Daniel Dubois - the most feared fighter in British boxing? How his camp are plotting his route to the top

Tony Mogan
Dubois is looking to win belt number nine against Kyotaro Fujimoto in December: Action Images via Reuters

For Daniel Dubois the plan is simple – keep knocking people out and he will soon be challenging for the heavyweight world championships.

But behind the scenes in the complicated world of boxing, ensuring all the pieces are in the right place for that to happen can be a little more convoluted.

Dubois has left a devastating trail of destruction behind him in a brutal, 13-fight professional career. The 22-year-old has won eight belts in that time and will challenge for a ninth when he takes on Kyotaro Fujimoto for the WBC silver strap on 21 December.

The choice of opponent serves a real purpose. Not only will victory add another belt to his collection, but it should propel him into a top 15 position with the WBA – the only boxing organisation which does not yet rank the Greenwich fighter.

Dubois is ranked ninth by the WBO and 15th by both the IBF and WBC. The appeal of the Fujimoto fight is his no12 ranking with the WBA. Victory over the Japanese heavyweight could result in Dubois getting that WBA ranking and holding a promising position in each of boxing’s four major organisations.

Frank Warren and trainer Martin Bowers have carefully guided Dubois’ rise with world title shots a realistic possibility in 2020. His camp want to ensure he is in a position to challenge for as many belts as he can.

“I know where I need to get him and what position he needs to be in,” Warren said. “That allows us to capitalise when the time is right. That is the objective.

“Our objective is to get Daniel into a position where he is going to fight, be a mandatory, fight for a world title and win it. Not one where we are having to give options away, but to get him into that no1 spot and that is what we are going to be doing.”

The four heavyweight belts have been held by just three men for two years and eight months - Deontay Wilder has worn the WBC crown since January 2015 with Anthony Joshua and Andy Ruiz Jr monopolising the remaining titles since April 2017.

That could be about to change – the winner of Joshua vs Ruiz could be forced to vacate at least one of their titles, with Oleksandr Usyk (WBO mandatory) and Kubrat Pulev (IBF mandatory) waiting in the background.

While he isn’t at the front of the queue yet, Dubois for now can force the issue, wait for the dust to settle and plot which belt to target first.

“In boxing, it’s all about challenges,” Dubois said. “This one is the pinnacle of the sport; if I can get there as soon as possible and be in that position I am more than ready.

Dubois hoping to force his way up the WBC rankings - currently ruled by Wilder. (Getty Images)

“Timing is everything, getting it right. I’ll just continue winning in style and get there real soon.”

Dubois has had one major domestic test in 2019 – one he passed with flying colours after finishing the previously unbeaten Nathan Gorman inside five rounds in July.

There has been a clamour of sorts for Dubois to be tested against more battle-hardened British heavyweights – Dereck Chisora, intent on launching another world title tilt of his own, Dave Allen, who put himself in the frame for a British title challenge and David Price, his reputation enhanced again after taking apart Allen in the summer.

But getting those fights made has been the problem.

“We tried very hard to make it with Dave Allen,” Warren continued. “The money he wanted was ridiculous to start with. But within three calls I told them not to ring anymore – every time they rang they put £100k on it.

“Chisora, we made him a big offer. He didn’t want to know. That’s where we are at. We have to make fights that are part of the jigsaw, so we can keep putting the pieces together to get us where we need to get to. He [Dubois] is doing that in the ring and between us we are making the moves that matter.”

While it might be lacking the domestic dust-ups fight fans savour for now, the strategy in place for Dubois is a compelling one. 2020 can’t come quickly enough.

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