Saturday, June 11, presents 24-year-old Londoner Daniel Dubois with an ideal opportunity to get his career fully back on track. Dubois has traveled to Florida as the mandatory challenger to Trevor Bryan. Bryan's WBA ‘regular' heavyweight world title will be up for grabs.
New Yorker Bryan (22-0, 15KOs) and Dubois (17-1, 16KOs) will meet on a Don King promoted card at Casino Miami Jai-Alai, Miami, Florida, as Bryan looks to make the second defense of the strap he won by defeating Bermane Stiverne in January 2021.
Allow me to comment on the belt on offer, not mention it again in this piece. The recognized WBA heavyweight champion is Oleksandr Usyk. The WBA refers to Usyk as their ‘super' champion. Under the WBA's structure, a secondary world title is available. They call this their ‘regular' title. Saturday's winner won't be considered a world champion by most media and fans – merely a title holder of a supplementary belt. It is what it is. The belt exists, the WBA can rake in sanctioning fees, and when it is contested, promoters can hype the fights as world title showdowns if they wish. Winning this belt may or may not open the door for Saturday's victor to eventually face one of the big names in the heavyweight division but better to win than find out what follows.
Alright, time to look at the fighters.
Undefeated American Trevor Bryan is 32 years old and has been a professional since 2011. By modern boxing standards, he has a reasonable rate of activity – two bouts per year on average – although he has only fought twice since beating BJ Flores in 2018. One of those bouts was the aforementioned win over Stiverne (TKO11); the other was a split decision victory against Jonathan Guidry in Ohio in January of this year.
Trained by Stacey McKinley, Bryan is fairly slow and ponderous looking, although he can get into a comfortable rhythm if he can get his jab firing. Bryan has tipped the scales at over 265lb in his last two fights. In years gone by, he was in the 230-240lb range. The 265lb version looks to be carrying too much timber, which affects his output and reflexes. He may find himself in deep water against Dubois.
I checked in with knowledgeable boxing observer Tim Brown Jr. (@nash10rounder on Twitter) to get an American perspective on Bryan:
“First of all, it's crazy that Bryan is an American heavyweight who is a second-tier champion and nobody in America knows about him,” Tim said. “I watched some old footage of Bryan sparring with Big Baby Miller. He hung in there, and although Miller was the bigger man throwing bigger punches, Bryan was willing to stay in the pocket and attempt to fight inside with him. For this fight, he has been saying he's going to box with Dubois and then smash him. He believes that Dubois is a bully who really doesn't want a hard fight. His plan seems to revolve around the idea that he will get Dubois late in the fight, fighting him to the point that Dubois will not want to continue. He reminds me of a fighter that has gotten old, like a late-career Tony Thompson type. He can still move a little bit, but you can tell youth and vigor have escaped him. Unless Dubois really is just a bully who may be mentally weak down the stretch, I don't see Bryan having any attributes that will give Dubois problems.”
Daniel Dubois is still working his way back from a tough loss to Joe Joyce in November 2020. Prior to that, Dubois was beginning to be touted as potentially the next major heavyweight talent to emerge from the UK. In stopping 14 of his first 15 opponents – only crafty veteran Kevin Johnson heard the final bell – Dubois was building a reputation as something of a knockout specialist. Along with displaying finishing power, Dubois looked composed in the main during his early days as a professional. He wouldn't get over-excited or smother his own work when he saw he had an opponent in trouble.
Of course, those early foes were several leagues below the top level. When Dubois faced Joyce in a meeting of two undefeated English hopefuls, he was left looking high and dry, outboxed by a man who had significantly more amateur experience than he had. Dubois couldn't maneuver past Joyce's jab. Defensively the jab of Joyce kept landing; in an attacking sense, Dubois couldn't get into position to land any of his power punches. Eventually, having suffered a fracture to his left eye socket, Dubois decided to take a knee and live to fight another day.
Following the defeat, Dubois received criticism for choosing to protect his future health and career by safeguarding his eye-sight. This criticism was harsh. Experts also questioned his boxing intelligence and failure to adjust against Joyce. These comments I did agree with. By way of response, Dubois linked up with highly regarded trainer Shane McGuigan. Regarded as one of the best trainers in the UK, McGuigan has had success training Josh Taylor, Carl Frampton, and George Groves, to name a few. The hope here is that Dubois can prosper against a better level of opponent under his tutelage.
The Dubois-McGuigan partnership has had two outings so far. Both evenings ended early. Dubois returned from the Joyce defeat to knockout Bogdan Dinu in the second round of their June 2021 contest, then followed that up with a first-round stoppage of Joe Cusumano in August. The Dinu win installed him as mandatory for Saturday's fight, while the Cusumano bout was a stay busy affair. Since then, Dubois has been in the gym, waiting patiently on Saturday's fight to materialize.
In a recent piece on boxingscene.com, Shane McGuigan discussed building up to the Bryan fight with Tris Dixon:
“We've had a ten-month break where he's been working away, which is fantastic for his progression and for us to be able to work on things and try things out. I think Dubois has really progressed, and I hope we get the chance to show that because if he blitzes him early, people won't see the difference, but at some point, it will be unveiled, and I can't wait for it to be showcased. He's still very much a work in progression but he has everything that you need to become an elite fighter; balance, punch power, reflexes, and some things he hasn't shown yet.”
We know anything can happen in boxing – even more so in the land of the heavyweights – however, going into this bout, I am reasonably confident that Dubois will win. He may not do it in the first or second round, but, assuming he has taken on board some of McGuigan's teachings, I expect him to dominate before dispatching Bryan around the midway point of the contest.
The expected win for Dubois will hopefully not be met with ridiculous notions that he has now achieved world champion status. It would be a solid win for him at this stage of his career, nothing more. Even if it is plain sailing on fight night, after ten months in the gym, a short break would be advised before getting back to work with Shane McGuigan. Bettering Bryan in Miami on Saturday will hopefully be a stepping stone to bigger and tougher fights for Daniel Dubois in the future.
WHEN IS BRYAN VS. DUBOIS, DATE AND START TIME
Date: Saturday, June 11
Main card: 4:00 p.m. ET / 1:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m BST
Main event ringwalks (approx): 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT/ 11:30 p.m BST
*These times are subject to change due to the length of the undercard fights
WHAT CHANNEL/STREAM IS BRYAN VS. DUBOIS?
U.S.: FiteTv ($29.99)
U.K & Ireland: BT Sport
TREVOR BRYAN VS. DANIEL DUBOIS FIGHT CARD
- Trevor Bryan vs Daniel Dubois (WBA ‘Regular’ heavyweight title)
- Dacarree Scott vs Jonathan Guidry (heavyweight)
- Ahmed Elbiali vs Dervin Colina (light heavyweight)
- Johnnie Langston vs Isaiah Thompson (cruiserweight)
- Tre’Sean Wiggins vs Travis Castellon (welterweight)
- Ian Green vs Anthony Lenks (middleweight)
- Luis Rodriguez Fernandez vs Ryan Adams (super middleweight)
- Raynel Mederos vs. Ryan Wilson(super lightweights)
TREVOR BRYAN VS. DANIEL DUBOIS BETTING ODDS
Per BetMGM, Daniel Dubois is the favorite at -1100, and Trevor Bryan is the underdog at +650.
Daniel Dubois: Decision +500; KO/TKO -450
Trevor Bryan: Decision +1800; KO/TKO +1000
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