Daniel Dubois feels he had a lot of growing up to do in lockdown.
The 22-year-old is still considered by many a baby in boxing after turning pro aged 18 and racking up 14 fight since then.
The Brit was earmarked as a future world champion from almost his first fight pro outing and was booked to fight Joe Joyce in a summer blockbuster at the O2 before coronavirus forced sport to grind to a halt.
The Joyce bout was designed to provide Dubois with the platform to truly announce himself and set-up contests with the division’s elite contenders, and although the fight has been rescheduled for October, the Londoner admitted lockdown was a challenging time.
‘It’s been tough, very much so. It’s slowed everything down,’ Dubois told Metro.co.uk.
‘I feel sort of like I’ve been put back in square one. It’s been a real learning experience for me.
‘I’ve had to mature much more as a person. As well as maturing as a fighter, you have to get better at coping with these things.
‘The world isn’t always as it seems and anything can happen at any time. So, you’ve got to be prepared.’
Dubois has not stopped training during lockdown. The Joyce fight has now twice been postponed and his coach, Martin Bowers, transported Dubois and every tool the fighter needed to a farm outside London.
‘We’re in the countryside now, living the country life! We’ve got a lovely little set up here,’ Dubois explained.
‘We’ve been going round to other gyms, but now we’ve got loads of bits and bobs.
‘We’re enjoying what we’ve worked for and trying to use what we can to benefit us. We’re a family and we’ve stuck together.’
‘We’ve continued to train,’ he added. ‘We’ve been able to motivate each other and push each other.
‘I haven’t missed too much of a beat and it wasn’t too hard getting back into it.’
‘I’ve not taken up any! There’s nothing I want to do other than boxing.
‘Boxing is always on my mind, even when I’m not training. It’s been hard to think about anything else. I couldn’t stop thinking about getting back.
‘It’s been hard coming back, this has actually been a really hard period. But we’re back now and it’s showtime. Back to normal and back to life.’
After originally being matched with Eric Pfeifer, Netherlands heavyweight Ricardo Snijders has stepped in at late notice to fight Dubois this Saturday.
Dubois will take on Joyce in October and has his eye on even bigger fights in 2021, including the likes of Dillian Whyte and Derek Chisora.
Joyce hopes to derail Dubois’ rapid rise, but with his rival turning 35 in September, the younger man is convinced the delay will be in his favour.
‘I think that’s all going to be on my side,’ Dubois said about the cancellations. ‘I’m a better fighter than him and I’m looking forward to proving that on the night.
‘I really can’t wait for that fight. It’ll be a massive fight for British boxing, but I think it’ll be a big fight for my legacy. I have to prove I can perform.
‘We need each other, we have to prove ourselves and prove we belong on this modern heavyweight scene.’
‘Joe didn’t look too impressive in his last fight, but I can’t say he ever did,’ Dubois continued. ‘Seeing him in there, I’ve seen a lot of things I can exploit.
‘Can’t tell you what, but you’ll see what I’m talking about.’
Joyce stopped Michael Wallisch inside three rounds in his warm-up fight last month, but Dubois is convinced he can out perform his opponent.
He said: ‘I can definitely do better than that! I wish they’d set me up with that sort of opponent.
‘Tubby little guy. It’s a strange one and I want to box the best all the time. I need Joyce to set up the big fights.
‘I want to be more ferocious and stronger and better animal than I was before. I have to push myself through the ranks.’
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