Criticism directed at Daniel Dubois for stopping his fight with Joe Joyce was “dangerous and irresponsible” according to brain injury charity Headway.
Dubois took the knee and felt he was unable to continue in the 10th round of his British, Commonwealth and European heavyweight title bout in London on Saturday night.
He had suffered a broken orbital bone and nerve damage around his left eye, but faced initial criticism for ‘quitting’ the fight rather than continuing until his corner or the referee stopped it.
— Joe Joyce (@JoeJoyceBoxing) November 29, 2020
Luke Griggs, the deputy chief executive of the Headway charity, said the incident highlighted the mindset which had developed in the sport.
“This is the sort of thing we see all the time, this (talk of) bravery for boxers who manage to defy an eight count and continue despite the fact they are clearly concussed and yet they are allowed to continue to box and continue to take punishment to the head and brain,” he told the PA news agency.
“In any other sport there would be outcry every time that someone is allowed to continue with a concussion and yet in boxing they’re praised for doing so.
“In this situation at the weekend you’ve got former boxers criticising Dubois for taking the knee when he had a fractured eye socket, the concept being you’ve got to be brave, you’ve got to be a hero, you’ve got to fight on to the bitter end.
“What kind of message is that sending to people about the nature of brain injuries? It’s dangerous, it’s irresponsible.”
Former cruiserweight and heavyweight fighter Tony Bellew told BT Sport after the fight: “It just doesn’t look good, the way he took a knee. As a fighter, you want to go out on your shield.”
Dubois’ opponent Joyce said: “He’s good at giving a punch, but maybe not so good at taking a punch. I’d go to the end, unless I was getting pinged and there was no point in continuing.
“I would prefer to go out on my shield rather than stop the fight like that. Look at David Haye and the courage he had to fight on one leg. He was still throwing punches. He’s a warrior.”