IF the victory over Nathan Gorman represented the night Daniel Dubois established himself as a heavyweight of potentially the highest calibre, his most recent, in the first round over Ebenezer Tetteh at Kensington’s Royal Albert Hall, demonstrated the extent to which he is ready to be fast-tracked.
The relative gamble of matching him with Gorman is ultimately continuing to deliver. But the greatest short-term challenge that will confront his promoter Frank Warren and trainer Martin Bowers involves incrementally increasing the quality of his opposition.The heavyweight division may be more appealing than at any time since Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson finally fought but it remains shallow, and therefore forces those pursuing its biggest names to risk significant leaps in ability without the experience they would ideally already have secured.
That the 31-year-old Tetteh, from Accra, Ghana, was and will remain so unremarkable may have influenced Dubois’ demeanour, but the promising 22-year-old carried a confidence absent before the night he stopped Gorman. His increasing authority and conviction might even mean he may need to be reined in.He almost instantly landed a powerful right hand, and when he followed that with a left, Tetteh, previously undefeated, was forced to retreat. Another left to the chin, followed by a left-right combination, was met by an unconvincing smile from the Ghanaian; Dubois then settled into working off a consistent, fluid jab, until another right hand ensured the first knockdown. Shortly after Tetteh returned to his feet, the British champion launched a further assault in which another right proved decisive in another knockdown that this time Tetteh could not overcome. Though once again upright, he remained unsteady, leaving referee Mark Lyson with no choice but to rescue him after 2-10 of their scheduled 12 three-minute rounds, awarding Dubois the vacant Commonwealth and WBA International titles.
Whether victory enhanced his reputation regardless remains debatable; Nicola Adams’, in contrast, was undermined when she laboured to a split draw with Maria Salinas of Saltillo, Mexico in the first defence of her WBO flyweight title. Adams had previously missed out through injury when she had been scheduled to headline at the same venue, but if she relished the opportunity to finally fight there last Friday it far from showed.
Judges Ingo Barrabas, Howard Foster and Mihai Leu respectively scored 94-96, 95-95, 97-93 – Boxing News saw it 96-94 in her favour – she appeared desperate to be elsewhere. If an 11th and 12th round had been scheduled, or indeed the 10 they endured lasted for three minutes instead of two, Salinas may have deserved a draw, or even won.
Adams, 36 and from Leeds, had an advantage in both size and talent that should have told, but she simply appeared incapable of feeling as comfortable as a professional as she did an amateur. The 30-year-old Salinas was being forced to reach, swing and miss during the opening rounds, when Adams occasionally landed accurate straight rights and left hooks, but instead of Salinas tiring, it was Adams who became disheartened amid Salinas’ aggression and pressure, to the extent that a one-dimensional challenger competed with a double Olympic champion.
The first round she won on BN’s scorecard was the fourth; thereafter, when Adams should have been extending her lead against a tiring opponent, she was uncomfortable with the fight’s pace and range, overseen by referee Phil Edwards, prompting occasionally-frantic outbursts from her trainer Dominic Ingle including – aptly, given she continues to fight somewhat like an amateur – “You’ve got to keep scoring”.
By the 10th Adams’ face was swollen, and though she remained the classier of the two fighters she was also the less willing, contributing to the scores that worked against her.
Welling’s Archie Sharp had earlier thrown the evening’s most eye-catching punch when, with little warning, he concluded a competitive fight with Declan Geraghty, of Dublin, at 2-14 into the fourth of ten threes with a left to the chin that was so powerful the fight was instantly ended. Referee Howard Foster did not even attempt to count the supine Geraghty out.
Willy Hutchinson, from Carstairs, Scotland, had little need to exert himself before stopping Borislav Zankov, who had travelled from Sofia, Bulgaria, at 2-15 into the second of eight threes at light-heavyweight. Referee Lee Every had just witnessed a powerful right hand daze Zankov, who was then sent to the canvas by a jab-left and another left, having struggled to remain on his feet throughout the first. A further, similar assault prompted Every to rescue him.
Mohammad Ali’s victory over Aleksandrs Birkenbergs had been similarly one-sided. Ali, from Beckton, London, had already put his opponent – of Riga, Latvia, over with a body shot and earned a further knockdown with an accumulation of punches when another attack forced Every to intervene at 1-53 into the third of their scheduled four threes, at lightweight.
Every also oversaw wins for debutants Eithan James, Sam Noakes of Maidstone and Lewis Edmondson, respectively over Nottinghamshire’s Fonz Alexander, Chris Adaway, and Gianni Antoh, of Cambridge. Northampton’s James was scored a 40-36 victor over four threes at welterweight; Plymouth lightweight Adaway withdrew owing to a cut by his left eye before the fourth of four threes, and super-middleweight Edmonton, of Southampton, won 40-36, also over four threes.
It was Kieran McCann who officiated the latest victories in the careers of Battersea’s Denzel Bentley, Dennis McCann of Kent, and Sydenham’s Jonathan Palata. Bentley aggressively and recklessly needed only 1-12 of six threes at middleweight to stop Kelcie Ball of Dordon; bantamweight Dennis McCann 2-53 of the second of six threes against Sofia’s Georgiev, who went down in both rounds, and Palata edged six threes to beat fellow heavyweight Chris Healy – from Stockport – 58-56.
The Verdict Dubois is ready to show the world more.