DANIEL DUBOIS has been compared to Frank Bruno many times. The straight-up style, the muscle-bound physique, the less is more persona, the studious approach inside the gym, the head-rattling right hand and the impressive run of KO victories. And now, he hopes, the way to come back from a stoppage defeat.
Dubois was last seen in a boxing ring in November when, in the 10th round of his punishing bout with Joe Joyce, he was ramrodded to one knee and didn’t get up until the count tolled ‘10’. The criticism swelled faster than the flesh around his broken eye socket. All kudos that came before, seemingly forgotten.
Bruno knows the fickle boxing business all too well. He too lost his unbeaten record to a dangerous underdog back in 1984. James “Bonecrusher” Smith halted the then-22-year-old in the final round of their 10. It was a devastating loss for Bruno but he would return four months later and thrash the decent but highly beatable Ken Lakusta in two rounds. Bruno would lose again in 1986, in a WBA title shot against Tim Witherspoon in the 11th of a gruelling encounter, only to come back successfully against the decent but highly beatable James Tillis in 1987. Bruno’s bounce back after the first loss to Mike Tyson, versus the woefully overmatched John Emmen, bucked the trend but Bruno would once again go down the familiar path after his 1993 loss to Lennox Lewis. The decent but highly beatable Jesse Ferguson was drafted in to provide Big Frank with his latest confidence booster.
Dubois’ next opponent, Bogdan Dinu, would have been perfect fodder for Bruno and appears, at least on paper, to be excellent matchmaking from Queensberry Promotions’ Steve Furness atop this June 5 bill. It takes place inside the Telford International Centre and is broadcast by BT Sport.
The 34-year-old Romanian has lost two of his 22 outings (with 16 of those 20 wins coming inside schedule). Banned from amateur competition after being caught shoplifting with two of his teammates ahead of the 2007 Worlds in Chicago, Dinu cruised to 18-0 as a professional against predominantly poor opposition. In 2018 he was knocked out in four rounds by Jarrell Miller and then the following year, after giving it a decent go against a below-par Kubrat Pulev, he was halted in seven. He’s won two since against nondescript foes (Osborn Machimana and Frank Bluemle). In short, he’s decent but highly beatable.
It would be pointless for Dubois – who has surely not turned into a bad fighter overnight – to go down the levels any further and simply too dangerous to reach any higher at this stage. Physically, the 15-1 (14) Dubois insists he’s stronger than ever and the fracture in his skull now fully healed. But there’s some way to go, whatever he may tell you, before the mental scars disappear.
Not all heavyweight prospects bounce back. Though Bruno created the blueprint on the successful relaunch others ignored it. Remember Pele Reid? The 13-0 (13) Birmingham slugger was stunned by Julius Francis in 1999 before taking on Orlin Norris in an effort to regain some momentum. Unaware of Orlin’s substantial credentials, Reid was warned over breakfast by Scott Welch (fighting on the same bill) that Norris was serious business before being blitzed in 91 seconds at supper time. David Price now admits the worst mistake he ever made was going straight back in with Tony Thompson after the American had stopped him in two rounds. In the immediate return, Price was exhausted by the fifth round and the fearless Scouse destroyer of old never really returned. When the wheels come off, sudenly and unexpectedly, it isn’t easy to regain momentum.
There is also the issue of Dubois being labelled a ‘quitter’ by those who should know better. Anyone who reads BN regularly will know our thoughts on that; the decision to not get up against Joyce may haunt Dubois privately but it will, with the right mindset, strengthen his resolve moving forward. More importantly, it ensured he had a career to come back to.
Dinu has decent feet and a poking jab. His right hand is a solid weapon and he’s at his most comfortable from range when allowed to dictate the pace and distance. Dubois will likely need more than the old one-two to break through but Dinu’s defence is far from tight. New coach Shane McGuigan will have drummed into Dubois the importance of body-punching and this will slow down his opponent enough to take his jab away.
Dinu has crumbled each time he’s encountered sustained pressure and Dubois is capable of going through the gears to steal his rival’s heart. The Londoner can win this inside six rounds.
The WBA interim title that’s on the line is truly preposterous, but as a publication of record, we must mention it. So there you go.
The rest of the bill is lopsided in the extreme: Nathan Heaney (11-0) vs Ilian Markov (6-14-2); Daniel Bucioc (10-0) vs Naeem Ali (2-67-1); George Bance (debut) vs Des Newton (8-18); Adan Mohamed (1-0) vs Luke Fash (2-59-2); while Tommy Fury (5-0), Liam Davies (8-0) and Caoimhin Agyarko (8-0) also appear.
The Verdict Dinu looks like the perfect comeback opponent for Dubois.