By Alan Hubbard
THERE ARE TWO very good reasons why Daniel Dubois carries the soubriquet Dynamite into the ring with him – his right hand, and his left hand. When either is detonated more often than not it explodes on the chin of his opponent. And it is Goodnight Nurse!
Just 22 the impressive if impassive young heavyweight from Greenwich is arguably the biggest hit in British boxing. And there is certainly no doubt that he is the biggest hitter.
Talking recently with my mate Colin Hart, the esteemed Sun columnist and fellow veteran scribe, we agreed that Dubois is the most heavy-handed home-grown heavyweight since Frank Bruno, and he just hits as hard, if not a tad harder than dear old Frank.
Bruno himself, new-found mentor and best mate in boxing of Dubois, tends to agree: “Tell you what,“ he says. “I wouldn’t want to get clobbered by one of them big right-handers. Know what I mean?”
We do indeed Frank. Apart apart from Bruno it is hard to think of any British heavyweight who comes close to the punching power of Dubois. Lennox Lewis could bang a bit when the mood took him and so can David Price still – providing he doesn’t get chinned first.
Herbie Hide could be a hurtful puncher as is Anthony Joshua. And who can forget ‘Enry’s ‘Ammer”? Certainly not Cassius Marcellus Clay Jnr as he then was when floored by Henry Cooper back in 1963? The man who became Muhammad Ali once told me he was still rubbing his jaw years later. For someone who never weighed more than 14 1/2 stone Our ‘Enry really could dig with that pulverising left hook.
And back in their day Bruce Woodcock, Freddie Mills and the very first British champion Bombardier Billy Wells threw a mean mitt or two.
Dynamite Dan’s bunches of use of fives have rocketed him to the British championship in a dozen bouts. With a fistful of other belts along the way. This Friday night, at the Royal Albert Hall we await a further display of his might when he seeks to add the Commonwealth title against Ghanaian Ebenezer Tetteh, who apparently is no slouch himself when it comes to slinging the odd sledgehammer blow.
Should he continue in such devastating fashion, will Dubois end up among the all-time greatest punches in world boxing history? It seems more than possible.
If so he will pass muster with an elite big punch bunch which must include Sonny Liston,George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano (with his famous Susie Q), Ingemar Johansson and Vitali Klitschko.
But above all these was one who never won a world title – Earnie Shavers. Ask any heavyweight of Earnie’s era and he will tell you that Shavers was the fiercest banger of all. His rib-cracking body shots were crippling. Ali passed blood for three days after they fought in New York in 1977 and said subsequently “Earnie hit me so hard it shook my kinfolk back in Africa.”
Ali of course, though he flattened more than a few in his time, preferred the sort of snappier, twisting shots that victims like Liston and Foreman never saw coming. Tyson Fury, like Ali, relies on the sweeter science more than strong-arming it.
Yet none of the above, in my view, could hit harder than the two most fearsome punchers I have ever seen. One was a San Francisco longshoreman named Jim Fletcher who hit so venomously that he headed the list of ‘Who wants to know him’? candidates back in the 60s and 70s.
The late Blackpool promoter Laurie Lewis brought him over to meet former British champion Brian London and in the company of a few of us a couple of years after the fight he admitted that he had approached Fletcher and asked him to take it on take it easy on London, or alternatively to take a dive for which he was offered money.
Fletcher, a strong silent and obviously proud man was furious and demolished London in two savage rounds.
The other heavyweight who made me gasp in awe at his power was the fabulous Cuban amateur Teofilo Stevenson, who won three Olympic gold medals. Before the first of those three Games, in Munich 1972, Colin Hart and I were chatting with Ali’s legendary trainer Angelo Dundee and mentioned that we wanted to interview the heavyweight everyone was talking about, the American Duane Bobick who was clear favourite for the gold medal.
“Don’t bother” sniffed Angelo. “Go and see a Cuban guy named Stevenson. He’ll blow everyone away. He’s sensational.” Apparently Angelo’s card had been marked by Ali’s Cuban masseur Luis Sarria. It was a great tip and we managed to get an exclusive interview with the handsome fella who was to become the sensation of the of the of the Games. One of his victims was Bobick whose nose he split until the blood ran like strawberry jam.
It could well be that Dubois eventually will possess the power and quality to be ranked high among the sport’s punching powerhouses. We might well see some evidence of this tonight when he makes his first appearance since winning the Best Young Boxer of the Year award given by the Boxing Writers Club to be presented on October 7 at the Savoy.
He is the first heavyweight since 1983 to do so and only one of three heavyweights to win it in the 68 years of the award.
Fingers are crossed because in the past it has occasionally proved something of a jinx with recipients losing their next contest and in the case of Kid Galahad failing a drugs test. On the other hand the majority of winners have gone on to claim a world title.
So a word of advice for Royal Albert Hall punters. Take a hard hat as it could be an explosive night. Dynamite Dan is in town.
ALTHOUGH I PREDICTED that Dubois would be the pick for the Best Young Boxer award I was hardly Nostradamus as he was clearly head and shoulders above the rest. But here’s another prediction. While Dubois is is doing the business against his Ghanaian foe this Friday his Queensberry stablemate Josh Warrington will be named Fighter of the Year at the annual British Boxing Board of Control awards bash the same night.
If I am right IBF featherweight champ Warrington the will be a worthy winner as a boxer who conducts himself professionally in the ring and out.
And quite a double for Frank Warren’s stable. Queensberry rules, ok?
SAD TO NOTE the passing last week of a friend and long-time boxing writer Neil Allen who has died aged 87 after a long illness. Neil was a cultured scribe who wrote passionately and eruditely on a sport he loved, as well as athletics and Olympic matters, first for The Times and subsequently the London Evening Standard. He first attended the Olympic Games in Rome in 1960 and witnessed the emergence of the young Cassius Clay, and was at so many events we covered together including The Rumble in the Jungle and the Thrilla in Manila. His presence at ringside in the past few years has been sorely missed.
Daniel Dubois headlines the bill when he meets Ghana’s Ebenezer Tetteh for the vacant Commonwealth heavyweight crown and WBO flyweight champion Nicola Adams defends her title for the first time against experienced Mexican Maria Salinas, live on BT Sport.
The card will also feature WBO European super-featherweight champion Archie Sharp who makes his second title defence against Dublin’s Declan Geraghty.
Middleweight banger Denzel Bentley, heavyweight Jonathan Palata, lightweight Mohammad Bilal Ali and precocious bantamweight talent Dennis McCann are also in action.
Exciting prospects Lewis Edmondson, Eithan James and Sam Noakes all make their professional debuts.
Tickets for the BT televised September 27 bill at the Royal Albert Hall are available to purchase from www.ticketmaster.co.uk and www.royalalberthall.com. Prices £40, £50, £75, £100, £150 Ringside