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Heavyweights Dubois and Bryan collide on bizarre Miami promotion

Daniel Dubois
Declan Taylor is in Miami to preview Daniel Dubois’ fight with Trevor Bryan

MANY of Daniel Dubois’ formative years were spent watching old tapes of Mike Tyson which often contained an easily recognisable promoter with a shock of grey hair lurking in the background – or sometimes the foreground. Now the 24-year-old heavyweight is bidding to secure a highlight reel knockout of his own on a Don King promotion nearly two decades later.

Dubois is in Miami to take on Trevor Bryan early on Saturday evening at the Casino Jai Alai on a slightly curious promotion which will be streamed live on Don King’s website for those in America who wish to tune in – on pay-per-view of course. UK viewers can watch on BT Sport and even with the five-hour time difference, the fight is expected to start at around 11:30pm.

It is now a good 18 months since Dubois’ world wobbled against Joe Joyce, when he was stopped in the 10th round. A lot changed for the young Londoner that night, not least his unbeaten record, while he was branded a ‘quitter’ by many for the circumstances surrounding the stoppage.

He has won twice, stopping Bogdan Dinu in two and Joe Cusumano in one, and now heads into a far sterner test in the form of 22-0 Bryan in a fight for which he will be handsomely paid by virtue of King’s hefty purse bid.

With the exception of Joyce, this fight against New York’s Bryan represents the hardest fight of Dubois’ career and another crucial step on his path toward the heavyweight division’s top 10.

“It’s up to me how this fight turns out,” Dubois said from the lobby of the Miami hotel in which he is staying this week. “I’ve trained hard as always.

On King he added: “It’s surreal that I’m doing business with him now, it’s crazy. This boxing world is a small one when you’re in it at this level. I’m looking forward to getting in there and delivering. He will have a lot of lyrics to say. Don King really wanted to stage the fight, he’s got what he wanted so that’s great.

“On paper it’s the biggest fight of my life so I’m not taking anything for granted but I think I go in there and do a job in devastating fashion.”

This is Dubois’ second consecutive fight on American soil following his one-round demolition of Cusumano in Cleveland last August which acted as something of a dress rehearsal for this one. But he has had to do a lot of waiting around to finally get this fight with Bryan which he hopes will position him well for a fight with one of the biggest names in the division.

“It was good, it was a warm-up,” Dubois said of that outing. “It was good to win over there and have a taste of what it was like. Now I’m back for more and it’s a big one. It’s the biggest fight of my life and I want to show them what I’ve got.”

Frank Warren, Dubois’ promoter from the very start of his professional career, added: “This is the fight that will establish him on both sides of the pond and more importantly gets him in the position when the heavyweight things shakes out with Joshua, Usyk and also Fury. If he wins this he’s in a fantastic position. This has been on and off and messed around for a long time. Now it’s time to do a job.”

But Dubois is not the only one approaching Saturday night low on momentum. Bryan beat Jonathan Guidry via a 12-round split decision in January in what was his first fight for exactly 12 months. In fact, Bryan has boxed just four times since December 2017.

“I fight like every fight is my last fight,” Bryan said. “I’m going to give my heart and soul. This career doesn’t last long so every opportunity I get with people like Daniel Dubois I’ll treat like my last fight.

“Real talk: Daniel Dubois is a strong fighter but I’m on a different level. You saw as soon as he came up against some strong opposition he quit, he gave up. I’ll be a nightmare for him.”

In reality, it looks like the stage is set for Dubois’ American dream to come true. If Bryan can last six rounds it will be a big surprise. Bryan’s daft secondary WBA strap is on the line.

The undercard is long but without too much interest, particularly for British audiences. The aforementioned Guidry is in action against promising heavyweight Dacarree “Mac Truck” Scott. It’s another meaningful step up for Scott and should be another victory.

Miami-based Egyptian Ahmed Elbiali faces Dervin Colina in what could be an action-packed 10-rounder while there is an all-Florida battle between Johnnie Langston and Isaiah Thompson for the NABA cruiserweight title.

Bryan’s fellow New Yorker Tre’Sean Wiggins, meanwhile, takes on Travis Castellon from down the road in Fort Lauderdale for the NABA welterweight strap. Castellon had been on a four-fight losing streak but appears to be back in business after beating Brandon Berry in his last outing. In the fifth and final 10 rounder of the night, Ian Green of New Jersey faces 17-8 and California-born Anthony Lenk.

There are also run-outs for undefeated prospects Luis J Rodriguez Fernandez and Raynel Mederos as part of the card in Miami. The 8-0 Fernandez takes on Ryan Adams over six while Cuba-born Mederos, 6-0, is fighting Ryan Wilson, a man who has not boxed since winning his debut in the first round last June.

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