• Sunday, July 14, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

Joshua to fight Dubois for IBF heavyweight title

Joshua-Dubois

Anthony Joshua is set to face Daniel Dubois in an all-British heavyweight showdown for the IBF world heavyweight title at Wembley Stadium on September 21.

This announcement follows Oleksandr Usyk’s decision to vacate the IBF belt on Tuesday, allowing Joshua the chance to reclaim one of the world titles he once held if he can overcome Dubois, who has been promoted from IBF interim title holder to IBF champion.

Joshua has climbed back up the heavyweight ranks after two consecutive defeats to Usyk, who subsequently became the undisputed world champion with a stunning victory over Tyson Fury last month. Joshua, 34, was outpointed by Usyk in their bouts in 2021 and 2022.

Since then, Joshua returned with a win over Jermaine Franklin in 2023, followed by stoppage victories over Robert Helenius and Otto Wallin later that year. This year, he has already defeated Francis Ngannou in just two rounds. Ngannou, a former UFC champion, managed to go the 10-round distance with Tyson Fury in his first professional boxing fight but was no match for Joshua.

Dubois, who previously held a version of the WBA title, has also successfully rebuilt from a loss to Usyk. The 26-year-old challenged Usyk for the WBO, WBA, and IBF titles at the Wroclaw Stadium in Poland last August.

Despite a valiant effort and a controversial low-blow ruling that his team still disputes, Dubois was halted in the ninth round by Usyk. However, Dubois defeated Jarrell Miller in December and recently stopped Filip Hrgovic from winning the IBF Interim title.

At Wednesday’s press conference, Dubois expressed his determination: “I’m just aiming to be the best. To fight the best and beat the best. AJ has been the king for a long time, and we all know it, so on the night, I need to become a king-slayer. That’s my goal and the mission at hand,” Dubois said.

“I’m just ready to go. I’m definitely learning more about myself with every fight, as a fighter and as a person. Coming out of the darkness, going into the light and being a man of the future.

“I’ve improved all around as a fighter and an athlete. I’m really up for this and ready to go. I’m ready to let my fists do the talking. I’m 100 per cent ready. I’m going to go to camp, focus and train like a beast. Bring it on.”

Joshua is on a four-fight winning streak after back-to-back losses to Usyk in 2021 and 2022. He followed a points victory over Jermaine Franklin with impressive stoppage wins over Robert Helenius, Otto Wallin, and MMA star Francis Ngannou.

Joshua, also speaking at the press conference, shared his thoughts:

“It’s the next man up. I’ve had Dubois on my mind for a while, and he’ll be on my mind for the next 12 weeks until I get my hand raised. I’m not silly either, I know the game.

“We’re all in the wild. We’re a pack of lions and hunters. I have to keep my eyes peeled, I can’t just focus on those two [Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder]. The goal is to get through a successful training camp, and then perform on the night. The shiny stuff comes at a later date.”

With both fighters eager and prepared, this clash promises to be a significant event in the heavyweight boxing calendar.