Daniel Dubois and Anthony Joshua Involved In Altercation Ahead Of Big-Fight Announcement

Anthony Joshua and Daniel Dubois were involved in a heated confrontation when they came face-to-face to promote their fight on September 21 at Wembley Stadium.

They will contest Dubois’ IBF heavyweight title – the first world title Joshua won as a professional when stopping Charles Martin in 2016 – after Dubois returned on Wednesday morning from a holiday in Brazil to learn that Oleksandr Usyk had vacated it and that he had therefore been elevated to the status of full champion.

It was his return from that holiday – Dubois, 26, was forced to change flights to be back in London for Wednesday afternoon’s press conference – that contributed to Dubois blaming jet lag for his aggression with Joshua, who he previously sparred at the age of 17.

Joshua – 34 and fighting to join, among others, Muhammad Ali and Lennox Lewis as three-time world heavyweight champions – experienced a heated build-up to his fight with Dillian Whyte and also Wladimir Klitschko attempting to get under his skin, and he met Dubois’ challenge before insisting it was he who walked away.  

The modern era is the era in which, more than ever, fighters apparently cannot resist squaring up when they are surrounded by cameras and more, but what Dubois’ promoter Frank Warren described as “lively” was not at the top table of a press conference but when some television filming was being undertaken in the hours before their press conference was staged.

“We had a bit of aggro – it’s good,” Joshua explained.

“There are two aspects to it. The competitive side; the Queensbury rules of boxing. But there is also the instinct that one has, as a fighter – and that is just how it is.

“Before I boxed, I was a good fighter – that’s an instinct you have when someone calls you out.

“He said, ‘Let’s go now’. And I said, ‘Let’s go then’.

“No security. I just stepped away. I thought I would be the bigger man.” 

The account given by Joshua, Dubois and Warren was considerably different to that of Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, who claimed that they had to be pulled apart and that Joshua threatened Dubois with a chair, but Dubois said: “I was jet-lagged – that was all. 

“My mind was not in the right place, but it was all good and all part of the fun and getting into the groove. 

“This is the fight game. I'm ready to go and ready to conquer. I’m ready to make sure I get the victory – that’s all that's on my mind. We’ll shake hands after the fight.”

Dubois was consistently flanked by Warren, and the promoter said: “It just nearly went off upstairs but you will have to wait until the film goes out to see it. It was quite lively. 

“We did a face-off around a table and it got a bit spicy.

“Things went backwards and forward. It got a bit heated and Daniel said, 'Let's go now’. It was genuine – there is genuine animosity.

“There's pressure on both of them but the pressure is on ‘AJ'. Daniel's last two fights [victories over Jarrell Miller and Filip Hrgovic], the bookmakers have made the other guy the favourite and I'm sure they will make AJ the favourite. I hope they do because [Dubois] loves it.

“They didn't shake hands.”

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