There was a lot of hype behind today’s Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce main event, and a lot of difference of opinion coming in. The younger Dubois was the favorite, but it was the 35-year-old Joyce whose experience and jab made the difference.
Joyce knocked Dubois out early in the 10th round off of a left hand, with Dubois taking a knee and the full 10 count from referee Ian John Lewis. Dubois could face some criticism for that — let’s be honest, he will, as would any boxer in that exact situation because it’s the nature of the beast with boxing — but his left eye was beaten shut by that point, a good one landed, and he basically decided that was enough.
Dubois (15-1, 14 KO) will definitely have questions to answer going forward, and the 23-year-old got a bit of an eye opener (not meant to be a pun) and reality check here. The 35-year-old Joyce, with all his high level amateur experience, did not crumble from the power shots Dubois did get in at points, and was able to mostly control the tempo of the fight with a consistent, heavy jab. At the time of stoppage, Bad Left Hook had Joyce up 87-84 on our unofficial score card.
“He caught me with a good jab. His jab was pretty accurate,” an obviously disappointed Dubois said after the fight. “I couldn’t see out of the eye. It just happens, man. I can’t explain it. I couldn’t see out of it. I was trying my best. It happened.”
But, Dubois assured the public, “I’m a tough guy, I’ll come again for sure.”
“I was just fighting. Just trying to figure out a way I could break him down and get inside and let my shots work,” Dubois added at the end of his interview. “He rolled with punches well. I was probably a bit trigger happy, but I need to be smarter and just pace myself maybe a bit more. It is what it is, though. Joe won.”
As for Joyce (12-0, 11 KO), he now has the European, British, and Commonwealth heavyweight titles, and is no doubt knocking on the door for a world title fight. He’s not the prettiest fighter to watch — even for a heavyweight — but his durability, size, jab, and awkwardness have made up for the fact that he is, in fact, slow of both hand and foot. He has a good gas tank and keeps his hands moving. He’s a handful for anyone.
“He’s got some power, and he’s young, he’s fresh, he’s hungry, and he can come again. But I’ve felt power like that before,” Joyce said. “With my experience I’ve learned to ride it and come back, and I’m blessed with a good chin. I felt his power and I was happy to take it, if you know what I mean, but preferably not take it.”
Dubois was marking up fairly early in the fight, and Joyce made a target of it, keeping his left hand lead moving.
“I looked at that eye and it was starting to swell up. I felt quite comfortable landing the jab, and I was moving away from his right hands,” he said. “I tried not to get backed up on the ropes also, because that’s when he lets his right hand go, and I didn’t want to get hit with any.”
A huge win for Joe Joyce, who as we’ve said has a small window, and has kept it open for sure with this fight. Big setback for Dubois, but he is just 23, he does have a lot going for him, and we’ll see where he can go from here. Absolutely no reason he can’t bounce back if he wants it. This was a fight both fighters deserved to be commended for making in the first place, each of them taking a legitimate risk.
- Hamzah Sheeraz TKO-10 Guido Nicolas Pitto: Solid for-level win for Sheeraz (12-0, 8 KO), a 21-year-old junior middleweight prospect who got some rounds in against the competent Pitto (26-8-2, 8 KO), a 33-year-old from Argentina, now living in Spain. Pitto never threatened to win this fight, really, but it’s a useful outing for Sheeraz, and when he wanted to end it in the 10th and final round, he did. There’s really no question he could have turned up the heat and gotten it done a little earlier, but it is what it is and all that. He did the job. Pitto wanted to continue and maybe could have, but he would have just lost wide on points if he’d finished the fight, he had nothing that was a real danger to Sheeraz.
- Jack Catterall PTS-10 Abderrazak Houya: Catterall is the WBO’s mandatory challenger at 140, for one of the two belts held by Jose Ramirez right now. The order has been given for that fight but it may be held off a while longer; everyone wants to get to Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez undisputed fight. Catterall (26-0, 13 KO) scored knockdowns in the sixth and ninth rounds, but Houya (14-3, 2 KO) was able to survive. The referee had it 99-90 for Catterall, we had it 99-89. If Catterall doesn’t force the Ramirez fight next, he’ll probably have another fight, maybe even two on this level. He won’t take a serious risk of losing his mandatory shot, and may indeed wind up waiting until that belt — maybe all the belts at 140 — goes vacant, and then he can fight someone like Liam Paro or Arnold Barboza Jr for it, depending on what promoters can strongarm their way into the No. 2 slot, which Paro currently has.
- David Adeleye TKO-2 Danny Whitaker: Adeleye is a 24-year-old heavyweight prospect, has some obvious tools to work with, but very much still learning, quite raw. Nothing wrong with that, mind you, just saying. He’s 4-for-4 thus far, winning all his fights by stoppage inside three rounds since turning pro about 11 months ago. Here, he dropped Whitaker (4-2, 0 KO) twice in the second round and it was stopped, even though Adeleye had landed a bit of a late shot on Whitaker when he was down to a knee the second time. The referee warned him about that but the corner wanted it stopped anyway, so it was stopped. It’s a little weird but ultimately a fight we’ll all forget about in roughly two hours.
- Jack Massey PTS-8 Mohammad Ali Bayat: Massey improves to 17-1 (8 KO), as the 27-year-old British cruiserweight bounces back from a tight loss to Richard Riakporhe about 11 months ago. He’s a solid domestic cruiserweight at the least, and got a referee’s score of 79-74 here over Bayat (16-2-1, 16 KO), a 31-year-old Iranian now based in Dubai. Bayat really didn’t do much at all, but the threat of his power was there. Kind of a modern days Deontay Wilder approach of waiting for the one big right hand to do something, but it never did. But Massey was the one in there feeling the shots and he never stopped taking that power very seriously, so it’s probably not a case of an empty KO percentage, at least not entirely. Although the record says it is an empty KO percentage, as Massey is the best opponent Bayat has faced. (His other loss was a TKO against kickboxer Faith Ulusoy in 2014.)