By Frank Warren
THE STAKES WILL be perilously high when the BT Sport cameras home in on the action for the main event at the Telford International Centre on Saturday night.
The meteoric rise of Daniel Dubois hit the buffers at the back end of November when a horrendous injury to the left eye – inflicted by his fellow unbeaten heavy Joe Joyce – saw to it that the younger contender felt compelled to take himself out of the firing line.
As far as smart decisions go, this one by young Daniel was right up there and displayed a maturity beyond his years. Subsequent medical evidence suggested his actions were career-saving. None of us knew this at the time and going over old ground here should in no way detract from what was a superbly composed performance from Big Joe.
Rest assured, we will be firing up the Juggernaut again in the very near future and either a mandatory position for the WBO world title or a shot at a vacant belt is firmly on the cards. Whichever way it plays out, Joe will be back in business very soon.
But back to Saturday night’s high stakes shootout in Telford, for now. Daniel could have, quite reasonably, requested a low-key comeback with the odds stacked considerably in his favour. It was not an option that even entered his thinking and he said right from the get-go that he wanted a genuine test that would put him right back in the thick of the heavyweight mix.
So our task was two-fold. To come up with an opponent to stir his fighting juices, while also making sure that a win would mean something and bring a tangible reward.
We worked hard to deliver in both respects and Daniel going up against Bogdan Dinu for the WBA Interim heavyweight title is a big tick in both boxes.
The big Romanian, who is 20-2 with 16 via stoppage, is ranked very highly by the WBA and was already assigned a shot at this title. He isn’t coming over here to give Daniel a leg-up back to the big time, he is here to fulfil his own ambitions and you can see that he is in great nick and laser focused on the job in hand.
I know the championship roadmap can get a bit convoluted in this sport of ours, but the direction of travel for the winner on Saturday is clear. He will be in mandatory position for a shot at the WBA world title, with the champion currently being the American Trevor Bryan. Anthony Joshua, by virtue of holding unified status, is classified as Super Champion.
Considering the present heavyweight landscape involving Tyson Fury (who will face Deontay Wilder) and Joshua (who is expected to fulfil a mandatory obligation to Oleksandr Usyk), the belts are likely to be tied up for some time if the two winners determine to move forward towards an undisputed two-parter.
This cranks up the pressure on Daniel to keep himself front and centre in the heavyweight picture, which victory over Dinu would ensure.
He will find himself right back in the game and actually in a stronger position than before his setback against Joe.
So what we need now is for Dynamite Dan’s night to go off with a bang.
Live coverage from the Telford International Centre begins at 7pm on BT Sport 1