By Charles Brun: It looks like fans will need to wait a little longer to see the Daniel Dubois vs. Joe Joyce British heavyweight clash, as their promoter Frank Warren reportedly be moving the fight from the currently scheduled October 24 date.
The Joyce vs. Dubois match has already been moved twice previously from April and July, and now they’re looking at November.
The Dubois-Joyce fight needs fans in attendance at the O2 Arena in London, England, and that won’t be possible by next month on October 24. They’ll need the British government to unloosen the clamps they have on preventing crowds from attending sporting events like boxing to be staged in front of fans.
Dubois vs. Joyce needs a crowd
It makes sense for the UK government to have a temporary ban on letting large groups of people attend events because they’re trying to stop the COVID-19 virus.
The promoters are in a challenging position to guess when live crowds will return to boxing events. But without a vaccine, it might not be possible in 2020 to stage fight cards in front of crowds filling venues like the O2.
“If we knew we could get a crowd, we would move it back further, but it’s also what the fighters want to do. It’s a moving target, that’s the problem, and we’re all adjusting,” said Warren to ESPN.
“We need a crowd and anything is better than nothing. With the York Hall for instance, if you are only allowed 20%, so that’s a crowd of 300,” he said.
“There’s no value in that, and there’s no value in a crowd of 1,000 for a big fight. We would fill the O2 for Dubois-Joyce, 20% of that is 4,000 and that’s not great but it’s better than nothing and gives us some income.
It might be better for Warren to play it safe and reschedule the Joyce vs. Dubois fight in March or April 2021. At least by making that move, there’s less of a chance to move it again.
It’s going to look bad if the fight keeps getting moved repeatedly. By the time the battle occurs, some boxing fans will be wary of the constant postponements and might not have faith that it’ll finally take place.
Should Dubois-Joyce wait until 2021?
A fight of this magnitude deserves to occur in front of a sold-out crowd, but it’s going to be difficult. The arena seats 20,000 fans, and a fight like this has the potential to sellout.
It will be a shame if the two heavyweights wind up fighting in front of a minuscule audience in November or whenever they finally end up fighting.
Dubois (15-0, 14 KOs) is coming off of a 2nd round knockout of Ricardo Snijders on August 29 in Stratford. The fight took place behind closed doors without fans.
That wasn’t a big deal that Dubois vs. Snijders was staged without fans, as that was a small fight, and only a few boxing fans cared about it.
Joyce, 35, knocked out replacement opponent Michael Wallisch in round three on July 25 a the BT Studio. It wasn’t a competitive fight, as Wallisch had nothing to worry the Juggernaut with in that clash.
It’s looking less than promising right now that Joyce vs. Dubois will take place in front of a crowd. You got to admire Warren’t perseverance in continuing to try and stage the Joyce vs. Dubois fight this year in front of a group, but it might turn out to be useless.
If it looks like they won’t stage the fight this year in front of a crowd, then Joyce should try and get a fight in to stay active. He’s 35 now, and he can’t afford to be inactive for extended periods during the pandemic. With the 23-year-old Dubois, it’s less of a concern if he’s sitting idle. Dubois is young and still has a lot of time left in his career.