By Alan Hubbard
To use that familiar cliché, potential boxing superstars are like the proverbial London bus. You wait ages for one, and then two come along together.
It was ever thus, dating back to the halcyon days of Ali and Frazier followed by Leonard and Duran, Hagler and Hearns Calzaghe and Froch and currently Joshua and Fury.
Now it is the emergence of another two young Brits, Daniel Dubois and Dennis McCann which is currently capturing our imagination and whipping up hopes for a fabulous future once Covid has been ko’d.
In terms of talent this prodigious pair of would-be ring aces are two of a kind, the best couple of prospects many of us have seen in British boxing for many a year.
Yet they could not be more different in size, weight, technique and personality. Both are unbeaten and are living up to the sobriquets that have been attached to them: Dynamite Dan and Dennis the Menace. The nicknames could not be more apt.
Heavyweight Dubois, already the British and Commonwealth champion at 22, may sound like a French matinee idol but he is the most excitingly fearsome young man in boxing today, one who is being watched apprehensively by Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua (apparently knocked cold by Dubois in sparring). the British duo who share the crown.as he goes about blasting out every opponent put in front of him.. My prediction is that he will be the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world within the next two years.
Dubois comes from a family of 10 who have moved from their home in Greenwich to a mansion in the Essex countryside complete with swimming pool and castle-like mod cons.
So are there any more at home like him? Certainly, Younger sister Caroline, 19, is the hottest prospect in women’s boxing, world, European and Olympic youth champion, BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year and looking a certainty for the Olympic gold medal at lightweight, – Kathy Taylor’s division – if and when those blighted Tokyo Games ever happen
Many good judges , among them he BBC’s Mike Costello and BT’s Steve Bunce – reckon she is the best female fighter they have ever seen, and I concur.
Eventually she will turn pro – and boxing’s anthem “Sweet Caroline“ will reverberate around the rings even more stridently.
Meantime her 6ft 5in big brother Dynamite Dan marches on, a pleasant if grimly purposeful young man of few words who lets his short-fused, explosive punches do the talking.
And what of Master McCann, the 19 year-old merchant of menace who has chalked up seven victories so far at bantamweight in breath-taking fashion. Like Dubois he is a product of Frank Warren Queensberry stable which thanks to of its success rate is now luring in the cream of young British talent to its burgeoning ranks.
A cheeky chappy, likeable loquacious and well-behaved.,such is his swashbuckling style,and crowd appeal that Warren has dubbed him “the New Naz.”
This has intrigued the old Naz so much that former world featherweight czar telephoned McCann to find out more about him,and offer some encouraging words and advice. As it happens McCann is already mates with Hamed’s 20-year-old boxer son Aadam, himself on the brink of turning pro.
McCann is half the weight and half the size of star stablemate Dubois. That is by no means the only contrast. Dubois is a sombre with a baleful glare and sledgehammer punch .He proceeds carefully, first stunning all-comers with a ramrod left jab that is reminiscent of the pre-Ali Sonny Liston. Then over comes that paralysing right, and its Goodnight Nurse!
McCann prefers the Naz-style fleet footedness that would not be amiss on the dance floor but he can also bang with both hands.. A Traveller like Fury, his lifestyle is also somewhat different to that of Dubois A newly-wed teenager, he lives in a caravan in Maidstone, Kent with wife Kathleen.
It is good that he has already been taught by top trainer Alan Smith how to employ the rarely seen bolo punch, one of the most under-used but effective in boxing, loved by old-timers liker Sugar Ray Robinson. This up-and-under shot to the belly took the wind out of the last of McCann’s seven opponents so far, 60-fight veteran Brett Fidoe. in two rounds.
We’ll see more of the new Naz in the autumn while Dubois will be at in action again this weekend headlining Queensberry’s is final lockdown show from the BT studios on Saturday night. He faces a new opponent in Dutch champion. Ricardo Snijders in defence of his WBO international title.
Holland is better known for clogs that clouting and decent Dutch heavyweights are a very rare species, even though this one has a record of 18-1. But the wins were mainly as a cruiserweight against virtual non-entities and Dubois will be expected to knock this Dutchman flying early on.
One is tempted to say don’t blink as you sink into the sofa for the telecast with a cuppa or a beer. But after what happened on Saturday in Matchroom’s back garden, you can never be certain of a ‘certainty’. In boxing, you are only ever one punch away from oblivion.
The phenomenal left uppercut with which Russia’s 2004 Olympic super heavyweight champion Alexander Povetkin poleaxed Brixton basher Dillion Whyte in the fifth round after twice being on the deck himself a round earlier, has’the world of boxing searching for a massive shock absorber.and Eddie Hearn a very stiff drink. It was a seismic upset which has put the Hammer and Sickle through the best laid plans of the Matchroom promoter.
Victory for Whyte would have made him mandatory challenger for Fury’s WBC heavyweight title, assuming the gypsy giant wins his return with Deontay Wilder. Povetkin’s pulveriser has removed him from the top of the waiting list while he hopes for a contracted return with the Russian who will be 41 next week. It is unlikely the WBC will put forward Povetkin for another shot at the title and there is now a clearer pathway for Fury and Joshua to settle their expensive differences in an all British blockbuster that will break all fistic fiscal records next year.
Now after former WBA champ Povetkin’s heavy-handedness nothing can be taken for granted, even the possibility that Dutchman Snijders might produce a similar career-wreckingball against Dubois, who will be having his 15th contest. This would certainly jeopardise Dubois’s, scheduled autumn showdown with Rio 2016 silver medallist Joe Joyce,33, a heavy underdog who doubt will himself take heart from Povetkin’s performance
For as we are too aware, all it takes to upset those golden apple carts, is just one punch on the button.
Ah, the beauty – and brutality -of boxing.
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