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Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce take interim bouts before October fight

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Joyce will return to the ring on July 25, and Dubois on August 29.

Daniel Dubois v Joe Joyce Press Conference Photo by Alex Davidson/Getty Images

Heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce are tentatively set to meet on Oct. 24 in London, but both will have tune-up bouts before then, as Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions are filling out their summer slate of shows from the BT Sport studio.

Joyce (10-0, 9 KO) will be first of the two to fight, as he’ll take on Michael Wallisch (20-3, 13 KO) on July 25. The 34-year-old German Wallisch has lost three of his last four fights, stopped each time by Christian Hammer, Efe Ajagba, and Tony Yoka. He shouldn’t be any big threat to Joyce, who is also 34.

Notably (kinda), July 25 will also see Chris Bourke (7-0, 5 KO) fighting Ramez Mahmood (11-0, 2 KO) for a vacant Southern Area title at 122 pounds.

Dubois (14-0, 13 KO) will return a month later on Aug. 29, facing Erik Pfeifer (7-0, 5 KO). The 33-year-old Pfeifer was a two-time Olympian, representing Germany at London 2012 and Rio 2016, losing in the opening round both times. I know American boxing media in particular like to hype up the idea of someone having been an Olympian, but if you’ve watched Olympic boxing you know very, very well that not everyone who gets there is actually particularly good, and Pfeifer being in his 30s, having exited the Olympics early twice, and having the opposition he’s had as a pro after spending another two years between Rio and his pro debut — if organizers thought he could beat Dubois he wouldn’t be fighting Dubois.

The Aug. 29 card is a much deeper one than what Warren has set for July 25 thus far, and one fight in particular leaps off the page for me.

Daniel Dubois v Kyotaro Fujimoto - WBC Silver and WBO International Heavyweight Titles Photo by James Chance/Getty Images

Rising junior bantamweight prospect Sunny Edwards (14-0, 4 KO) will face Thomas Essomba (10-5, 4 KO) in a 10-round bout, and do not sleep on that one or let the records fool you. Essomba is no joke. All of his losses are questionable save for a 12th round stoppage against Lee McGregor in Oct. 2018. Since then Essomba has beaten previously-undefeated prospects in two straight fights, taking a deserved decision over Sean McGoldrick in Aug. 2019 and stopping Iskander Kharsan in three in December. Edwards is better than those guys and should be the favorite, but Essomba can fight and is a classic banana peel worry at this level and stage of Edwards’ climb.

We’ll also see Sam Maxwell (13-0, 11 KO) vs Joe Hughes (17-5-1, 7 KO) at junior welterweight, plus Willy Hutchinson (11-0, 7 KO) vs Luke Blackledge (26-9-2, 9 KO) at light heavyweight, and the return of featherweight Muhammad Ali (1-0, 0 KO), which is never going to sound right.

Queensberry’s July 31 card will be topped by Lyndon Arthur (16-0, 12 KO) defending the Commonwealth light heavyweight title against Dec Spelman (16-3, 8 KO), and then the Aug. 20 show will see Archie Sharp (18-0, 9 KO) face Jeff Ofori (10-2-1, 3 KO) in a junior lightweight main event, plus Troy Williamson (14-0-1, 11 KO) vs Michael McGurk (12-0, 3 KO) at junior middleweight.