Daniel DuBois vs Joe Joyce - Friends Make Bad Enemies

Sunday, 28 April 2019

Daniel DuBois fought the tough and cagey Richard Lartey last night, earning a KO in the fourth round of an entertaining encounter. Ghanaian Lartey had only lost one fight in fifteen, and came in to the ring with a strategy - play possum, cover-up, and let Commonwealth Champion 'Dynamite' Daniel DuBois get within striking distance, then... strike!

It worked, inasmuch as, after the very orthodox British fighter got within striking distance, Lartey caught him powerfully enough to make him take a step back. The well-drilled Brit stepped back out of range, with his guard up, took a breath, before continuing to snap his impressive jab right onto his opponents face.

The fight briefly exploded in round 3, with both men throwing wildly, and Lartey finding DuBois' chin twice. Again, Dubois stepped back, took a breath, and continued. Things settled down until the finish, which came a round later, when a right-left combination sent the challenger to the canvas. He rose at 9, but referee Robert Williams saw a dazed, beaten fighter, with glazed eyes and blood seeping from the nose, and decided it was best if he didn't keep getting hit in the head by an adonis fighting machine.

Well done, Mr Referee.

Richard Lartey is a typical heavyweight, insofar as heavyweights are a bizarre and mysterious breed: He claims to be 27 years old, but looked at least a decade older than that; his trunks inexplicably bore the name "Richard Harrison", as if even his own shorts weren't sure who he was; at the conclusion of the fight, he took the stoppage meekly, but a few minutes later wouldn't let the referee hold his hand for the announcement of the result.

It was a regulation win for an up-and-coming heavyweight, a decent fighter dispatched, and a challenge overcome. The talk now is of an all-British contest between DuBois and Joe Joyce, who was watching on. The two got together for a ringside interview afterwards.

DuBois smiled at Joyce with something like boyish admiration. Joyce gave DuBois lots of room and spoke softly and respectfully. It was quite a touching scene, all told.

There is an effort to build a fight between them, and to fake an animosity - but it just isn't there. They obviously got on well in Team GB and respect each other - there's no beef, just two young heavyweights making their way.

If they do decide to fight next year, I hope that the build is about two friends fighting for a title, because that's a fight I'll buy. Neither of these guys is a convincing actor, but they are both promoted by Frank Warren, who goes in for the tried-and-tested tropes of grudge and rivalry.

Unfortunately, I can already hear the hollow sound of the enormous-but-puppyish Daniel DuBois reading something like "It's payback time" off a card for a promo package. Then the sleepy and likable Joe Joyce replying "I'm gonna' show him!" and literally no-one buying a ticket to see what should be one of the most anticipated British fights of the decade. As things are, though, I expect them both to build their records up till they are approaching the world stage and fighting for world titles, or facing each other in a no. 1 contenders match.

Plans like that don't always work out - just look at Tyson Fury vs David Price, and the world-level fight that was supposed to be, before Price got exposed as being the 'big, stiff idiot' that Fury said he was.

Out of the two, I reckon Joe Joyce is the better prospect, with superior technical skills, and deceptive movement, but much can change. DuBois obviously has a decent chin, and a big right hand, which is as much as it takes to win any fight, as he showed gain last night.

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