02 ARENA, LONDON Daniel Dubois just had his Anthony Joshua moment in London's 02 Arena, knocking out Nathan Gorman in a performance of the year candidate.
Undefeated Dubois, a 6-foot-5 heavyweight from the world famous Peacock Gym, has long been hailed as a top prospect by his peers and coaches at the East London fight club.
Business Insider sources close to his promoter Frank Warren saw him as a future Joshua opponent, if not a future Joshua-type star-in-the-making, when he was developing as a professional athlete in 2017 and 2018.
And on Saturday, July 13, Dubois showed he has the potential to live up to those expectations as the opening round alone showed an amped-up crowd just how hard he can hit, and get hit, as the punches exchanged with Gorman were so heavy, they sent tremors across the canvas and rattled the ropes around the ring.
A wild war broke out in the second. Gorman landed a perfect shot to the side of Dubois' face, which sparked feral, off-balance punching from both men. Neither one relented. Both wanted a bruising, brawling win in the main event of Warren's "Heavy Duty" show.
Perhaps listening from the calming words emanating from his corner, Dubois got back behind his jab, attempting to take control of the fight. But moments after Dubois boxed behind his lead jab, Gorman cracked him round the cheek with a hellfire hook. More of those and Dubois could have found himself dazed, confused, or worse on the floor.
But he had no intention of getting hit with that kind of shot again. And in the third, by starting the round with that forceful jab of his, he created an opening which allowed him to hit Gorman with punch flurries that sent him to the floor, landing more shots as he was on his way down.
<style="font-weight: 400;">Though Gorman got back to his feet and had seemingly recuperated, Dubois clipped him with a hook when he had his back to his own corner, showing ominous signs of what was to come.
The end came in the fifth, when Dubois made two feints with his head to open Gorman up, then popped a lazer-fast one-two combination through his guard jab, overhand right which saw Gorman fall for the second time in the fight, this time for good, as he failed to beat the count.
The coming together of two unbeaten British heavyweights, at the 02 Arena no less, bore similarities to the 2015 all-English showdown between Joshua and Dillian Whyte at the same venue.
In that bout, Joshua overcame Whyte's power to knockout his rival, winning the British heavyweight boxing championship in the process.
Four years on, with the British heavyweight once again on the line for one of two hard-punching, unbeaten fighters, Dubois has his Joshua moment, winning in style, by knockout, in front of a global audience on BT Sport at home and ESPN abroad.
Joshua, after beating Whyte, went on to challenge for a world title in his very next fight but it is unlikely Dubois will follow the immediacy of that trajectory. Instead, he will presumably defend his British title, perhaps hoping to win it outright with three successful defenses.
Dubois, who now has 12 wins (11 by knockout), refuses to get carried away, and even said after his win that "every fight is a learning fight" and that there is "more to do."
With ambitions of further improving, the heavyweight division will be on red alert as there is now an emerging puncher adding his name to a flourishing weight class that is already home to some of the biggest names in boxing, like Joshua, Whyte, Deontay Wilder, Tyson Fury, and Oleksandr Usyk.
Former heavyweight champion David Haye told BT Sport after the bout that he was impressed by Dubois' "power."
He said: "Most heavyweights are powerful in the first couple rounds but his power maintained throughout. There was no fading, he was looking at punching as often as possible."
It was "punch perfect," Haye said.