Daniel Dubois vs. Razvan Cojanu – preview & prediction
By Trevor McIntyre: Heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois (9-0, 8 KOs) fights this Saturday night against 31-year-old former world title challenger Razvan Cojanu (16-4, 9 KOs) in a 12 round fight live on ESPN+ in the U.S and BT Sport in the UK from the Brentwood Centre, in Brentwood, UK. Dubois vs. Cojanu will be streamed at 3:00 p.m ET on ESPN+ in the States.
Dubois had his moments in his last fight in beating 39-year-old journeyman Kevin ‘Kingpin’ Johnson (33-12-1, 17 KOs) by a 10 round points decision last October. It was still frustrating watching Dubois get hit by Johnson, and not get him out of there. Anthony Joshua had destroyed Johnson in 2 rounds in 2015. Dubois never came close to seriously hurting Johnson to stop him. The reason for that is Dubois’ lack of hand speed and combination punching. Dubois was trying to stop Johnson with single shots the way former World Boxing Council heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko did in 2012, and it was never going to work in 2009. Johnson was able to brace from the shots, and lean away from them to take the zip out of them. Dubois tried his best to get the KO, but he wasn’t able to adapt his game enough for him to hurt Johnson and finish him.
Cojanu is a decent opponent, but he’s lost his last two fights, and he looked poor in in getting halted in the 2nd round by Luis Ortiz last Summer. Dubois fighting a guy with an 0-2 record in his last two fights is a weak move on his part. It would have been far better of Dubois’ promoter had matched him up against someone better than Cojanu like Nathan Gorman, Hughie Fury, Sergey Kuzmin, Tom Schwarz or Junior Fa. Kuzmin vs. Dubois would be an interesting fight. At least Kuzmin has punching power, and is willing to let his hands go. Cojanu has zero punching power, and he’s mainly someone that slaps with his shots. There’s no threat to Dubois, and its not the type of fight where he’s going to learn much.
It’s generally agreed that Dubois, 21, is taking a slight step up with his career in facing the 6’7″ Cojanu. This is an opponent that gave former World Boxing Organization heavyweight champion Joseph Parker a lot of problems last year in May. Cojanu was beaten by a 12 round unanimous decision by the scores 117-110, 117-110 and 119-109. Although Cojanu lost the fight by a lopsided decision, he performed reasonably well and made the 26-year-old Parker look bad.
Cojanu didn’t appear to be seriously trying to win the fight. He mostly was spoiling, showboating, and seemingly trying to frustrate Parker. Cojanu did a good job of doing that, but he was a failure at being competitive. After that fight, Cojanu was massacred by former heavyweight world title challenger Luis ‘King Kong’ Ortiz by a 2nd round knockout five months ago on July 28 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Cojanu’s upright stationary style was perfect for the southpaw Ortiz to land his hard left hands. Cojanu didn’t do anything to keep Ortiz off of him, but even if he did, he was going to have problems against the former Cuban amateur talent. Ortiz had too much of an advantage in boxing skills and punching power for Cojanu to exist with him for any length of time.
At 21, the 6’5″ Dubois is considered a a good heavyweight prospect, and potentially a future world champion. Right now, Dubois is too green to be put in with any of the current heavyweight champions. Dubois would likely be smashed by IBF/WBA/WBO champion Anthony Joshua, and WBC champion Deontay Wilder. Dubois needs to improve n his defense before he faces the likes of Wilder and Joshua. What’s unclear is the overall time frame that Dubois’ promoter is looking at before he finally takes him off the leash to have him fight for a world title. With the right kind of match-making, Dubois could easily be a mandatory for Joshua or Wilder by 2020 if not sooner. But that might be too soon for Dubois to be taking on those two big punchers.
Dubois is young enough to be brought along slowly for the next five or six years before finally put in with a world champion when he’s 26 or 27. The advantage of Dubois being brought along slowly is that Joshua and Wilder will be considerably older than they are now, and not the same fighters they are now. They’ll likely be just as powerful in five or six years as they are now, but they’ll be slower. Dubois’ main flaw in his game is his lack of hand and foot speed. If Joshua and Wilder slow down a little with age, Dubois could have a chance of beating one or both. Right now, Dubois would be out of his element against either of them. The risk involved in bringing Dubois along too slowly is he could be surpassed by other heavyweights coming up from the amateurs in the future. If the management for the other young heavyweights are more willing to put them in with talented contenders, then they’ll pass Dubois in the rankings and get a title shot sooner.
Dubois should’t be brought along too slow, especially if it appears that he’s not going to improve substantially. The punching power and size is already there for Dubois. The speed will likely never improve for him. Dubois is as fast as he’ll ever be. It’s all downhill from this point in terms of speed. A fighter usually is as fast as they’re ever going to be by the time they’re 21. The punching power and defensive skills can be improved though, and that’s what Dubois needs. He needs that and experience against quality opposition. Cojanu is a good start, but Dubois will need to continue to face increasingly better opposition with each fight for him to see the kind of improvement that will lead to him winning a world title.
Dubois will go after Cojanu early and take him out in the first three rounds with big head shots. Luis Ortiz knocked Cojanu out in the 2nd round last Summer. Dubois is capable of doing the same thing if he goes after the Romanian earl with his big power shots. There’s no reason for Dubois to keep Cojanu out there too long. The longer that Cojanu is able to hang around, the more confidence he’ll get. Cojanu will play to the crowd, and make Dubois look really bad if he’s allowed to hang around for any length of time. Ortiz, 39, wasn’t willing to let Cojanu play that game with him, so he banged him out right away before he could start taunting him. Cojanu could very well last the distance with Dubois if he pick off the single shots that he throws. That would be bad for Dubois, because he would be taunted the entire fight by Cojanu.
Also on Saturday’s Dubois-Cojanu card, former British welterweight champion Bradley Skeete will be facing an opponent still to be determined, and WBO European super flyweight champion Sunny Edwards (9-0, 3 KOs) will be defending his strap against Junior Granados (16-5-1, 9 KOs) in a 10 round fight. It’s not a compelling match-up unfortunately. The remainder of the card is a mixed bag with a lot of obscure domestic level fighters, but no one seemingly heading towards world title honors.