Heavyweight contender Daniel Dubois, written off by so many after losses to Joe Joyce and Oleksandr Usyk, confounded the skeptics with an impressive seventh-round stoppage of previously unbeaten Filip Hrgovic and promptly set his sights on Anthony Joshua.

Dubois has now notched solid consecutive wins over Jarrell Miller and Hrgovic and last night collected the IBF’s interim belt, which should see him moved into a fight for the full title against his fellow Englishman, possibly in September, if the IBF strip undisputed champion Usyk ahead of his December 21 rematch with Tyson Fury.

“It feels great,” Dubois said, of a sweet victory who had convincingly bested him in sparring several years ago. “Just one step at a time. We’ve got through this hurdle, and now it’s on to the next one. That was a great night tonight and I enjoyed that. It was a beautiful night.

“I took two guys’ 0s now [Miller and Hrgovic] and this is great. It’s a new beginning for me.

“I give full respect to the guy, full respect to Hrgovic. He’s a good fighter and to come through that was a good learning experience for me and I’m glad I’ve got this IBF belt, and onto the next.

“I was a bit cold to start with, but I heard the corner advice, Frank Warren and my dad and they’ve been supporting me since day one and we will come through anything.”

Dubois-Hrgovic was hard fought and entertaining, with the Croat eventually withdrawn due to the lacerations on his face and around his eyes.

“The round before the last I was getting to him and it was just coming together like magic,” Dubois added. “And my dad told me beforehand, things would just happen and I’m so proud of myself for this.

“It’s all a learning experience.”

Asked directly about Joshua, Dubois said: “I’m just anxious to become the best. This is my era, this is my team and I just need to keep improving and coming through these tests.”

Promoter Frank Warren was delighted that Dubois again did his bit to quieten the critics of the past.

“You’ve got to take your hat off to him,” he said of Dubois. “A lot of people outside the ring have questioned his heart, questioned when it gets down to the nitty gritty that he can do it, he’s shown tonight what he’s all about, and he’s won the interim belt, which is brilliant for him.”