By Jake Donovan
As little as can be taken from a pre-fight weigh-in, even less was revealed in the way of deciding who holds the edge in the upcoming showdown between unbeaten British heavyweights Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman.
Industry experts have been genuinely torn in determining whom will prevail in Saturday’s headliner at the O2 Arena in London. England. Neither looked out of normal form at Friday’s weigh-in, with Dubois showing up supremely conditioned while Gorman once again looks to prove that his fighting shape is far superior than his fleshy physique suggests.
London’s own Dubois (11-0, 10KOs) tipped the scales at 239 pounds, right within his normal weight range for his past eight starts. It’s nearly eight pounds more than the 231¼ he weighed for his April 2017 pro debut, but the 21-year old knockout artist carries it extremely well.
Gorman (16-0, 11KOs) checked in at 256 pounds, his heaviest weight in two years.
The unbeaten 23-year old from Cheshire, England—a cousin of undefeated former lineal champion Tyson Fury and former title challenger Hughie Fury, who fights Friday in Saudi Arabia—was a beefy 258 pounds for a 5th round knockout of Antonio Sousa two years ago, almost to the day. He’s since weighed between 248-255 lbs. in six subsequent starts heading into Saturday’s dangerous showdown versus Dubois.
The winner will lay claim to the British heavyweight title, while also gaining recognition as the leader of the next generation of heavyweight contenders.
Of course, countryman Joe Joyce (9-0, 9KOs) will also have his say in that conversation, especially at his current pace.
The 2016 Olympic Silver medalist takes on perhaps his most dangerous assignment to date, as he faces former title challenger Bryant Jennings in the evening’s chief support. The 6’6” Joyce checked in at 256 pounds, the lightest he’s weighed in his past five starts, and five pounds lighter than his most recent outing, a 3rd round stoppage of Alexander Ustinov less than two months ago in Stevenage, England.
Saturday’s contest will mark the third of 2019 for Joyce, who opened the year with a 6th round stoppage of former heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne in February.
Jennings (24-3, 14KOs) weighed 226 pounds for his first career fight outside of the United States. Conditioning has never been an issue for the Philadelphia (Penn.) native, who turns 35 in September.
Winning his biggest fights, however, has remained problematic.
He enters Saturday’s contest on the heels of a 12th round stoppage at the hands of unbeaten Oscar Rivas, who faces top-rated heavyweight contender Dillian Whyte at this very venue next Saturday. Prior back-to-back losses to Wladimir Klitschko and Luis Ortiz in 2015 left Jennings out of the ring for more than 30 months before resurfacing with Top Rank in 2017.
Five wins followed for the American before suffering the aforementioned loss to Rivas earlier this year.
Both bouts will air live on BT Sport in the United Kingdom and stream live in the United States on ESPN+.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox