By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – If Frank Warren had his way, he would’ve waited to match Daniel Dubois against Nathan Gorman.
Their fight could’ve become bigger in England if they were given more time build it up. But according to Warren, who promotes Dubois and Gorman, there was no turning back once the British Boxing Board of Control sanctioned the young, unbeaten English prospects to fight for its title.
London’s Dubois (11-0, 10 KOs) and Nantwich’s Gorman (16-0, 11 KOs) are set to square off Saturday night in the 12-round main event at O2 Arena in London. Their fight will be streamed live by ESPN+ in the United States and televised by BT Sport in the United Kingdom.
The 21-year-old Dubois and the 23-year-old Gorman will fight for the vacant BBBofC heavyweight title Joe Joyce previously owned. The BBBofC first ordered Joyce to defend that title against Dubois, but London’s Joyce declined that fight and gave up the British championship.
The 33-year-old Joyce (9-0, 9 KOs) instead will meet American veteran Bryant Jennings (24-3, 14 KOs) in a 12-rounder on the Dubois-Gorman card.
“It’s a good fight,” Warren told BoxingScene.com in reference to Dubois-Gorman. “I hold my hands up – I didn’t make the fight. It was made for us. I wanted to wait another six to nine months, but the British Boxing Board of Control ordered Joe Joyce, who’s also on the card, to defend the title against Daniel. We were quite willing to go with that. Then Joe decided that he wanted to fight for a different title. Rather than the British title, he wanted to go for a European title. Then they nominated Nathan Gorman to go in. So, I said, ‘Listen, let’s leave it. Let’s do it another time.’ But neither of them would agree to withdraw, so that’s how it happened.”
Warren is taking the same approach to Dubois-Gorman as he did to the James DeGale-George Groves super middleweight match that occurred early in the careers of those future 168-pound champions from England.
Groves upset DeGale, a 2008 Olympic gold medalist, by majority decision in May 2011 at O2 Arena. That marked just the 13th fight of Groves’ career and the 11th pro bout for DeGale.
“And both of them went on to win world titles,” Warren said. “[Dubois and Gorman are] young men.”
Warren hopes to match the Dubois-Gorman winner against Joyce if the 6-feet-6, 260-pound prospect can get past Philadelphia’s Jennings, who was stopped by Colombia’s Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) in the 12th round of his last fight, January 18 in Verona, New York. Warren realizes, though, that Jennings will challenge the hard-hitting Joyce, who won a silver medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
“[Joyce has] only has nine fights now,” Warren said. “But they wanted it. They asked for this fight, so we made the fight. [Jennings is] gonna give him a good fight. [Joyce is] gonna have to be really on the money on the night.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.