Daniel Dubois vows to become new king of heavyweight boxing: 'I will be world champion and go down as a legend'

Tony Mogan
Evening Standard
Dubois: The future of boxing?: Getty Images
Dubois: The future of boxing?: Getty Images

Daniel Dubois has warned his time to takeover and dominate boxing's heavyweight ranks is edging closer, vowing to go down as a legend of the sport.

Dubois is leaving a devastating trail of destruction behind him as he sweeps through the division with 12 wins from 12 professional fights - including 11 chilling knockouts for the man appropriately nicknamed 'Dynamite'.

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At 22, the 6ft 5in Londoner is the third youngest British heavyweight champion and will look to add the Commonwealth title when he takes on Ebenezer Tetteh at the Royal Albert Hall later this month.

That will be just the start. Under the guidance of Frank Warren, trainer Martin Bowers and a boxing-obsessed family, Dubois has been labelled the future of heavyweight boxing - and it is easy to see why Anthony Joshua, Andy Ruiz Jr, Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury may be looking over their shoulder.

Dubois flattened Nathan Gorman last time out. (Getty Images)
Dubois flattened Nathan Gorman last time out. (Getty Images)

"My fights have been sending out messages to the guys at the top of the division," Dubois told Standard Sport. "Every performance, every knockout, they feel it. They are watching. As long as I am performing, eventually I will be fighting them."

Other than his hulking frame, the most striking thing about Greenwich-born Dubois is how softly-spoken he is. In Canning Town's Peacock Gym, once home to the iconic British heavyweights Frank Bruno and Lennox Lewis, he calmly explains his plans for world domination and while there is a clear confidence when he speaks there is no trash talking.

"Honestly, from an amateur to where I am now, I have been in the boxing gym my whole life and trash talking and all that stuff... I don't think its necessary. As long as you can fight. If you can't fight so good you have to talk. But for me, I'll always be doing my talking in the ring. I will be a devastating fighter without it."

Dubois produced another thrilling knockout victory last time out, honing his reputation as perhaps the hardest hitter in the division with his stoppage of Nathan Gorman in July.

That meeting with Gorman was seen as a stern examination of Dubois' potential - one he passed with flying colours as he finished the previously unbeaten heavyweight in five rounds in a performance that demonstrated both his power and maturity beyond his 22 years.

"There was a lot on the line for that," Dubois recalled. "It was a defining win in my career, it put me in the position to push on for bigger things.

"I'm definitely stepping up, Frank's guiding my career but he's also providing me with real challenges. I'm moving towards the big, big names and big challenges in boxing. It's all steady progress."

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Greater tests lie ahead but Dubois could be ready to take that considerable step up within the next 18 months. His trajectory has been carefully mapped out by Warren and Bowers, with his trainer planning to ensure his fighter is not only ready to take the belts when his chance comes, but to hold onto them too.

"All fighters want to be the best straight away," Bowers explained. "You can probably think you can be that person who is No.1. But that person who is No.1 put the work in, spent the years doing their apprenticeship, getting himself there. You have to give that person credit because hopefully we'll be in that position soon and it will be our time in the spotlight.

"It's a journey, we are in no rush. At the moment he is picking up the right titles and beating everyone in his own back yard. It's a credit to the team, we are doing it the right way. So when Dan actually gets there, we can not only win it, but keep hold of it. Because that is the best thing you can do.

"In this game, you have to push on. We've got to be careful that we don't overwork now so that when we do get there, we still have space to grow. It's a delicate balance."

The 22-year-old's future is being mapped out in the gym. (Getty Images)
The 22-year-old's future is being mapped out in the gym. (Getty Images)

Dubois' career so far is somewhat similar to Joshua's - littered with highlight reel KOs with his true potential already on show. He and 'AJ' have already crossed paths in sparring - with the younger man rumoured to have knocked out the former world champion in one fabled session.

A meeting between the two remains a tantalising prospect for the future - can Dubois eclipse what the Watford fighter has accomplished? "I believe so," he said. "He [Joshua] has reached the pinnacle and being world champion is what I am in the sport for. I'm heading towards the stars."

"It doesn't matter (who is at the top). If they are at the top then I've got to beat them up to take my place as the best."

Dubois comes from strong boxing stock. Sister Caroline, regarded as perhaps the best of her generation at 18, is competing in the European Championships and has been tipped for greatness at next summer's Olympics in Tokyo while younger brother Prince, 15, is another precocious talent.

The driving force behind their development and Daniel's rise is their father, David.

"My dad took the time out to put me in this sport of boxing," Dubois said. "It has helped me grow as a man and I put it all down to him, getting me in this game and making me the way I am today. I'm just doing the best to finish off what he started a long time ago."

Bowers added of his fighter: "He is very grounded, he has got a really good family unit behind him. His dad is a good man, he does all the cooking, he prepares really good food for Dan. The produce he eats, his dad goes and gets, it's all home-made. That is a really good thing.

"All the kids are athletes, all striving to be something. There is a healthy rivalry, they are all on point doing the work. It helps keeps his feet on the ground, he comes in here, does all his work with the boys - there is no special treatment."

The undefeated Tetteh is up next for Dubois in Kensington on 27 September. After that, but before a world title tilt, there could be compelling domestic dust-ups with David Price and Joe Joyce along the way. For now, he is taking things one step at a time - but there is no hiding his ambition.

"Its down to me really, winning my next fight and moving myself into a position to challenge these guys. But I am more than ready for these big names, to put them down and move on with my career and fulfil my potential.

"That is becoming a world champion and going down as a legend."

Tickets for Dubois v Tetteh at the Royal Albert Hall on September 27 are available through ticketmaster.co.uk .

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