BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Daniel Dubois is the new WBO global heavyweight champion after a fourth round stoppage of Richard Lartey at Wembley’s SSE Arena.
The Greenwich prospect moved his record to 11-0, with 10 of those victories coming inside the distance.
But Dubois certainly did not have an easy ride against his Ghanaian opponent, with doubts initially if he would even be there after VISA problems in the build up.
The unbeaten South Londoner looked stung by a couple of the punches landed by Lartey and there were also wild exchanges between the pair.
There was no doubting that Dubois, 21, was the more well-schooled fighter but showed signs of over-eagerness at times to get the job done.
Lartey gripped on for dear life after a crunching right uppercut in the third round and got two warnings for holding from referee Robert Williams.
But the ending was not far away.
Lartey stepped on to a straight right hand and cuffing left hook which dropped him to the canvas in the fourth round.
Although he beat the count, it was waved over by Williams.
There were no initial complaints by Lartey as he was led back to his corner – receiving oxygen – but he was angry at the stoppage when he emerged back into the middle of the ring.
The plan could now be for Dubois to face Putney’s Joe Joyce for the vacant British title.
The former Earlsfield ABC amateur, a leading light for GB and silver medallist at the Olympics, was ringside. Joyce signed a promotional deal with Frank Warren earlier in the week, making it an easy bout to be staged.
The talk is of a July meeting between the two undefeated Londoners.
Dubois said: “It was a firefight. I was so busy trying to hit him with hurtful shots, defence sort of left my mind for the first few rounds.
“Then I thought ‘you know what? I need to be clever and pick my shots’. I started being a bit smarter and caught him with a good shot. I caught him on the point I wanted to catch him all night. It’s a lesson learned.
“[The pressure Lartey put him under] was nothing I’m not used to. I’ve been in gyms and boxing for more than 10 years, and counting. I was able to adapt to it and cope. He clipped me a few times. The guy was rugged, tough and he swung fast punches in.
“It’s a lesson learned again, be careful at all times.”
“The big fights are lined up. If I keep winning and progressing then sooner rather than later I’ll be sharing the ring with these fellas.
“I definitely can beat him [Joyce]. So long as the preparation is right, I train hard, I’m focused and I listen to my team around me then I beat anyone.”
Joyce, 33, already holds the Commonwealth strap and pummelled former world title challenger Bermane Stiverne last time out in February.
Asked about Dubois’ display, Joyce said: “It was a good performance. He was troubled a few times out there – that comes with experience.
“He got the job done and it was entertaining to watch.
“It’s an option [for him to fight Dubois for the British title]. I’ve got a fight in Stevenage on May 18, so that’s a good warm-up. I should be out again in July.
“I’ll speak to Frank and my managers to see what options are out there.”
Croydon super-flyweight Sunny Edwards retained his WBO European super-flyweight title with an eighth round stoppage of Portugal’s Pedro Matos.
The stylish South Londoner (11-0) showed excellent punch selection in the opening rounds.
Matos (7-2) was tough and willing, but lacked the technical ability to cause the champion any major problems.
Edwards landed a huge left hook at the end of the seventh which visibly wilted Matos but the bell rang to instantly save him.
But the respite was only for the minute in between rounds.
Edwards jumped back on his man and streamed out the punches before referee Phil Edwards correctly called a halt 28 seconds into the eighth round.