Scottish Daily Mail
A FIGHT NIGHT THAT SPANS THE AGES
Dubois v Joyce and Tyson v Jones Jnr — two very different duels but both utterly compelling
It is 40 years to the week since Frank Warren promoted hi s first officially sanctioned boxing show and he celebrates tonight by putting on the most mouth- watering British heavyweight title fight for decades.
It is 30 years since Mike tyson suffered the upset of the century at the unexpected fists of James ‘Buster’ Douglas in the unlikely setting of tokyo. tonight he makes an astounding return i n Los Angeles from a 15-year retirement.
In London, Daniel Dubois, the lad most likely to be the next world heavyweight champion, collides with silver Olympian Joe Joyce i n the cloisters of Westminster’s Church House. In the hallowed shadow of the Abbey itself. For the winner, a title shot against tyson Fury or Anthony Joshua in the not too distant future.
that venue is a far cry from the hotel in Bloomsbury where, in the foggy winter of 1980, a couple of long-forgotten American heavyweights plodded to a financial disaster for their English paymaster.
‘I lost my shirt,’ says Warren. Although the British Boxing Board of Control had finally allowed him to come in from the cold of unlicensed promoting, they did not permit live televising from which he mistakenly expected to cover his costs. Without the contribution of Bt Sport this evening, Dynamite Daniel and Juggernaut Joe would not be challenging each other f or a subsequent tilt at riches and glory.
Another irony is not lost on Warren. ‘ there weren’t many spectators in the Bloomsbury Centre,’ he recalls. ‘Now we’re behind closed doors because of Covid-19 and there won’t be any fans. So that seems about right for my anniversary.’
Much of this evening’s transAtlantic history-making comes in multiples of boxing’s 10 count. It is 20 years since Warren — shortly after being shot in an east London street, apparently by an old pro —
brawled with Tyson in a Glasgow hotel. That was over Iron Mike’s unpaid £2million bill for an item of jewellery, prior to knocking out Lou Savarese in no time.
Tyson was 20 when he became t he y oungest of al l world heavyweight c hampions by flattening Trevor Berbick in the Las Vegas Hilton. Now, in the year of the pandemic, Tyson reappears aged 54 against 51-year-old fellow legend Roy Jones Jnr in what is billed as ‘an exhibition’. Count to 10 before believing that one.
And the California State Athletic Commission have agreed at the last minute that there will be a judges’ decision in favour of one of these senior citizens if it does go the eight scheduled rounds, each reduced to two minutes’ duration in medical deference to their, shall we say, maturity. So the WBC’s contrived Frontline Warrior belt will be strapped around one of them in the Staples Center.
Over here, hard by the seat of British Government, each of Dubois and Joyce will be striving to prevent the other surviving the customary championship distance of 12 three - minute rounds. It promises to be a battle worthy of not only the British, but also the Commonwealth and European titles.
Both are undefeated. Both punch like a kick from a mule — Dubois perhaps more so. Both can box as well as slug, Joyce may be the more accomplished by virtue of his greater wealth of amateur experience. That factor compels two Brits who have worn the world heavyweight crown to warn against discounting Joyce, despite Dubois being odds- on with the bookies.
Lennox Lewis, still the l ast undisputed lord of the heavyweight ring, says: ‘ Joe’s amateur grounding could be crucial, even though Daniel has the power to take him out if he lands cleanly.’
David Haye predicts: ‘The longer i t goes, the more difficult it becomes for Daniel and if that happens, I’m going for Joe.’
On this they agree: ‘It’s 50-50 and it will come down to who wants victory most.’
Each of the combatants speak to his own motivation. Joyce, the fine arts graduate who was deprived of Olympic gold by Tony Yoka’s controversial decision in the final of Rio 2016, says: ‘ I delayed turning pro to pursue that dream and I will not be robbed now of my world title ambition.’
Dubois, who permits himself not a single distraction, says: ‘I will not allow him to stand in the way of my destiny. I am obsessed with dominating world boxing.’
There is an age discrepancy here, also, although not as wide. Dubois is only 23, Joyce a late- starting professional at 35.
Other unusual rules over in La La Land — 12- ounce pillows for gloves, extra time to recover from knockdowns, a draw if one or other is cut — confirm this as a night across the ages.
Dubois and Tyson are the betting favourites. Seems about right to me, as well as to Warren. Maybe by knockouts.
Dubois v Joyce will be televised live on BT Sport tonight, followed by Tyson v Jones Jnr on BT Sport Box Office.