Daniel Dubois (15-1) suffered his first loss as a professional at the hands of fellow British heavyweight Joe Joyce (12-0) when Dubois took a knee in the 10th round.
Dubois was ahead on two of the judges’ scorecards as the bout entered the round, but an accumulation of accurate jabs from Joyce over the previous nine rounds led to Dubois’ left eye swelling up and closing shut and leaving him unable to see. This was later confirmed as a broken orbital bone and nerve damage.
Numerous boxers have labelled Dubois taking a knee as ‘quitting’. In BT Sports’ post-fight coverage former Featherweight champion Carl Frampton said ‘I’d get dragged out of the ring, I wouldn’t take a knee’.
Dubois boxed well throughout the fight, mixing in a large amount of power shots (82), and connected more accurately than Joyce (44%-24%), who threw only 24 power shots himself.
Joyce remained patient and disciplined, and never deviated from his plan. Despite Dubois being ahead of on the cards as a result of his accurate and aggressive shots, Joyce had little trouble weathering the storms that Dubois threw at him with his excellent punch resistance.
Joyce would then keep Dubois off rhythm with his jab, which he landed a total of 98 times, leading to the stoppage in the 10th.
With the win Joyce now holds the British, Commonwealth and European titles and moves closer to a world title fight in 2021. Joyce called out WBO mandatory challenger Oleksandr Usyk after the fight. Who have met previously in the ring as amateurs, with Usyk winning the bout on point.
As for Dubois, whether he quit or not, he showed intelligence and awareness in taking a knee and not risking anymore damage to his eye. His recovery will be difficult, but at just 23 years of age he’ll have plenty of time to repair himself both physically and mentally.