on his sizeable shoulders. While the future is immediately uncertain until the Greenwich heavy sees an eye specialist tomorrow, his promoter is backing his man to bounce back and learn from last night’s loss but warned:
“If he doesn’t learn from this then he’s wasting his time. He’s got to learn from it.”
He continued: “I want to see more head movement and better use of the jab [in the future]. Everyone should learn when they lose a fight. If you don’t then you might as well turn it in. He’s young enough to do that. He didn’t take a terrible hiding. He wasn’t taken to school. It was a keenly fought contest and down the road I’d like to see it again. Once he’s ready to go he’s got to get in there and work on things. He never was the finished article.”
“We’ve got to see what the physical damage is first,” Bowers said when asked if he were confident Dubois would bounce back mentally. “Mentally if you looked at it… like I said from [rounds] 1 to 3 he was himself. After the injury… he’s never had an injury before… it’s a shock to the system but he still soldiered on. I asked him if he could see and he said he could. We talk about boxing all the time and we talk about the greats. And greats all come through bad times and that’s why we talk about them and that’s why the fight game is the fight game because these people are special. We don’t want them hurt or injured in any way, not at all. If you were to say say he loses his sight, but we win the fight I’d say fuck that.”
The aftermath of a big fight is always full of ifs, buts and maybes. And with the added voice of social media we are treated to comments from everyone who is willing to give their take regardless of their experience or knowledge. When Dubois went down in round ten by a lead left hand from Joyce and failed to get up before the count of ten it didn’t take long before the words ‘He quit’ to be painted all over the internet. This was a comment, disguised or in black and white, not just from fans but from professional fighters as well as former ones. Social asked Bowers and Warren their thoughts on that reaction.
“Your body reacts how it reacts,” said Bowers. “It ain’t like he’s swallowed [it] or anything, it’s not like he took a beating. For my money and a few others, he was winning the fight. Anything could have happened with those last three rounds. Personally, and I’m not saying it in hindsight, I don’t think we would have been in there after that round [ten]. I think I would have been calling a halt to it whether we were winning or not and I’m not just saying that. I said to our corner we’ve got three rounds left of this fight and one round with that eye.”
“Let’s say it how it is, no-one likes a quitter,” Warren began. “I’ve said in the past about fighters quitting and how I look at it. Maybe those saying he quit didn’t know he had a fractured eye socket and the pain he was getting from the nerve. Maybe those people want to change what they say, that’s their choice. Would he have come out again in the next round? No. Maybe he shouldn’t have went out in that [tenth] round anyway. For a couple of rounds he couldn’t see out the eye. He was struggling. The truth is you’ll find out whether he’s a quitter when he comes back. He’s either going to come out this a better fighter or not. We’ll see the mark of him. I think he will cope with it and come back stronger, but we will see.”
And regarding the future of Dubois and Joyce, Warren had this to say: “We’ll have to see what happens after he [Dubois] goes to see the specialist. He fought a guy who was 2016 Silver medallist, should have been a Gold medallist and he’s undefeated as a pro and is a good fighter. He did what he had to do. Are we going to match him [Dubois] lower than that? I don’t know yet. If he’s got what I think he’s got then of course you get a fight back where you’re back on the saddle and then after that he’s got to be stepped up again.
“All Joe [who will now land a high ranking with the WBO and WBC] wants is big fights and he’s made that clear. It’s up to him and we’ll work hard on delivering those big fights for him.”