Dubois, 23, has 14 knockouts from 15 professional contests while Joyce, 12 years his senior, has 10 knockouts in his 11 career victories
The meeting of unbeaten heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce at the historic Westminster Church House will join the pantheon of intriguing all-British clashes from the days of Henry Cooper and Joe Bugner in 1971 to Lennox Lewis in the ‘Battle of Britain’ against Frank Bruno in 1993.
Cooper, a national treasure at the time, may have been pipped by a quarter of a point on the card of referee and judge on the night, Harry Gibb, but the Lewis denouement with a brutal seventh round finish on Bruno is what is expected when the ambitious pairing of Dubois and Joyce trade fists in the heart of London behind closed doors on Saturday night.
It is a mouthwatering clash with both men having the styles to test each other to the limit. Dubois, just 23 years old, heavy handed with 14 knockouts in his 15 professional contests, is regarded as a young pretender to the heavyweight throne, but Joyce has the credentials to test the south London heavyweight for the first time in his career.
Dubois, lighter on his feet, with an excellent jab, a very heavy right hand and supreme confidence, knows that victory in this contest will propel him into the upper echelons of the division. Dynamite’ Dubois defends the British, Commonwealth and WBC Silver titles against the Rio Olympic silver medallist ‘Juggernaut’ Joyce. The vacant European championship is also on the line in the bout.
“I feel confident and left no stone unturned in training,” said Dubois this week. “I am not intimidated by his experience. He has never been in with a fighter like me before and I’m ready to go. I am young and hungry. I am ready for a long, hard fight but also a quick one. I have the power in both hands to take him out. I will break him down and chop him up.
“People haven’t seen the best of me and I’m looking forward to showing my whole repertoire and skill. I want to win in devastating fashion and knock him out. I want to send a clear message to the rest of the fighters in the heavyweight division and to the world that I am coming. I’m ready for war.”
Joyce, meanwhile, who has 10 knockouts in his 11 career victories, is equally confident. Twelve years older than Dubois, he explained: “I am not under pressure. I am confident and ready to do the business. I’m the underdog and coming to take him out. I don’t care if people have written me off. My amateur experience makes a difference. I have been there and been tested. There are no questions about my ability and my achievements. Dubois hasn’t done anything in the senior amateurs or in the professional ranks, yet.”
Joyce added: “I feel I have achieved more in my fewer professional fights than he has. I have power in both hands, I have a good chin, my engine is good and I’m ready to go 12 rounds, if need be. If I see the opportunity, though, I will punch him until he’s down. If his power doesn’t put me down he is in a heap of trouble. I’m not blessed with speed but I hit the target and keep coming. I will go to work, find my range and knock him out. I have nothing to say to him except respect your elders – and he will do when we meet.”
Frank Warren, the promoter who celebrates 40 years in the sport on Tuesday, December 1, insisted that the victor moves into “the big time”.
“What makes it special?,” he said before answering: “They believe they have the beating of each other. Joe’s got tremendous amateur experience, in my view was robbed of the gold medal in the Olympics. Daniel has dedicated his life to boxing and look at what he has done after having had just seven senior amateur fights.
“It’s got the ingredients of an amazing, amazing fight. Whatever happens the winner will become new mandatory for the WBO or fight Oleksandr Usyk for the vacant title if Anthony Joshua fights Tyson Fury. This is it — a big moment in time for both of them. The winner is in the big time.”
Gareth A Davies’ prediction
This is an enticing, thrilling match-up and a crossroads fight for both Dubois and Joyce. Dubois has the edge in speed and devastating power, but Joyce, in the best shape we have ever seen him, looks like he means business and victory would elevate him without any question into the top rung of the blue riband division.
If Joyce is still there and intact after six rounds it will be fascinating, especially if Dubois has been tested by Joyce’s punches. I think Dubois wins this, if he can take those punches, around the sixth round.
Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce is live on BT Sport 1 on Saturday night at 7.30pm