In November of last year, Daniel Dubois went from hugely touted, sure thing for the heavyweight title, to “overhyped quitter.” Dubois certainly had to listen to some harsh words after losing his unbeaten record to Joe Joyce. His eye swollen to quite horriffic proportions, Dubois took a knee in that 10th round, “Dynamite” failing to get back up in time to resume fighting.
Plenty of armchair fans hurled the quitter label at Dubois, but much worse, so too did David Haye and Carl Frampton; though in a far more respectful manner. But the damage was done, Dubois’ bubble had been burst. In fairness, the young heavyweight had his supporters; people who expressed a great deal of sympathy over the way the still-learning fighter tried his best to deal with a terrible injury. Now, in giving his first interview since the loss to Joyce, Dubois says that while he “panicked” in that tenth round, he did not quit.
“I felt the pain and what I felt happening in my eye,” Dubois said in speaking with Frank Warren’s Queensbury Promotions YouTube channel. “I took a knee and it discombobulated me a bit. I was a bit frantic, panicking. I took a knee and the rest is history, but after all that, I’m no going to let this stop me, set me back, hold me back. I’m going to come forward and come through this and improve and work on what I need to work on. A number of things went wrong (in the Joyce fight). On the night, he had a sharper jab. I’d love to have revenge and have that clash again.”
Joyce, though, has moved on to bigger things; with a fight for the interim WBO heavyweight title likely, with Joyce set to fght Oleksandr Usyk. If Joyce can win that, his future will no doubt be taken up by massive fights at world title level. Anything can happen in boxing and maybe one day Joyce and Dubois will meet again, but it could take some time.
Right now, Dubois is looking forward to getting complete and final confirmation that his eye is 100-percent, this from the doctors. Then, the 23 year old wants to stick it to his critics.
“When I come back, I want t see them same people and I want to get in the ring with them, and show them how much of a quitter I am,” Dubois said sternly. “I’ll come back hard and better than before and come back solid.”
Dubois has plenty of time in which to come again. It will be some test of his mental strength yet all signs suggest Dubois has that kind of mental determination. Plenty of fighters would have seen themselves stopped if they had been handicapped by such an eye injury. That quitter tag was unfair.