UK’s Next Wave of Heavyweight Favourites on Collision Course

UK’s Next Wave of Heavyweight Favourites on Collision Course

The British heavyweight championship can often seem like a sporting prize which went missing in the mists of time.

On Saturday, however, Daniel Dubois and Nathan Gorman will attempt to restore some lustre to the prize and its ornate Lonsdale Belt when they collide at the O2 Arena in London.

It is a meeting of two young, promising and undefeated prospects which is focussing yet more public attention on the buoyant British heavyweight scene.

For those who run the sport in the UK, the British Boxing Board of Control, it is also delivering a welcome restorative to the stature of their venerable title.

At 21, the younger but big-hitting Dubois is the narrow favourite. But such an enticing clash of styles with the quick, nimble and clever Gorman is anticipated that opinion about the outcome among the denizens of the sport is divided.

Dubois is fancied at 1/2 with the top boxing bookmakers. Gorman, 23, is rated at 13/8 across multiple sportsbooks, but William Hill and Betfair rate him 6/4.

Dubois vs Gorman Betting Odds

Method of VictoryOddsBookies
Dubois by Stoppage11/10Betfair
Gorman by Stoppage5/1Bet365
Dubois on Points3/1Ladbrokes
Gorman on Points5/1Paddy Power
Either by Stoppage4/7Coral

Once, in a more homespun era, this British title commanded regular sell-out crowds and drew vast TV audiences on programmes such as Sportsnight and Grandstand – even for delayed coverage.

Once, it was wrapped regularly around the waists of household British names such as Len Harvey, Henry Cooper, Joe Bugner and Lennox Lewis.

Once, every schoolkid in every playground could name the holder of the belt without even pausing for thought.

All of that, however, was before the titles’ prestige and its lineage became somewhat lost to the public amid the mind-boggling complications of modern boxing and its endless proliferation of global titles.

And before domestic boxing lost its regular berth on the sports pages.

More recently, Anthony Joshua, Tyson Fury, Dillian Whyte and Dereck Chisora have all held the title although the achievement received little mainstream publicity in an era when bigger things always beckoned very quickly.

Now Londoner Dubois and Cheshire’s Gorman are bringing back the crowds and also commanding major TV coverage on BT Sport for their attempt to prove they can soon join the global scene inhabited by their fellow Britons Fury, Whyte and the fallen (at least temporarily) Joshua.

It has made the British title seem significant again after it was vacated most recently by Hughie Fury.

The truth, as promoter Frank Warren happily admits, is that it is very unusual for two unbeaten boxers to be meeting in this way at this stage of their careers. But the date was ordered by the Boxing Board and for once, the stars aligned to make it happen.

On the same card, too, another young London prospect with global ambitions, Joe Joyce, seeks to further embellish his credentials as he attempts his 10th straight victory against former world title challenger Bryant Jennings.

Of course, a headline-grabbing future showdown between Joyce and the next British champion is part of the planned schedule.

Joyce vs Dubois Potential Fight Odds

Joe Joyce8/13Betfair
Daniel Dubois6/5Paddy Power

Gorman, a cousin of former world champion Tyson Fury, is made from the same stuff. He is a fast and intelligent boxer who is undefeated in 16 fights, with 11 of his wins delivered by knockout.

In 11 victories, Dubois has stopped all but one of his opponents – the gritty American veteran former world title challenger Kevin Johnson, who was brought in specifically to give the youngster rounds and experience.

Gorman’s most recent contest was against Johnson – a points win in Leicester in March – and the American made the fight ugly and awkward, which was also his allotted task to help the Englishman’s development.

Another joint opponent is the Romanian 32-year-old Razvan Cojanu, who was defeated in a challenge for the WBO heavyweight title against Joseph Parker in 2017.

Gorman, who is trained by Ricky Hatton, scored a unanimous decision against Cojanu in Manchester last December.

Dubois dealt with him more summarily - delivering a second round knockout against Cojanu in March this year.

The Londoner’s most recent win was a fourth round knockout of Richard Lartey in April.

Whatever occurs, Dubois and Gorman have time on their side.

It’s different for 33-year-old for Joyce, the super-heavyweight silver medallist at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Warren says he is being fast-tracked. His two most recent wins this year against former world title challenger Alexander Ustinov and former world title holder Bermane Stivene suggest he can live with the pace.

Ustinov went in three rounds. Stiverne in six.

Now Joyce is 1/6 with Paddy Power against Jennings, whom they rate at 7/2. With Ladbrokes, Joyce is 2/9 with Jennings at 10/3.

Britain’s heavyweight dominance suffered a stunning blow when Joshua lost his WBA, IBF and WBO world titles ins a shock defeat by Andy Ruiz junior last month.

But Fury is heading for a second crack next February at the WBC title held by Deontay Wilder, with whom he drew last December.

In London this weekend, Dubois, Gorman and Joyce aim to show that the next wave of Britain’s big men is already gathering momentum.