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Ten mins with the Champ: Daniel Dubois on his road to heavyweight title victory
Daniel Dubois speaks exclusively to BT Sport after securing a piece of the WBA heavyweight world title with an impressive demolition of Trevor Bryan in Miami on Saturday night.
Daniel Dubois took another significant step towards achieving his childhood dream with a dominant win over Trevor Bryan on Saturday night to secure of piece of the heavyweight world championship.
The 24-year-old took on WBA ‘regular’ champion Bryan in Miami, lighting up a typically bizarre Don King show with a ferocious demolition job on the previously unbeaten American.
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Having been earmarked as a heavyweight champion in waiting ever since making his debut as a fresh-faced 19-year-old, Dubois produced a dominant performance to remind the masses of his considerable potential in the sport's most eye-catching division.
'DDD' controlled the contest from the first bell at the Casino Miami, pouring on the pressure against an overwhelmed Bryan, who endured as long as he could in survival mode until a well-timed left hook sent the champion face-first to the canvas midway through the fourth round.
Now effectively positioned as the mandatory challenger to the WBA ‘super’ belt, currently held by Oleskandr Usyk, the future looks bright for 24-year-old Dubois who spoke exclusively to BT Sport on Tuesday afternoon about his journey back to heavyweight contention.
Q: Daniel, congratulations! How does it feel to have a piece of that world championship?
A: It feels good but it’s only going to get harder from here. No disrespect to Trevor Bryan but he was definitely the easiest of the world champions to take on. But it’s all for a higher purpose and it’s my time now.
Q: Even though you’re still so young in the game, you’ve been through a lot already. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve overcome in your career so far?
A: You don’t have to go too far back to remember it to be honest. It was the Joe Joyce fight. After that there was loads of people saying ‘ah Daniel’s finished, can he come back from this?’ All the doubters and all that rubbish. He didn’t take anything out of me. It only strengthened me and made me learn from my mistakes. I’m a new man now and I want to show that. I’m the man of the future.
Q: Did that defeat get in your head at all?
A: No, never. There were never any doubts. In this game you need to remove all doubts and you go and sign to fight. I’m a fighter, I’m a gladiator, I’m a warrior. There are definitely no doubts about what I go in there [the ring] to do.
Q: Now you’re back in form and you’ve found your groove again, how much motivation has this win given you to kick on at the top of the divison?
A: A lot. This belt is the stepping stone into the big leagues. Here I come!
Q: By all accounts, the show was an interesting experience – it certainly looked a little different to what we’re used to seeing on TV! How did you find it?
A: It was good. It was definitely a bit different. The whole atmosphere of the show… it looked like an amateur show to be honest! It took me back to the days of going abroad fighting international tournaments in small halls. I enjoyed it, it took away from the pressure of the fight. It just made it feel like another fight, a sparring session.
Q: Were you surprised at how easy the fight turned out to be? You looked so comfortable…
A: I was comfortable in there. I knew I had the tools to beat him it was just about not letting him get into my head or throw me off my game or anything like that. It didn’t happen. I just went in there and destroyed him.
Q: He was talking a good game before the fight – are you disappointed he didn’t bring it a little more?
A: He did what he could do but that was his fight – the press conference. Don King said that too, the talking was his fight – he won the press conference. I won the fight!
Q: It was a lovely shot that won the fight, was that something you were looking to set up or was it a punch that just came naturally?
A: I was throwing so much that something was going to land. I was just finding the holes and letting both hands go and then ‘BAM’ that was it. I heard him fall and the sound he made was a real thud so I knew he wasn’t getting back up after that.
Q: Where does that rank in your list of highlight reel knockouts?
A: It was an important fight to win, that’s how I look at it. I take it in my stride. I never get too excited about these things because I know there’s more challenges to come. If I want to stay in this game I need to stay level-headed and not let anything throw me off my game. Success, it’s all good when you’re winning but when you lose you’re reminded about how messed up it feels and how down you can get.
Q: You’ve only been with Shane McGuigan for a short time but where do you feel like you’re showing improvements under his tutelage?
A: Probably all round. Being in the gym with someone for a whole year, I don’t even notice after a while, it’s just natural. Instinct. I think he’s just sharpening my tools, that’s all we’ve had to do really.
Q: What is the next evolution of Daniel Dubois? Where are you looking to make improvements to your game?
A: I just listen to my team, my dad. Whatever he tells me after the fight, the little things. He knows me better than anyone else knows me. Probably better than myself at times!
Q: Speaking of – when will you be back in the gym?
A: Once I’ve had a decent rest! Now I’ve got this belt I call the shots a bit now. It’s not just about dragging me back into the gym. I’m going to take my time, take it easy.
Q: There’s been some big names put to you since Saturday night – but if you could pick anyone in the division next, who’s the dream fight for you?
A: A massive showdown with Anthony Joshua would be right up there – but I want to defend this belt a few times, you know? I won this, let’s not just f****** jump into anything crazy. Let’s defend this title, it’s a good title to have. Trevor didn’t have it for long but it’s a good title to have.
Q: What about the rematch with Joe Joyce? That’s surely a loss you’d like to scratch from the record..
A: When it comes round, definitely, I want that fight. I want to put that wrong right. If we fought now it would be completely different. With my previous team, I think some of the things we were doing in training let me down [in the first fight], small details that can make a big difference. Obviously I’ve got more experience now, more learning. I know I need to move my head more against Joe, he’s a unit. I approach every fight with a sensible strategy now, that’s what I’ve been working on.
Q: So – time for a holiday! Where are you off to?
A: Back to the States for sure!
Q: Plenty of food too? What’s your favourite cheat meal?
A: My dad does a lot of cooking and when I’m not fighting, I don’t need to worry about portion size. Just pile it up!