Daniel Dubois was set the most fearsome examination of his heart, desire, will and courage in Riyadh and answered all those nagging questions by crowning a valiant night’s work by stopping man mountain Jarrell Miller just seconds before the final bell.
The reward for his huge physical efforts is immediate graduation for Dubois back into the elite class of the world’s heavyweights.
The boxing skills and punching power had never been seriously doubted but the character and resolve had become a subject of debate after a second taking of the knee in his young career.
Preserving to protect his future by baling out in the tenth round against Joe Joyce with a serious fracturing of an eye socket had been regarded as wisdom rather than weakness.
When he knelt down from a straight jab in his world title challenge to Olexsandr Usyk it was difficult to decide whether he was psycholgically deflated by an earlier ruling of a low blow when he dropped the Ukrainian maestro with a body shot or losing his appetite for the hardest game of all.
Daniel Dubois out battled Jarrell Miller in a gruelling 10-round clash which ended just seconds before the final bell
Miller – approximately 100lbs the heavier and so close to being as wide as he is tall that he looked more like a sumo wrestler – was guaranteed to give Dubois a dog-fight in the desert.
Despite the blubber which coats his muscular bulk the allegedly reformed American drugs cheat had used weight that would have put a fork-lift truck under pressure to build an undefeated record.
With the exception of two rounds in mid-fight he never looked likely to preserve that distinction. Dubois went after him from the first bell, boxing behind his ramrod job to open the flight paths for some clubbing hooks and uppercuts. Thus banking the first three rounds.
Miller had believed that he could bully and bludgeon Dubois into submission. As that showed no sign of working he raised his all-round game to take the fourth and fifth rounds. Briefly, Dubols looked winded by some hammer blows but it was the New Yorker who had taken the most out of himself.
The 26-year-old made a winning return to the ring following his loss to Oleksandr Usyk in August
Frank Warren (grey suit) – who was sat ringside next to Cristiano Ronaldo – was heard shouting instructions to the British heavyweight
The longer his subsequent winning rounds went on the more the belief surged through Dubois and he closed the show with a bombardment in the tenth and last.
Dynamite man could not quite blast Miller off his feet but as the American reeled on the ropes – reduced to no more than sticking out his tongue in bravura defiance – until it was wisely stopped.
With his confidence restored, the free movement flowing again and the heavy artillery of his punching reloaded he should become a threat to reigning champions Usyk and Tyson Fury by whenever he has brought into the equation.
That will not be just yet. Meanwhile he needs to correct that tendency to punch below the belt. He was warned three times this time but he threw so many more that a sterner referee might have deducted points, at the very least.
Miller congratulated Dubois after the fight and claimed that he had earned his ‘motherf***ing respect’
Not that it would have mattered on a night when he won eight of the ten rounds. But in this form against a better, fitter opponent it is not a risk worth taking
There had been an alarm that this might be shock night in Riyadh came when Russia’s new Beast From The East, Arslanbek Makhmudov, was battered and beaten by Germany’s European champion Agit Kabayel, slumping to a fourth round K0 under the barrage of body shots which followed a series of hefty rights to his twitching head.
Kabayel came into the ring a 7-1 outsider but left it as the new man the old belt holders will be in no hurry to meet. Dynamite Daniel promptely arrested that trend.