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Daniel Dubois risks knockout loss if he employs the wrong game plan against Oleksandr Usyk

Oleksandr Usyk and Daniel Dubois. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images

Heavyweight contender Daniel ‘Dynamite’ Dubois 19-1 (18) could be at risk of getting knocked out if he overcommits to his punches against unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk this weekend.

The 25-year-old once-beaten Brit will challenge Ukrainian southpaw Usyk, 36, for his WBA, WBO and IBF titles at Stadion Wroclaw in Wroclaw, Poland on Saturday night.

There is no doubt that this is a step up in class for Dubois, who will be facing arguably the slickest heavyweight champion Chris Byrd, another southpaw who held the IBF championship almost two decades ago.

The angles, timing and footwork of Usyk would present a problem for anyone in any era. As a constantly moving target, Usyk makes it hard to get a bead on him, let alone a shot. Twenty boxers have tried across two weight classes; twenty have failed.

Not many fans and pundits are giving Dubios much of a chance of springing the upset. You can count amongst their number Malik Scott, the trainer of big-punching former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder 43-2-1 (42).

But while conventional wisdom has Usyk boxing his way to a points victory, Scott sees the bout ending differently.

“I’ve got Usyk winning by stoppage,” Scott said to ES News. “Dubois is a big guy, obviously if he hits him [it will hurt], but if he hits him, so what? Usyk has got one of the best chins in the division. His issues with punch intake has nothing to do with his chin, he has taken harder punches from better punchers and bigger boxers than Daniel Dubois.

“I believe that Daniel Dubois is going to overcommit a lot and when you overcommit a lot against Oleksandr Usyk, he is able to hurt you.

“Even though he is not the biggest puncher, he can hurt you because he hits you with shots that you don’t see coming and Daniel Dubois has never been in the ring with anybody like this.

“He’s going to find out very early that there is levels to this.”

Usyk-Dubios will take place in Poland, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is neutral territory. Sharing an eastern border with Ukrainian, there are many of Usyk’s compatriots who call Poland home.

“That city has a large Ukrainian community and it has a boxing history,” Usyk said. “Vitali Klitschko boxed Tomasz Adamek there and there are a lot of boxing fans there. There are also a lot of MMA fighters from there.”

Usyk is hoping that his bout against Dubois can bring his homeland a little bit of pleasure – however fleeting – amidst the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I pray every day for the lord to give me more understanding of what is going on in Ukraine,” he said.

“I don’t want to be angry at people, I want to love this world as it is. If I can bring my people just a little bit of enjoyment, I would fight everyday. Because of where they are, they don’t have anything else to do, or look at, other than fighting for freedom. But we are going to get that freedom.”