The eagerly-awaited showdown between unbeaten British heavyweight prospects Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce is on and will take place behind closed doors before the end of 2020.
London’s O2 Arena was a virtual sellout back in April when the bout was initially supposed to take place, and it was later rescheduled for July and then for Saturday October 24. But the reintroduction of COVID-19 regulations stopping fans entering UK arenas scuppered those plans.
Warren praise for Dubois and Joyce
But now Frank Warren, whose Queensberry Promotions looks after both fighters, says the fight will happen without a crowd, in late November or early December.
He said: “Since the government let us know we couldn’t have an audience present in October I’ve worked day and night to ensure this fight still happens.
“It’s the biggest domestic heavyweight clash in years and it’s testament to the character of both fighters that they are willing to step up and take the fight on even with all the restrictions and obstacles in their way.
“I’m delighted that Queensberry, BT Sport and the fighters were all willing to come together to make this happen and deliver big time for British boxing fans.”
The exciting Dubois (15-0) is seen by many experts as the future of the heavyweight division and a potential successor to the likes of Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. Only just 23, he has been hugely impressive in registering 14 of those victories inside distance.
Joyce (11-0 with 10 inside distance) meanwhile has just turned 35 and has no time to waste as he looks to step up towards elite level.
World-title hopes on the line
Warren has talked up the prospect of a world-title fight in the near future for the winner, saying: “It really is winner-takes-all. In Daniel, you have a 23-year-old lad who most in world boxing consider to be the hottest young prospect in the heavyweight division.
“If he can do to Joe Joyce what he’s done to the 15 men that came before him, he’ll be ready to go for a world title in my opinion.
“Joe might be a little older than Daniel, but in my books he’s every bit as exciting a prospect. He has so much more experience than Daniel, as an amateur, that I’d be surprised if he doesn’t go into the fight as many people’s favourite.
“If Joe wins, then he’ll be ready for world titles too.”
Dubois, who recently returned to the ring for the first time since December 2019 with an easy victory over Dutchman Ricardo Snijders, is itching to finally lock horns with Joyce and get the chance to rubber-stamp his exciting credentials.
He said: “Nothing’s changed from February when I first said I’d knock Joe out. It’s a tough fight, he’s a good fighter, but I’m looking to deliver another devastating performance and move on to fight for a world title.
“I’m just glad we can finally get it on. I know we’ve both been looking forward to it and I’m sure the British public are just as excited as we are for us to finally fight.
“Joe is going to find out just how explosive Dynamite really is.”
Joyce meanwhile added: “The fight is finally on and I can’t wait to get my hands on this guy. It’s going to be an explosive night.”
Clarity for ticket holders
While Warren is as yet unable to confirm the exact and date for Dubois vs Joyce, he was keen to avoid any confusion for the fans who have already bought tickets for the cancelled dates.
“Of course I’d like to come out with all the venue and date details ready to go,” he said. “But the reality is, the situation is moving so fast we don’t have everything 100% confirmed.
“But the one thing we do have confirmed is that this fight will happen behind-closed-doors either in late November or early December. That means the event in October is cancelled and all ticket holders should get a refund from their ticket agent.”
Dubois is currently a 1/4 chance to win with UK bookmakers while Joyce is a 3/1 chance. The bout will be a pay-per-view showdown on BT Sport Box Office.