Anthony Joshua Prepares to Challenge Daniel Dubois for IBF Title at Wembley

Anthony Joshua Embraces Role of Challenger Ahead of Daniel Dubois IBF Title Fight

In December 2020, Anthony Joshua defended his second reign as unified heavyweight champion with a ninth-round stoppage of Kubrat Pulev. Around the same time, Daniel Dubois suffered a major setback, succumbing to Joe Joyce’s relentless jab and a broken eye socket. The idea of Joshua and Dubois facing off for a world title seemed far-fetched then, especially after Oleksandr Usyk dismantled both fighters’ careers.

Usyk’s Impact and the Rise of Dubois

Usyk’s victories over Joshua and Dubois reshaped the heavyweight division. Usyk outpointed Joshua twice to seize his heavyweight titles and later stopped Dubois in nine rounds last August. The landscape of the heavyweight division has shifted significantly, driven by Saudi Arabian investments. Even the most optimistic could not have predicted a title fight between Joshua and Dubois happening so soon, with Dubois entering as the champion and Joshua as the challenger.

The Road to Wembley

Due to political manoeuvring, Usyk will not defend his undisputed title he won against Tyson Fury in May. Consequently, Dubois (21-2, 20 KOs) will defend his newly awarded IBF heavyweight title against Joshua (28-3, 25 KOs) on September 21st at Wembley Stadium, in front of 90,000 fans. Joshua, at 34, has a chance to become a three-time champion, once again stepping into the ring as a challenger.

Joshua reflected on the opportunity in a recent interview with Steve Bunce on the 5 Live Boxing Podcast. “The management team worked hard with negotiations and, for me, it’s like a cherry on top. It’s a big bonus,” he said. “The IBF are gonna do what they do. They wanna force their mandatories and Usyk has a rematch with [Tyson] Fury so Daniel’s now the IBF champion so I’m just coming in as a challenger. I’m not fighting for a vacant title, I’m coming in as a challenger for the title.”

Picture:IMAGO

Dubois’ Remarkable Transformation

Dubois has undergone a remarkable transformation over the past six months. Previously seen as a powerful yet vulnerable puncher, his recent performances have redefined him as a mentally resilient, robust pressure fighter. His stoppage victories against Jarrell Miller and Filip Hrgovic have been particularly impressive.

Joshua himself experienced a similar turnaround after his shocking defeat to Andy Ruiz in 2019. He outboxed Ruiz in a rematch to reclaim his titles, but rebuilding his lost aura took longer. Despite shaky moments and changing trainers, Joshua has gradually regained confidence and momentum since his second defeat to Usyk. His recent work with Ben Davison has shown promise, with dominant wins over Otto Wallin and Francis Ngannou.

Joshua’s Perspective on Dubois

Joshua understands Dubois’ journey and the challenges he has faced. This insight has helped him focus on the formidable threat the 26-year-old Londoner poses. “He’s a fighter. That’s what he does, he fights. People paint people with brushes all the time in this industry but I think Dubois is a fighter at the end of the day,” Joshua said. “That’s what he does. He had a few tough nights. He had something like 20 good nights and two bad nights and they label him with that brush. I look past that and I know he’s a fighter at the end of the day. He’s coming.”

As the September 21st clash at Wembley approaches, fans eagerly anticipate this unexpected showdown. The bout promises to be a thrilling encounter, with both Joshua and Dubois determined to solidify their legacies in the heavyweight division.

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