Daniel Dubois’ stock as a heavyweight prospect unquestionably took a hit when he lost to Joe Joyce last November, quitting in the 10th round with an eye injury.
Any eye injury is a serious threat to a fighter, but Dubois took heavy criticism not just from fans or media, those people can be easily tuned out if a fighter wants. What stuck with Dubois, he tells the Daily Mail, was criticism from fellow fighters like David Haye, Dillian Whyte, and Carl Frampton.
Ricky Hatton was another, remembering a fight he had with an eye injury that he had to rally in. Hatton was less severe than some, saying at the time, “I just maybe think Daniel could have bit down on his gum shield a bit more and dug in.”
Dubois (15-1, 14 KO) will soon start start his comeback trail, whatever it’s going to be. He’s aiming to quiet the skeptics:
“I have to be ready to fight whoever they bring at me now. Guys that weren’t taking the fight before, they will have it now. They will try and copy Joe and I’m looking forward to that. Seeing what I have got up against me. They will think the aura is broken and they will think they’ll have me, that I’m vulnerable. ... One day, I’d like to get in the ring with Dillian Whyte and show him just how much of a quitter I am. All of it will give me the experience I need as a fighter. I’ll get better fights under my belt.”
A key thing to remember is Dubois is still just 23 years of age, extremely young for a heavyweight, and still has a lot of upside if he takes this as a tough experience, a learning experience, and doesn’t let it truly beat him. An “L” is one thing, basically every fighter suffers one — or several — eventually. You can certainly come back from it, and that will be the aim for Dubois.
Will he do it? Time will tell.