An announcement is expected this week on Wednesday for Anthony Joshua’s next opponent on September 21st at Wembley Stadium.

Daniel Dubois: The Frontrunner

It’s believed that Daniel Dubois, which means the vacant IBF heavyweight title, will likely be available for the fight between him and AJ.

Promoter Eddie Hearn had said the IBF belt had to be available for the Dubois (21-2, 20 KOs) contest for them to use him. Whether Hearn would still agree to use Dubois without the IBF strap is unclear.

It’s a risky fight for the 34-year-old Joshua to be taking without a title being on the line, but he’s got to fight someone the British fans would want to see in big numbers to have a chance of filling the 90,000-seat Wembley Stadium. Using Zhilei Zhang or Joseph Parker won’t do it.

Dubois: A Young and Powerful Threat

Dubois, 26, has the power and the youth to defeat Joshua. Moreover, Dubois has fought better opposition than Joshua has lately, much better.

Hearn has been feeding Joshua fringe contenders in his last four fights and refurbishing him after his back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk. The second defeat saw Joshua mentally meltdown afterward, acting like he had a screw loose.

You can’t blame Hearn for matching Joshua against four consecutive lesser fighters after watching him almost go postal inside the ring.

At the same time, it’s disingenuous to say that his trainer, Ben Davison, has rebuilt him like new, turning him into a better fighter than he ever was, because there is no evidence to support that claim.

The four lesser fighters that Joshua beat were fighters he would have creamed even before he turned pro. As an amateur from 2010, Joshua would have beaten the four guys he was recently matched against.

Joshua’s last four fights were against a former UFC fighter with one bout under his belt and three journeymen. Hearn matched Joshua as weak as possible to rebuild him mentally and get the fans to believe in him again.

Expert Predictions

“Can Daniel Dubois beat Anthony Joshua? The answer is, of course, he can. I don’t think he will, personally. We’ve seen in Daniel Dubois’ last couple of fights that he can dig deep. He can take a smack, his engine seems good, and his confidence is there,” said web host Ade Oladipo on his YouTube channel.

Whether Dubois can win comes down to this: If he can take Joshua’s power, he will knock him out if AJ comes to fight. Joshua can’t take Dubois’ big power shots or handle his pressure for twelve rounds without imploding like he did against Andy Ruiz.

The only way Joshua can win this fight without scoring a knockout is if he adopts the same Wladimir Klitschko safety first style he used for his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr. in 2019. If AJ fights with that style, he can possibly last twelve rounds if he doesn’t get tired or caught against the ropes by Dubois.

“The ability has always been there. You knew he was a good boxer,” said Ade. “The only question has been this quitting thing and his mindset. Under Don Charles, he seems to have improved both of those aspects.”

Dubois appears to have changed mentally since his loss to Usyk in 2023 and has become tougher.

The shots that Dubois was stopped by against Usyk were weak compared to the ones he absorbed in his last two fights against Filip Hrgovic and Jarrell Miller. Both guys hit Dubois a lot, but he walked through them to wear them down with his own hard punches to score a pair of knockouts.

“We still saw it in the Oleksandr Usyk fight under Don Charles, and there was times in the Jarrell Miller fight where you felt, ‘This is getting a bit nasty,’ but he found something, and he certainly found something against Filip Hrgovic,” said Ade.

“So, he’s getting way better. You can argue as well. You look at who he has fought in his last three, and you look at who AJ has fought in his last three. He’s easily fought the better opposition. There’s no argument. That’s just fact. Hrgovic, Jarrell Miller and Usyk. You look at AJ, and he’s fought Ngannou, Wallin, Helenius [and Jermaine Franklin].”

There’s no comparison between the opposition Dubois has fought in his last three fights and who Joshua has fought, but he’s not been intentionally matched softly the way AJ has.

Hearn had a major project after Joshua’s second defeat against Usyk, and he was just trying to salvage his career. He’s done an admirable job at that, without needing to match Joshua against a good opponent.

“Dubois right now is hot. The reason why I don’t think he can beat AJ is because against Hrgovic, Hrgovic couldn’t miss with those one-twos,” said Ade.


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