Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce: Will heavyweight showdown be latest classic all-British fight?

Ahead of the eagerly anticipated contest between Dubois and Joyce on Saturday 28 November, we remember some of the most unforgettable domestic clashes on British soil.

By Tim Williams Published: 15 December 2020 - 1.07pm

Daniel Dubois and Joe Joyce will continue the long tradition of legendary domestic bouts to take place on British soil when they face off in an unmissable heavyweight contest on Saturday 28 November.

The unbeaten duo are set to collide in an eagerly anticipated dust-up which has been years in the making and ahead of the fight, we have selected some of the most memorable all-British fights in boxing history.

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?

Nigel Benn vs Chris Eubank

Bitter rivals Benn and Eubank fought in 1990 and 1993 in two of the most unforgettable nights in British boxing history.

Eubank emerged victorious from the first bout in Birmingham in 1990, after an extraordinarily topsy-turvy encounter, as the referee stepped in to stop the brutal bout in the ninth round.

Both fighters moved up to super middleweight in the aftermath and they reignited their feud three years later in a hugely-anticipated rematch at Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium.

42,000 fans crammed into the stadium and millions watched on TV as the two icons went toe-to-toe for the last time with the WBO and WBC belts on the line.

The world was transfixed as the two warriors produced a more measured display up until the last round, which is widely considered one of the most thrilling of all time.

After a punishing 12 rounds, the bout was declared a draw. The final scores were 115-113 Eubank, 114-113 Benn, and 114–114 and both retained their respective world titles.

The pair never fought again but the era-defining rivalry shaped British boxing history and has been etched in the annals of history ever since.

The fights between Benn and Eubank were two of the most memorable domestic bouts in British boxing history
The fights between Benn and Eubank were two of the most memorable domestic bouts in British boxing history

Lennox Lewis vs Frank Bruno

Billed as ‘The Battle of Britain’, Lewis and Bruno met in a huge all-British heavyweight fight at Cardiff Arms Park in Wales in October 1993.

WBC champion Lewis was making the second defence of his belt against compatriot Bruno, who was looking to make it third time lucky after coming up short in his first two world title shots.

It was the first time that two British-born boxers had fought for the world heavyweight title and the fight, watched by over 25,000 spectators, captured the imagination on both sides of the Atlantic.

The pair exchanged a bitter war of words in the build-up during, which Bruno declared “nobody cares about Lennox Lewis in Britain” after questioning his opponent’s heritage.

Bruno raced out of the blocks in the opening rounds in the Welsh capital, but was stopped in the seventh round after an onslaught from the incumbent champion.

It was another valiant effort from the challenger but ultimately one step too far.

Bruno did eventually go on to realise his dream of becoming a world champion at the fourth time of asking against Oliver McCall in 1995.

“He must have forgotten I have a terrific left hook,” said Lewis after one of the most celebrated domestic fights of all time."

Lewis knocked out domestic rival Bruno in the seventh round to retain his crown at Cardiff Arms Park in 1993
Lewis knocked out domestic rival Bruno in the seventh round to retain his crown at Cardiff Arms Park in 1993

George Groves vs James Degale

Many have drawn parallels between Groves vs Degale and Dubois vs Joyce. Both match-ups paired unbeaten British contenders on the brink of breaking onto the world stage.

It was Groves who emerged victorious and inflicted the first loss of Degale’s career in May 2011, in a gripping super-middleweight title fight in London after an explosive build-up.

Groves, 23, recovered from a shaky start to earn a majority decision, with two judges scoring it 115-114 and one 115-115.

The contest between two of the most recognisable faces in recent British boxing history is remembered because it is a rare example of two prodigious prospects facing off with both on an upward trajectory.

‘Chunky’ Degale bounced back from the defeat in admirable fashion, winning his next 13 fights, claiming the world title against Andre Dirrell in Boston and defending it three times before losing to Caleb Truax in London.

He retired after a unanimous points defeat by Chris Eubank Jr in 2019.

Groves lost three world title bouts after the Degale win but finally exorcised his demons when he beat Fedor Chudinov on an emotionally charged night in Sheffield.

Both Groves and De Gale were unbeaten British contenders on the brink of breaking onto the world stage

David Haye vs Dereck Chisora

After a tempestuous build-up, Haye brutally knocked out British rival Chisora in the fifth round of an enthralling encounter at West Ham’s Upton Park.

The pair were involved in an ugly brawl at a press conference in Munich in February 2012 following Chisora’s loss to Vitali Klitschko, which set up a huge grudge match in July of the same year.

30,000 fans packed into a rain-soaked Upton Park to witness one of the biggest all-British heavyweight bouts in years.

A sickening left hook from Haye finished the fight emphatically but the two-weight world champion didn’t fight again until he made a comeback four years later against Croat Mark De Mori.

It was another domestic heavyweight feud with Tony Bellew that truncated his comeback in 2017 and 2018 after successive defeats to the Liverpudlian.

Similarly, Chisora has had heavyweight vendettas with Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte and in an interesting subplot is now managed by Haye as he looks to earn another world title shot.

One of the most vitriolic all-British bouts in years will be remembered for a remarkable build-up and devastating conclusion in a saga that will live long in the memory.

Carl Froch vs George Groves

A very modern saga unfolded between British super middleweights Froch and Groves in 2013 and 2014.

Groves earned a shot at Froch after becoming mandatory challenger for the IBF title and the pair faced off at the Manchester Arena after an acrimonious build-up.

‘The Cobra’ recovered from an early knockdown to defeat Groves in hugely controversial fashion via technical knockout in the ninth round.

Groves was adamant that the referee prematurely stepped in to halt the contest and the spite between the two camps continued in the aftermath until the rematch was announced.

The record-breaking event drew 80,000 people to Wembley Stadium for one the most eagerly anticipated sporting events to take place in Britain in years.

The rematch ended in conclusive style when Froch savagely knocked Groves in the eighth round to silence the doubters and retain his world titles.

Groves eventually ended his wait to become a world champion with a stoppage of Fedor Chudinov in 2017 while Froch retired in 2015.

It was a captivating rivalry that led to a defining night for British boxing.

Froch and Groves fought twice, culminating with a rematch at Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000 fans
Froch and Groves fought twice, culminating with a rematch at Wembley Stadium in front of 80,000 fans

Liam Smith vs Liam Williams

An underrated British rivalry was played out between Smith and Williams in 2017.

Liverpudlian Smith, who failed to make weight before the first bout between the two, beat Welshman Williams in controversial fashion at the Manchester Arena after his opponent was withdrawn from the fight when he sustained a severe cut to his eye.

Williams was in control of the contest and was ahead on all of the judges’ scorecards before the stoppage. It was unclear whether his cut was the result of a clash of heads or a punch.

It was a truly entertaining encounter that had everything and they agreed to do it all again in Newcastle months later, with Smith edging a narrow points decision.

The grudge match was settled by another contentious decision which was challenged by Williams but Smith emerged victorious and earned a shot at the WBO title in the process.

Williams called for a third fight, which ultimately never materialised and they haven’t crossed paths since.

The Welshman has enjoyed a resurgence since the back-to-back defeats and is on the cusp of challenging Demetrius Andrade for his world title after moving up to middleweight.

Smith failed to claim the world title against Jaime Munguia and last fought in December last year.

Daniel Dubois vs Joe Joyce?

The all-British heavyweight bout between Dubois and Joyce on Saturday 28 November has all the hallmarks of an absolute classic.

Both are unbeaten, ranked highly by the governing bodies, possess devastating power and are on the brink of a world title shot. Something has to give.

Dubois, 23, is ranked number two by the WBO and seven in the latest WBC ratings and is the undisputed rising star of British boxing. He has moved through the levels with ease and is widely tipped to dominate the heavyweight division for years to come.

Joyce, 35, only turned professional in 2017 after an illustrious amateur career, which included an Olympic silver medal and has impressive wins over Bermane Stiverne and Bryant Jennings on his record.

The pair have been on a collision course for years and with fans not being allowed to attend, the bout will be available for BT Sport subscribers and will not be on pay-per-view.

“Dubois versus Joyce is the best fight on the British boxing calendar and I want this to be something as many people as possible can enjoy,” said promoter Frank Warren.

“This is about keeping boxing alive and relevant at a tough time and doing something for the fans.”