Daniel Dubois needed just 211 seconds to get back to winning ways, as he left Bogdan Dinu sprawling on the canvas in Telford from a big right cross.
It was a night for rebuilding reputations and the 23-year-old – whose younger sister, Caroline, qualified for the Olympic Games less than five hours earlier - will enjoy being called a winner again. The trauma of his loss to Joe Joyce last November, when he took a knee after suffering an eye injury, might not be completely forgotten, but at least it will now not be the only topic of conversation.
“It has been a rough ride and I am glad to be back,” Dubois said. “There were little thoughts going through my head [when I got in the ring], but I listened to what Shane [McGuigan, his new trainer] told me and stuck to his instructions.
“My sister just qualified for the Olympics, I’m glad I am back and I picked up a belt as well.
“I want to get back in the mix and taking things easy with Shane and learning new thing, we are going to get there. “Whoever they bring for me, I will knock them all down.
“I want to clear that up [the loss to Joyce], I need to set it right.”
Dinu, a Romanian, somehow had a No 4 rating from the WBA, a bizarre ranking considering that the only two contenders he had fought – Kubrat Pulev and Jarrell Miller – had both knocked him out. On such terrible rankings are belts handed out and the WBA sanctioned this fight for their interim WBA title, which logically would see the winner installed as a world champion should the title become vacant. Fortunately, the WBA has so many titles that they probably won’t notice.
Dubois didn’t waste any time on niceties as he went after Dinu from the start, using his jab quite well although tending to be out of range with the right. One hard right got through, causing Dinu to back off
Barely ten seconds had passed in the second round as Dinu backed into the ropes and, as he pawed out a jab, he was wide open for Dubois’s big right. It landed clean and Dino fell down the ropes and landed flat on his back. Marcus McDonnell, the referee, counted him out on his knees. The time (including count) was 31 seconds of the second round.
Dubois looked rightfully delighted, but Dinu’s lack of a tight defense put his ranking into some perspective.
Forgetting the WBA’s obvious shortcomings for one moment, Dinu had been a perfectly adequate opponent for Dubois to return against after a traumatic defeat seven months ago. If anything, the belt took the shine off a good win.
“He is only 23, he is young he has suffered a little loss, but he needs to go back and rebuild and I think we did that,” McGuigan said. “It was a fantastic performance. We didn’t have long, but give us six months, a year and you will see the best of him.
“He has got fantastic legs, he just needs to use them a bit more and speed comes from the ground up, sometimes he paws his shots out, but the more he uses his feet, the more he punches with his legs, the more speed and devastation you are going to see with Daniel Dubois. Give us a year and he is going to be knocking on the doors of the big boys, trust me.”
Frank Warren, his promoter, said Dubois would be aiming for a shot at the WBA’s regular title, held by Trevor Bryan.
“Don King has got that fighter, so that is what we will work towards,” Warren said. “If he is not capable of beating Trevor Bryan, we are all wasting our time. He’s more than capable of it.”
On the undercard, local favorite Nathan Heaney (12-0, 4 KOs), who sold the majority of the tickets to this event, created a very loud atmosphere when he hit the ring.
In his latest outing, Heaney knocked out Iliyan Markov (6-15-2) in the third round.
Heaney was doing well with his technical boxing in the first round. He picked up the pace in the second by checking the chin of Markov a few times. Heaney also tagged the body with hard hooks.
In the third, a hard left hook to the body sent Markov down in pain for the full count.