Young Londoner Daniel Dubois took an important step forward in his career on Saturday. The 24-year-old journeyed to Florida and relieved Trevor Bryan of his unbeaten record and his WBA ‘regular' heavyweight world title.
Bryan, from Schenectady, NY and living in Florida, is now 22-1. Dubois rose to 18-1; his lone loss came to Joe Joyce in Nov. 2020.
Promoted by Don King, the heavyweight tangle topped a promotion titled “The Fight For Freedom And Peace” – dedicated to the citizens of Ukraine as they continue to endure invasion from the Russian military.
In case there was any doubt, the ring, ropes and all signage contained within were in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag. The action took place at Casino Miami Jai-Alai in Miami and was available to watch on PPV via the Fite TV app in America. BT Sport screened the bout in the UK and Ireland.
King, for this second DKP event of the year, forked out a tidy sum in order to keep the fight in America and give his man Bryan home advantage. The host casino must have reimbursed him up front as the small crowd inside the small looking hall wouldn't have provided much of a gate.
The boxers entered what looked on TV to be a miniature ring – perhaps it was the colour scheme – and after national anthems and introductions, got to work.
Daniel Dubois started on the attack, peppering Bryan, who weighed 259 on Friday, with his jab and throwing his right hand with bad intentions. Bryan, to his credit did enough to stay out of harms way in the opener. Due to the ring size, staying out of the way meant he often tested the strength of the ropes.
The 32 year old Bryan, down from the 268 he weighed in his last outing, in January, showed more willingness to engage towards the end of the second session. But his movements looked uncoordinated and clumsy rather than anything that could threaten Daniel Dubois, who was 241 on Friday.
Round three saw Dubois, now trained by Shane McGuigan instead of Martin Bowers (who manages DD) trying to establish his jab. He used his range-finder to head and body. This kept Bryan off balance and in retreat mode. The ropes again had to take the strain of Bryan's weight as he took a right hand and doubled down on his survival tactics. Daniel Dubois just couldn't find the target again before the round ended. It was a sign of things to come.
In the fourth round Daniel Dubois began throwing the hook off his jab, and this attack with his left hand was the one that solved the puzzle. A perfectly timed hook exploded onto the chin of Bryan and the American hit the canvas face first. He tried to get up but it was in vain – the referee ended the count and signalled that the contest was over. Bryan did seem to be alright when he got to his feet and crossed the ring to take a seat on his stool to be looked at by the ringside doctor.
Dubois was announced as “the new WBA heavyweight champion of the world” by the ring announcer. Misleading as only in the comedic world of the WBA can this even be close to the truth. Daniel Dubois picked up their secondary world title – the fact that this even exists is an 800-word article on its own. The main thing Dubois had to do tonight was win, and win convincingly. He ticked both those boxes.
Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini conducted the in-ring interview with Dubois and Shane McGuigan. A delighted Dubois had this to say: “I've worked so hard for this; I've finally made it happen. Now I can make some massive fights in the future, I'm just so grateful for this moment. I've got to thank God and everyone who helped me on this journey.”
Shane McGuigan was asked about potential future opponents for Daniel Dubois: “We'd like to go after someone in the UK, someone like Dillian Whyte. I think now he holds a belt it's going to draw in the big names. It's only right for him to have these big fights and massive moments. He's had his last two fights in the United States so now's the time to bring his next fight back to the UK, we need a good opponent and someone that people know in the UK. We'll call for one of those names.”
Mancini asked Dubois if Whyte was an opponent he was targeting in future: “Oh yeah, definitely. Bring them all on, now I'm ready. This has set me up and I'll become an instantly better fighter from this.”
Daniel Dubois will now return home and, after a ten-month build-up to this fight in the gym, will hopefully take a few weeks off. Despite getting the job done tonight, any honest assessment of this fight tonight must remark upon how limited Bryan looked. He was negative, clumsy and unathletic.
Daniel Dubois delivered a conclusive one-punch ending with a shot that we haven't seen previously from him. It is clear he is learning under his new trainer – he's better than he was but there is still a long way to go before he becomes the finished article.
For now, Daniel Dubois deserves to enjoy the fruits of his work. He was set the test of facing an undefeated belt holder on the road and passed it in good style. It remains to be seen if the strap he collected tonight will be more help or hinderance to him moving forward. It will be interesting to follow Daniel Dubois' progress from here. If he continues to improve and develop, he has a chance to make a real splash in the heavyweight division.