Frank Warren exclusive: ‘The reason the fight is happening is because Joe really fancies it’

Hall of Fame promoter Frank Warren speaks exclusively to BTSport.com ahead of this weekend’s titanic heavyweight clash between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce, revealing how the biggest domestic clash of 2020 came to be.

By George Mills Published: 27 November 2020 - 2.12pm

In a year filled with so few sporting highs, even the most optimistic fight fan will have struggled to see how the perennially-postponed domestic dust-up between Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce could have landed in 2020.

Originally set for April 11 inside a packed O2 Arena, the coronavirus outbreak quickly put paid to any hopes of seeing the fight in late spring.

Further dates in July and October came and went as the ongoing uncertainty wreaked havoc on promoters’ plans – but it was fourth time lucky (touch wood!) when November 28 was finally confirmed as show time for one of the most eagerly-anticipated domestic clashes in years.

Dubois vs Joyce

The biggest all-British heavyweight fight in years finally arrives as Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce settle their rivalry live on BT Sport. Who will close in on a world title shot?

Part one of BT Sport’s Lockdown Knockdown – which concludes with the unmissable pay-per-view clash between Mike Tyson and Roy Jones Jr straight after Dubois vs Joyce on BT Sport Box Office HD – pits the young contender against the elder statesman, the vicious kayo king against the granite-chinned behemoth in a fight guaranteed to thrill.

Despite the age disparity between the two fighters, standing at a not-insignificant 12 years, both Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce find themselves at a similar crossroads in their professional careers.

Too good to remain at domestic level, both have ambitions to join the giants of the heavyweight landscape over the next 12 months.

For 35-year-old Joyce in particular, the fight comes at a crucial time given his advancing years but, as promoter Frank Warren explained during an exclusive chat with BT Sport this week, the Olympic silver medallist has never been one to shy away from a challenge.

“All Joe ever wants to do is do the business in the ring”
- Frank Warren

“I think Joe is accepting the bigger risk because of his age,” Warren explained.

“If he gets beat, he can come again, there’s no doubt about that but it’s not something he’ll want to be doing at his age. Whereas Daniel, if anything were to go wrong, he can learn from it.

“All Joe ever wants to do is do the business in the ring. The one thing about him that I have noticed in working with him and his team, they don’t ask for easy jobs. They will fight anybody.

“I remember when Anthony Joshua lost his opponent in the States before they put in [Andy] Ruiz. If you recall, Joe put himself forward to fight Joshua. That’s the making of the man.”

While many believe this to be the most difficult tests of Dubois’ fledgling career to date, the bookmakers have priced the 23-year-old as the clear favourite to retain his British, Commonwealth and WBO International heavyweight titles.

The Greenwich-born boxer has forged a reputation as one of the most fearsome punchers in the country, stopping all but one of his 15 opponents inside the distance with an emphatic precision that is becoming the hallmark of his thrilling style.

But Warren urged caution for anyone expecting another walkover when Dubois steps through the ropes on Saturday evening to face a man who has seen it all inside the squared circle.

“As an amateur, Joe fought in world championships, he fought in the World Series of Boxing and when he won an Olympic silver medal I thought he got robbed. He should have got the gold medal.

“You look at his record, he’s fought good fighters. He’s beaten a former world champion, he’s fought well-rated fighters and he’s done everything he’s had to do.

“He’s nicknamed ‘the Juggernaut’ and that’s because he just keeps coming forward, he does it all at his pace and he is so strong. He’s got that wealth of experience over Daniel. Daniel is just the new kid on the block and he’s got it all to do.

“Do not write off Joe Joyce, he’s there to win. The reason the fight is happening is because he really fancies it, Joe. And so does Daniel.  One of them could have dropped out when the British Boxing Board of Control called this fight [to happen] but they both refused to do so and credit to them.”

Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce will be exclusively live on BT Sport 1 HD and BT Sport Ultimate from 7.30pm on Saturday 28 November.