Daniel Dubois survived a major scare on the big Fury vs Chisora 3 undercard to retain his WBA regular heavyweight title with a third-round stoppage win over South African Kevin Lerena in London on Saturday night.
‘Dynamite’ was on the floor three times in a bizarre opening session before recovering brilliantly to land the crucial blows to close the show late in the third.
Dubois (now 19-1 with 18 wins inside distance) began the opening session feeling out Lerena (now 28-2) with that stiff long jab, with the South African struggling to close the gap to his much bigger opponent.
Dubois in major trouble in Round 1
Daniel was warming into the fight nicely when disaster struck with a minute remaining in the round. He appeared to be caught by a counter to the top of the head as he moved in, and then appeared to injure his knee as he stumbled backwards. The end result was a shocking knockdown.
Dubois was still clearly in major trouble despite surviving that first count, and twice more in the opening round he would go to the canvas and take counts. His knee was clearly causing him significant issues at this stage, and his first words to trainer Shane McGuigan in the corner between rounds, quite simply, were “what happened?”.
McGuigan told his charge not to throw hooks but just to move forward and throw jabs and straight right hands, trying to minimise the issue of that ankle injury. He gradually got back into the fight in Round 2 and he started to land the odd nice shot late in the session.
The third brought more of the same with the slow pace suiting the clearly wounded Daniel as he produced the better shots. It was a mystery why Lerena had not really stepped on the gas to try and force a stoppage. He would soon pay a heavy price for not doing so.
‘Dynamite’ pulls it out of the fire
Dubois has the power to end any fight in a heartbeat, and he dragged himself right back into it late in the third as he produced a knockdown of his own. He unleashed a peach of a right hand to deck Lerena with just over 30 seconds remaining in the session.
Now it was Lerena in survival mode as he started to eat huge Dubois shots while trapped on the ropes. A big left hook and right uppercut both landed to see him crumple to the floor. And while he was up swiftly referee Howard Foster waved it off as the bell sounded.
Dubois is now the mandatory contender for the main WBA ‘super’ heavyweight title currently held by Oleksandr Usyk. And if a Fury vs Usyk unification does not materialise, Dubois could get a title shot sooner rather than later.