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

- By JEFF POW­ELL Box­ing Cor­re­spon­dent Sports · Boxing · Martial Arts · Los Angeles · London · City of Westminster · Anthony Joshua · Glasgow · Las Vegas · Roy Jones Jr. · California · Staples Center · Government of the United Kingdom · Commonwealth of Nations · Sinclair Lewis · Rio 2016 · Mike Tyson · Bloomsbury, London · British Boxing Board of Control · Mike Atherton · Trevor Berbick · Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino · Lennox Lewis · David Haye · La La Anthony

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.

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 ?? PIC­TURE: KEVIN QUIGLEY ?? Favourites: Dubois (left) and Tyson
PIC­TURE: KEVIN QUIGLEY Favourites: Dubois (left) and Tyson
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