Dubois can emerge from 'war zone' with Usyk and Fury a mature fighter

James Ali Bashir believes that the heavyweight landscape has left Daniel Dubois with little choice but to embrace the harshest of learning curves – but one that can prove the making of him in the years to come.

The 25-year-old Dubois lost for the second time as a professional on Saturday, when at Stadion Wroclaw in Wroclaw, Poland, the great Oleksandr Usyk stopped him in the ninth round.

As an even less experienced fighter he was stopped in 2020 by Joe Joyce, another of the world’s leading heavyweights, when as against Usyk his promise contributed to him perhaps prematurely being matched in a difficult fight.

Usyk, 36 and the IBF, WBA and WBO champion, and Tyson Fury, the champion of the WBC, are recognised as the world’s leading heavyweights, and Anthony Joshua, Deontay Wilder and Andy Ruiz Jnr are among the former champions ensuring that Dubois and others have little choice but to take significant risks. 

Bashir, Usyk’s former trainer, assisted Don Charles in preparing Dubois for Usyk for the occasion of Charles’ and Dubois’ first fight together. Despite seeing him lose he doesn’t believe that there is an urgent need for him to rebuild.

“Fernando Vargas and Daniel Dubois remind me of each other in the sense that when Fernando Vargas won the IBF super welterweight title [in 1998] he ejected himself into the middle of a war zone,” said Emanuel Steward’s one-time assistant. 

“[Oscar] De La Hoya; Shane Mosley, and Felix Trinidad. So, he was ejected into a situation that he had no control over. ‘I’m the IBF champion; I’ve got to fight.’ De La Hoya knocked him out, Trinidad knocked him out, and Shane Mosley beat the braces off of him, twice. 

“Daniel was ejected into a situation where he have to fight. You gotta take the lumps and bumps, and you grow if you grow. It’s a grow-as-you-go situation. There’s no sense in him being down on himself, because of what happened – he’s got to look at the situation and learn from it. You gotta keep going.”

The fight with Usyk became the subject of controversy when Dubois sent the champion to the canvas in the fifth round but Usyk was given a timeout to recover when the referee Luis Pabon ruled he had landed low.

“It could have been considered as legal and it could have been considered as illegal, depending on who you ask,” Bashir said. “I can see the the other side of the argument. Everybody has an agenda. I don’t want to lose a lot of sleep about it. ‘Don, move on to the next time. Learn from it.’

“You get guys like that at 25 years old; when he gets to 30 and he's still boxing he'll look back on the time that he fought Oleksandr Usyk. ‘I learned a valuable lesson about dropping my hands; about counter-punching.’ You live; you learn. I don’t want to lose no sleep about it, I know that.”