Daniel Dubois still enters the ring as the naturally bigger fighter but will do so at his lightest weight in six years.
The 6’5” Londoner was 233.2 pounds in his bid to upgrade his secondary version of the WBA heavyweight title. The challenge comes versus Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk, who was 220.9 pounds for his fifth career heavyweight fight and in the second defense of his unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight title reign.
Their heavyweight title consolidation bout will headline a TNT Sports Pay-Per-View, which will also air live in the U.S on ESPN+ this Saturday from Stadion Wroclaw in Wroclaw, Poland.
Usyk (20-0, 13KOs) weighed what was a career heaviest 221 ½ pounds ahead of his September 2021 win over Anthony Joshua to become a two-division champ. The former undisputed cruiserweight champion weighed 217 ¼ and 215 pounds in his two heavyweight bouts preceding his first title fight at heavyweight.
Their rematch last August 20 saw Usyk—a 2012 Olympic Gold medalist for Ukraine and former undisputed cruiserweight champion—weigh a career-high 221 ½ pounds in a repeat win over Joshua.
His title defense versus Dubois (19-1, 18KOs) came about after collapsed talks for an undisputed championship clash versus lineal/WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury (33-0-1, 24KOs). The two sides teased for months the possibility of a springtime collision, but it never came to fruition.
Dubois has won four straight since a tenth-round knockout defeat to countryman Joe Joyce in their November 2020 battle of unbeaten heavyweights. All four wins have come via knockout, none lasting more than four rounds.
The 25-year-old Brit earned the secondary WBA title in a sixth-round knockout of Trevor Bryan last June 11, for which he was 241 ½ pounds. Friday’s weight was his trimmest since his fourth pro fight when he was 232 pounds in a July 2017 second-round knockout of Mauricio Barragan.
Saturday’s event was strategically placed two days after the celebration of Ukrainian Independence Day. A crowd of 24,000 is expected for the event, for which promoter Alex Krassyuk chose Poland given its increased Ukrainian population since the start of Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox