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WBO title route offers hope for Dubois

The heavyweight title picture is highly convoluted at the moment with contracted fights and mandatories blocking the path of most contenders.

At almost 23, Daniel Dubois certainly has time on his side. The Greenwich banger blew away late sub Ricardo Snijders in two rounds on Saturday ahead of a projected clash with fellow Londoner Joe Joyce on October 24.

Promoter Frank Warren is bullish about his fighter’s chances. Dubois (15-0, 14 KOs) is a prodigious talent and it surely won’t be that long before he is contesting a world title, but first he must wait for the pathway to clear – though the WBO rankings appear to offer hope.

“When you have a talent like Daniel, the individual route to a world title becomes less important,” promoter Warren told Sky Sports.

“Before long, he’ll be at the top of all the sanctioning bodies’ rankings and everyone will be running scared from him. If it’s AJ’s WBO title, so be it.

“They’ve sparred before and Daniel held his own. I’ve said before, I’d make that fight tomorrow.”

Yet a route for Dubois to fight for the WBO title does appear to be opening up as the leading lights in the heavyweight division fulfil their obligations.

WBC king Tyson Fury has a contracted fight with Deontay Wilder while WBA Super, WBO and IBF title-holder Anthony Joshua must meet IBF mandatory Kubrat Pulev next before the British behemoths can entertain a proposed two fight-series. WBO No.1 contender Oleksandr Usyk is also likely to enforce his position that could mean Joshua is stripped in early 2021 for opting for a more lucrative and compelling fight with Fury.

That leaves Dubois in a very healthy position as WBO No.3, one notch behind former champion Joseph Parker who would seem the safest bet to meet Usyk for the vacant title. 

Should he get past Joyce, Dubois will almost inevitably be the WBO’s No.1 contender later next year once the Usyk situation is resolved. A title shot may not be quite as far as it seems.