Joe Joyce landed a big surprise and took a huge step forward to a world heavyweight title by stopping Daniel Dubois in a captivating contest in London.
2016 Olympic silver medalist Joyce used his jab expertly to create telltale damage to Dubois’s eye.
Dubois landed his own beautiful job but was distressed by his eye between laps.
And with the fight hanging in the balance, a simple jab from Joyce prompted Dubois to take a break before taking a knee on round 10 when he failed to beat the count.
‘I couldn’t see’
The surreal finish of Church House in Westminster underscored the discomfort Dubois had suffered for about half of the fight and, without a doubt, Joyce is to be commended for absorbing punches in a display where he was as disciplined as specific.
Dubois – who was quickly rushed to hospital for an eye exam – told BT Sport: “He grabbed me with a good kick – I couldn’t see my eyes. It just happens. “
But former world champion Carl Frampton and former British champion Matt Macklin said Dubois, 23, had “resigned”.
His body language between rounds was a stark contrast to that seen in his first 15 pro competitions and as he led on two of the three standing maps he never seemed able to find the kind of pace that would offer him. competition control.
Joyce, 35, remains undefeated and walks away with the British, Commonwealth and European titles. More importantly, he won a high-risk ‘gateway’ fight to be taken seriously globally, while Dubois will need a short-term rebuild.
“I’m ready for Oleksandr Usyk,” said Joyce, 2016 Olympic silver medalist.
“Daniel has a little bit of power, but I’ve felt such power before. With my experience, I have learned to ride them. “
‘You are in the fighting game now’
Featuring an engine that challenges his 6ft 6in frame and the kind of agility that saw him perform stunts in the ring after his win, Joyce brings an obscure mix to the top of the division.
The speed of his shots seems limited to the eye but his deep amateur experience provided a key balance here and he showed – not for the first time – that his punches carry enough weight to carry his rivals blow-by-blow.
He supported and trusted his jab, constantly flipping it to fend off the heavy attacks Dubois is known for. When Dubois landed hard – three right hands in the second round and a left hook in the third – Joyce rose to his feet when past opponents collapsed.
“It’s the fighting game now, there you are,” Dubois warned at his corner as he began to look distressed between rounds.
Dubois needed to show courage that we hadn’t seen from him before and duly found a right hand at the right time in the seventh. And while he was ahead on two of the three scorecards heading into the 10th, the jabs continued to land, the swelling proved more difficult to manage and the betting favorite ultimately refused to continue.
Around 20,000 fans would have watched the couple abandon a defining moment in their careers had the competition not been postponed three times during the Covid-19 pandemic.
It’s Joyce who can look forward to loud nights, bigger paydays, and potential global glory.
Dubois will have to heal and come back.
“An outsider and a mountain to climb” – analysis
Mike Costello, BBC Sport boxing correspondent:
The year of the underdog heavyweight. Tyson Fury, Alexander Povetkin and Joe Joyce all started second seed in their big fights and left the ring the winner.
Going into the fight, it was felt that Dubois’ shot would be the key and Joyce’s lack of head movement an issue. In this case, the reverse was true. Dubois ate the left jab early on and seemed unable to avoid the trouble that ultimately caused his left eye to close.
We’ve seen so often in the past how the power of a heavyweight carries less pop as it moves up in class – and Dubois’ aura of fear has diminished. And due to the mode of arrival, future opponents will be encouraged by his willingness to take a knee. At 23, he still has a way to go but he now has a psychological mountain to climb.
As for Joyce, his predictability is likely to be exploited by people like Fury and Joshua, but his work pace and resilience will make him competitive. At the highest level, however, he needs more.
Has Joyce and Dubois’ chin stopped? – reaction
Former two-weight world champion Carl Frampton at BT Sport: I think Dubois resigned, I have to be brutally honest. His eye was closed, but I would be dragged out of the ring, I wouldn’t take a knee.
Former British Middleweight Champion Matt Macklin: Well done to Joe Joyce, I just went through everything Dubois hit him with. There is no right way to put it, but Dubois resigned. I was hit with a sharp hit on a damaged eye and dropped it. He is young, but if you have quit smoking there will always be some doubt about him.
Former World Light Middleweight Champion Liam Smith: I didn’t half enjoy this fight, Joyce’s chin was ridiculous. I thought Dubois had boxed a great fight as well. But I find it hard to believe that he didn’t stop. When you watch a ref count to 10 on one knee, you’ve chosen to stay down. I hope he will come back, but questions will always be asked about it.
Former World Heavyweight Champion Lennox Lewis: Congratulations to Joe Joyce for this great victory. The amateur pedigree can make all the difference in the world. Daniel Dubois looks up and learns from that. Certainly not the end.