Trainer Malik Scott doesn’t really see a conceivable route for Daniel Dubois to pull off the upset against Oleksandr Usyk.
Dubois, the 25-year-old heavyweight contender from London, will face the toughest opponent of his career, when he challenges Ukraine’s Usyk this Saturday at Wroclaw Stadium in Wroclaw, Poland, for Usyk’s WBO, WBA, IBO, and IBF titles.
Scott, a former heavyweight fighter who trained alongside and is friends with Usyk, noted that in addition to the Ukrainian southpaw’s superlative skills, he can also take a punch—which doesn’t bode well for Dubois, who relies heavily on his power. Scott is best known as the trainer of former heavyweight tilist Deontay Wilder.
“I got Usyk by stoppage,” Scott said. "Dubois is a big guy, obviously if he hit him (Usyk) … But then, if he hit him, it’s almost like, so what? Usyk got one of the best chins in the division. His issue with punching and [taking punches] has nothing to do with his chin. He’s taken harder, better punches from bigger boxers than Daniel Dubois.”
“Then I think Daniel Dubois is going to overcommit a lot,” Scott continued. “When you overcommit a lot against Oleksandr Usyk he’s able to hurt you, even though he’s not the biggest puncher, he can hurt you with shots you don’t see coming. And Daniel Dubois has never been in the ring with nobody like this. He’s gonna find out very early that there’s levels to this.”
Usyk was in talks to defend his titles against WBC titlist Tyson Fury for most of this past year but the two sides repeatedly failed to strike a deal for what would have decided an undisputed champion in the heavyweight division. Usyk then turned his attention to Dubois, his mandatory. Fury is scheduled to face former UFC superstar (and boxing novice) Francis Ngannou on Oct. 28 in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, is coming off two consecutive wins over Anthony Joshua.
Dubois (19-1, 18 KOs) has won four in a row since getting stopped by countryman Joe Joyce in 2020.
Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing.