The pair will meet at the O2 Arena in London in April and, judging by the face off, it should be a fiery contest
The highly anticipated heavyweight showdown between Britain’s undefeated knockout artists Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce was confirmed on Friday.
The pair are set for a blockbuster meeting at the O2 Arena, London, on April 11, and sparks flew when they came face to face for the announcement.
Joyce, 34, the World Boxing Association “Gold champion”, appeared to get under the skin of Dubois, 22, who shoved his rival.
For Dubois, the bout appears a natural next step after his belt-collecting exploits since turning professional in April 2017. He has won nine championship titles inside 41 rounds of action.
The World Boxing Organisation’s No 3-ranked fighter said: “This is the biggest fight of my career without doubt. This will be the fight that announces me to the world.
“I am younger than him, faster than him, and I think I am better than Joe in every department. I have a better jab, I have better movement, I have more power. The only thing Joe has over me is experience, but he’s never boxed anyone as young and as hungry as me. This will be the most devastating performance of my career.”
“It’s going to be great while it lasts. It’s not going to go the distance. I see it definitely being a stoppage for me. I just can’t wait to get back in the gym and start preparing, getting my mind on it and getting focused on the job.”
The contest ranks with the great all-British heavyweight fights going back to the 1960s; with Billy Walker’s contests against Jack Bodell and Henry Cooper, the battle in the 1970s between Cooper and Joe Bugner and, more recently, Lennox Lewis against Frank Bruno and Dereck Chisora against bitter rivals David Haye and Dillian Whyte.
Joyce won the Commonwealth title in his fourth professional fight, having made his debut in October 2017, and won his WBA strap in December 2018 following a first-round stoppage of Joe Hanks.
He defeated former World Boxing Council champion Bermane Stiverne via a sixth-round KO in February 2019 and then scored a quick-fire third-round victory over the giant Alexander Ustinov in his first appearance as a Queensberry Promotions fighter last May.
Joyce said: “This is a massive fight. There’s no denying that there’s a lot on the line on both sides, but experience is something you can’t buy and I’ve got tons of it and I believe it’ll play a huge factor in this fight.”
This is a contest that has been brewing since the London pair were put forward to contend for the British title last summer but, ultimately, headed in alternate directions, with Dubois (14-0) taking on Nathan Gorman, and Joyce (10-0) scoring a notable win over the experienced American Bryant Jennings.
Dubois and Joyce are the frontrunners when it comes to the emerging forces in the heavyweight division, and the winner of their much anticipated 12-round battle will be on the brink of a world heavyweight title challenge.
Promoter Frank Warren said: “People always talk about wanting the best to fight the best early in their careers. Well, on Feb 22 we have the No 1 and No 2 heavyweights in the world [Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury] settling a score in Las Vegas, then in April we will have the two best up-and-coming heavyweights in the world putting it all on the line at the O2 Arena.
“It is a fight that needed to be made to see which man is ready to challenge the elite at the top end of the division. And the loser will have to reset and build again.
“This is a fight both men could easily have avoided and navigated, by taking a less perilous route to the top, but they want to get it on and give the fans what they want to see. When that first bell rings and it will be edge-of-seat stuff.”
Warren added: “The contrast in styles will be fascinating, with Daniel being a classic banger, with strong fundamentals and a ramrod jab that gets better all the time.
“Joe has got a style all of his own and comes at his opponents relentlessly from every angle. Can Daniel withstand the swarming force of Joe? Can Joe absorb the bludgeoning power of Daniel? We’ll find out soon enough.”