Daniel Dubois says he will not duck anyone when he gets his chance to box for a version of the world heavyweight title.
The 22-year-old unbeaten Londoner faces Kyotaro Fujimoto at the Copper Box Arena in East London on Saturday. If Frank Warren, his promoter, has his way, by this time next year, Dubois will be world champion.
It’s a strict timetable, which, if Dubois wins on Saturday, will give him three more fights to earn himself a mandatory position with one of the four main governing bodies. Dubois believes it will happen.
“I see myself fighting for a world title real soon, so whether it is [Anthony] Joshua or anyone else, whoever I have got to face, I have got to face,” Dubois said. “I’m not going to duck anyone, I’m a warrior.”
The main short-term target for Dubois, the British and Commonwealth champion, remains Joe Joyce, who is lined up to face Marco Huck for the European title in Hanover, Germany, on January 11. If he wins that, a clash with Dubois for British, Commonwealth and European titles could also have the added tag of a world-title eliminator.
Such a clash would be the first fight for all three titles at heavyweight since Lennox Lewis beat Derek Williams in 1992, five years before Dubois was born. Still he has studied Lewis all his life and Lewis’s world-title defence against Frank Bruno was the first that Dubois remembers being shown by his father, Dave, as a young child.
“I was about 5 when my Dad first showed my first VHS video tapes and it has sort of been upwards from there,” he said. “Lewis and Bruno was the first I remember. That was a good fight.
“About the same time, Dad bought me a little set of boxing gloves. He had little pads and trained me up, he is responsible for where I am now.”
Dubois believes the past year has seen him calm down a lot as a person as well as a boxer, which will be important when he takes on the challenges ahead of him.
“I’ve matured,” he said. “I’m getting older and been maturing inside and outside the ring. I’ve had time to calm down and grow up as a person. I was really hyper-active at times and couldn’t control myself. Calming down and realising what I am trying to do is all important.”
While Dubois watches a lot of boxing, he tends not to study opponents, the one in front of him or then ones he could face in the future, preferring to leave any game plan down the his trainer, Martin Bowers.
“I don’t ever look at other boxers and try and work things out,” Dubois said. “It’s just on the night, I look at all the assets I have got, put that together and magic happens. Anything is possible in boxing.
“He wants to win too. We have got a fight on our hands. If he turns out to be quick, slow I will be ready for it and come out victorious.
“Nothing is given to you in this sport, it is a brutal sport. I have to go in there and take everything.”