THE HEAVYWEIGHT COLOSSUS Daniel Dubois has revealed that he feels like he is starting his professional career all over again as he closes in on his date with Bogdan Dinu with the WBA Interim title at stake on June 5.
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Dubois, of course, suffered the unfamiliar sensation of defeat at the back end of November when he entered into a heavy duty domestic duel with Joe Joyce with multiple titles on the line, including the British and European.
The 23-year-old, who had previously picked up nine championship belts in 15 fights, was considered by many to be the irresistible force of the heavyweight division, with the 2016 Olympic silver medallist believed to be a notable obstacle along his reign of terror that saw 14 of his opponents vanquished via stoppage.
The 35-year-old Joyce, a far more seasoned campaigner in the sport, had other ideas and brought his know-how to the fore in repelling the Dubois onslaughts, while picking him off with speedy and telling jabs to the eye of his younger opposition.
It was those measured and powerful prods from the left hand of Joyce that caused a grisly injury to Dubois' left eye that ultimately resulted in him taking himself out of the line of fire in the 10th round of a close contest in which he was actually up on the cards.
So, instead of sitting back admiring his lofty ranking with the WBO and jostling for a seat at the top table, Dubois was left to lick his wounds and await medical reports over the severity of his injury. He was also left to ponder what went wrong and reconcile himself to the fact he would be embarking on a rebuild.
Dubois admits reconciliation was not instant.
"You know it took a few weeks actually, I must be honest," he conceded. "Just to reflect, look back and slow everything down again, to pick up the pieces and start putting them back into place. I made decisions about the team, how we are going to move forward and what the next step is."
A step the bright young heavy insists did not include sulking, even though the taste of defeat was far from familiar.
"I was doing a lot of things, picking up different sports like playing tennis and we've got a pool table at home, so I was doing a bit of that.
"I needed to shake the feeling off that a loss brings. It is a down feeling and I needed to overcome it to come forward and see the light.
"The last time I lost was an amateur, it was a good few years ago, when I was 16, probably. When you are a pro and the whole world is getting to see your vulnerabilities, it is interesting, you know. It is a proper sport this boxing.
"You have to ride with it and now I am back again and ready to come back stronger. I've looked at it, examined it, now I am ready to push on again, iron out my mistakes and put it right."
During his period of contemplation Dubois reveals he harboured no doubts over his future participation in the sport, pointing out that his taking a knee maintained his own grip on his future plans rather than relying on medical opinion to continue.
"No, I was honestly too busy feeling bad to think about that. Once I collected myself and pulled myself together, not once did I have doubts over whether I would be coming back.
"Maybe it turned out right that I made the decision I did.
"There was a break from everything, but I am used to being in the gym. Usually after fights it is 'who is next?' but that slowed down a bit and now is the time to start again in life. I feel like I am starting my pro career again, as if I am an amateur just turning professional.
"That for me is great - a fresh start. There is no better feeling than the beginning."
Daniel Dubois (15-1, 14KOs) returns to the ring on Saturday June 5 when he takes on Bogdan Dinu (20-2, 16KOs) for the WBA Interim heavyweight title. Light heavyweight favourite Tommy Fury is also in action in his sixth fight as a professional.
WBO ranked number four featherweight, Archie Sharp (19-0, 9 KOs) returns in his first fight under new trainer Alan Smith, while Belfast Middleweight Caoimhin Agyarko (8-0, 5 KOs) will be aiming for his fifth successive inside the distance win. Stoke-on-Trent’s huge popular middleweight Nathan Heaney (11-0, 3 KOs) has his second fight under the Queensberry banner when he meets Bulgarian Iliyan Markov (6-14-2, 3 KOs).
Also on the show are unbeaten English bantamweight champion Liam Davies (8-0, 3 KOs), featherweight Adan Mohamed (1-0) and 18-year-old decorated amateur George Bance, who makes his professional debut after signing with Queensberry.