As fans have no doubt read or heard, it’s official: Anthony Joshua will challenge fellow Brit Daniel Dubois for the IBF heavyweight title on September 21, the fight to top a huge Wembley card. Today’s card was officially announced, and some of the fighters to feature had some choice words for their respective opponents, but it was the two big men who made the headlines.

During their first official face-off, Joshua and Dubois had some heated words and they were almost stopped from getting physical. At the end of the face-off, when the words, “September 21st and not before,” were said, Dubois, often a quiet guy, challenged AJ to fight right now.

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“Well, if you want to go now, I’ll go now,” Dubois said.

“Do you want me to smash this chair across your face!” Joshua shot back. “Don’t ever disrespect me like that again.”

The two heavyweights were then pulled apart.

Joshua, like Dubois, is usually a cool, calm and polite guy, but today, 34 year old AJ showed his nasty side – and it was for real, not a mere case of hype intended to sell tickets (this fight card will absolutely sell out and it was always going to sell out). AJ promoter Eddie Hearn said the worst thing a fighter can do is try to talk trash to Joshua before the fight – “it’s a bad move,” Hearn said today – that they will bring out the beast in Joshua and will pay as a result.

Maybe. But Dubois, 21-2(20) can crack himself and he has been accused of being, for want of a better description, ‘too nice.’ Now, Dubois seems to have come into his own, perhaps due to his good, confidence-restoring wins over Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller and, last time out, Filip Hrgovic. Dubois held his own in the build-up to both fights, and of course the 26 year old won both fights via stoppage.

Joshua, 28-3(25) is and will be the favourite to win the fight on September 21, and he could win the fight quite quickly. But if a fully confident Dubois comes out smoking and manages to land a bomb on Joshua’s chin……..who knows? There could be more fun and games over the coming weeks as the Joshua-Dubois fight edges closer. Is there some very real bad blood between these two, or did AJ simply feel Dubois crossed a line today?

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