Don Charles has paid tribute to his heavyweight Daniel Dubois following successive stoppages of the previously undefeated duo of Jarrell Miller and Filip Hrgovic.

Dubois is 21-2 (20 KOs), and the hard-punching Londoner was a significant underdog against Hrgovic when they boxed on June 1.

Victory means Dubois finds himself in position to fight Anthony Joshua at Wembley in September, but regardless of what comes next, Charles is delighted Dubois has had the opportunity to twice prove his mettle, come through adversity, and win.

“I would say that’s what’s happened,” said Charles, his trainer.

Many dismissed Dubois after losses to Joe Joyce and Oleksandr Usyk, but for Charles they were lessons for his fighter. 

“It’s called maturity,” he said. “People forget the young man’s age. It’s a factor. People forget that he didn’t have an extensive amateur career. He didn’t go to the Commonwealth Games, world championships, Olympics. He never went to any of those.”

Dubois boxed in a few international contests, but had in the region of 40 amateur bouts. 

“So, really, he doesn’t have the experience,” Charles went on. “He turned professional at the age of 19, so he’s practically learned on the job. Taking into consideration, he wouldn’t have certain elements in him because it’s learning on the job and, in my opinion, without being disrespectful to any of the previous coaches who I think have done tremendously until the baton was handed to me, we get on. The chemistry is there. 

“He bought into my ethos of coaching. I have a son and I’m a natural father and maybe that’s what he needed. He has a biological father who we all know, but the way I deliver information to my boxers – not just Daniel – I have my ways, and it’s not just one thing. It’s a number of factors that adds to what you’re seeing now.”

Dubois was once trained by Martin Bowers, then worked with Shane McGuigan, before joining Charles.

“I was probably the missing piece of his jigsaw and he’s that fighter I’ve been waiting for all along, to come along and to be able to carry out what I actually do teach,” Charles added.

There were layers to the Hrgovic fight, in that the Croat had the best of a spar with Dubois years ago, but Charles said that rather than making use of the spar, it only led to Hrgovic’s overconfidence, and, ultimately, his downfall. It was also another sign of Dubois’ maturity – staring down someone who had bested him in the ring, albeit in sparring, several years before.


“That was a big factor, because although I wasn’t present at the spar Hrgovic had with him, he was only around 20 years old when that happened and Hrgovic was 26, so there’s a six-year gap and what apparently happened was Hrgovic was getting the better of him and the trainer sensibly said, ‘Right, that’s enough’,” Charles continued. “It wasn’t that he knocked Daniel out or anything like that, he was getting the better of Daniel and it was, ‘That’s enough’, which is a good call from the coach, who would have been Martin Bowers. 

“I knew all along, through all the meetings that we had, I could pick up in his [Hrgovic’s] body language he was very arrogant and took it for granted that the same 20-year-old boy he got the better of in sparring was the same 20-year-old who was going to turn up. 

“Daniel is now a man – an athletic young man who has improved immensely, physically and mentally, so he got a shock. And he came out there and tried to blast Daniel – probably the same thing he tried to do in sparring. He rushed a young man and overwhelmed Daniel back then. He came out with the same game plan and the first three rounds, after Daniel withstood the ambush he said, ‘I’m still here mate, I’m not going anywhere’. Hrgovic started doubting himself and he blew a gasket. 

“If you count how many power punches he threw – that’s too excessive for a heavyweight. It’s not sustainable. Hrgovic gambled. He gambled wrong.”