Tonight in London, in the heavily hyped and anticipated heavyweight battle between unbeaten British contenders Joe Joyce and Daniel Dubois, it proved to be the boxing skill of older man Joyce that told the story.
Joyce, who landed a ton of superb left jabs all night through, banged Dubois with a sharp left in the tenth round, the shot landing on Dubois’ hammered shut left eye. Dubois took a knee, in obvious pain, and he failed to beat the count.
Joyce got the stoppage win at :36 of the 10th. Now the holder of the British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight titles, 35 year old Joyce also improved to 12-0(11). Dubois, the younger man by 12 years, drops to 15-1(14).
Most of us expected an explosion tonight, instead we saw a boxing lesson, administered by former Olympian Joyce. Dubois certainly had his moments, his right hand testing Joyce’s chin, but it was soon apparent how Dubois was feeling the pace.
Badly. Joyce, who never started breathing heavily tonight, was the far more relaxed fighter of the two. Then, when Dubois’ left eye began to swell in the fourth round, it was even more of a bad night for the dynamite puncher.
Joyce looked like the boss pretty much all the way through, his class, experience and mental strength proving too much for Dubois. “Respect your elders,” Joyce said to Dubois during the hype ahead of the fight. Instead, Dubois had to respect the boxing ability of Joyce.
Tonight’s fight was compared to the Lennox Lewis-Gary Mason fight of 1991, this in terms of big all-British showdowns between two young (ish in the case of Joyce, a fresh fighter who came to boxing late) and unbeaten heavyweights.
In that fight, Mason’s eye looked almost the same way Dubois’ eye looked at the end of tonight’s duel. Mason was never the same again. The big question now is, can Dubois bounce back?
As for Joyce, he wants the world. “The Juggernaut” has earned a world title shot. Frank Warren spoke of the possibility of a rematch, but Joyce seems to be a league ahead of Dubois. The boxer beat the puncher tonight. Quite soundly.