Daniel Dubois Ready To Prove The Critics Wrong And ‘Go Through’ Filip Hrgovic

May 2, 2024
3 weeks
Daniel Dubois and Filip Hrgovic at the press conference to announce their fight

Heavyweight contender Daniel Dubois says he’s motivated by the “naysayers” and is determined to prove them all wrong when he faces unbeaten Filip Hrgovic on June 1.

Dubois (20-2-0 19 KO) quickly forged a reputation as one of the most exciting young talents in the heavyweight division, but a defeat to domestic rival Joe Joyce in November 2011 earned him a harsh label of being a quitter.

‘Dynamite’ took a knee during the 10th round of that bout having suffered a fractured eye socket, leading many within boxing to accuse him of not possessing the courage to become a world champion.

Dubois rebuilt his career following the setback and earned the opportunity of a lifetime to fight for the unified world championship against Oleksandr Usyk in August last year.

Dubois Defined By Defeats

The Briton had Usyk in serious trouble, but his low body shot was deemed a low blow and the champion was allowed ample time to recover. When the fight resumed, Usyk was still not fully composed but Dubois inexplicably refused to press home the advantage, and the chance of becoming world champion ultimately slipped away. Usyk secured the victory with a ninth-round stoppage.

It has been those twin defeats that have defined Dubois’ career so far – the first calling into question his bravery, the second doubting his mentality.

Yet, Dubois responded in magnificent fashion in his most recent fight. Facing the durable and dangerous Jarrell Miller in Saudi Arabia in December, ‘Dynamite’ displayed plenty of courage and killer instinct. He came through some challenging middle rounds when Miller looked to be getting on top and ended the fight with a devastating finish in the final round.

Dubois will return to Riyadh in June to face Hrgovic as part of the Matchroom Boxing vs Queensberry Promotions 5-vs-5 event. In addition to representing Queensberry and Frank Warren, Dubois might also contest a world title if the IBF decides to strip the winner of Usyk’s undisputed bout with Tyson Fury.

‘Prove All The Naysayers Wrong’

Regardless of what is or isn’t on the line come fight night, Dubois is determined to display once again his newfound self-belief.

“It ain’t changed me but it’s brought out something that was trapped in me. I got to show a little bit of it that night. Now I need to bring out more of it in this fight and get better and better each and every time,” Dubois told Queensberry in reference to the manner of his win over Miller.

“Prove all the naysayers wrong and keep doing what I do. You can put them all into a group, all the naysayers. When they see you they’re all happy but when you’re not doing so well, they’re quick to right you off and talk s**t about you. It’s all good to remember.

“It’s just life in general. You have these moments in life with people you meet. You’ve got to quickly wise up and realise what’s really going on.”

Dubois Vows To Go Through Hrgovic

Across the ring on June 1, Dubois will face another tough challenge in Hrgovic. The Croatian (17-0-0 14 KO) is the IBF’s No 1-ranked challenger and next in line for a world title shot. He’s a strong and skillful fighter yet has not shared the ring with any contenders at the top level. His best, most high-profile win came in a close decision victory over China’s Zhilei Zhang in 2022.

Dubois and Hrgovic have traded leather in the past having sparred together some years ago. Both fighters admit that Hrgovic got the better of Dubois in those sessions, but that will have little bearing as the Briton was still a young novice at the time.

“I’ve heard in interviews him talking about our spars but I remember before my fight with Nathan Gorman (for the British title), he was talking about spars as well and he ended up on his back,” Dubois said. “He’s up there isn’t he? He’s very well ranked. He’s a player in the game so let’s go through him.

“On paper it’s a massive challenge but I feel in myself like I can make it as hard as I want it to be. It’s down to me to keep performing, do the right things in training, make sure I stay on it and go through him like a hot knife through butter.”