Don Charles: “Vitali (Klitschko) would brutalise him (Oleksandr Usyk) if they fought”

BN: How do you reflect on the fight?

DC: Based on the general consensus of friends; non friends; people who are directly related to me; people who don’t know me; people – Spencer Oliver – saying, “How disgusting”. It was just a pure robbery. So – I’m only human – I feed off that. The main positive is that Daniel Dubois was not out of his depth; he proved that he can compete at that level.

He was totally written off – that [Oleksandr] Usyk was gonna totally destroy him. No such thing happened. We knew that Usyk was a masterful boxer. But he was stopped by Daniel Dubois in round five. He wouldn’t have made the count. Had he made the count, Daniel would have jumped in and finished him off. Daniel was denied the opportunity to be crowned unified champion at the young age of 25. It’ll probably take him another three, five years to be in that position. So that’s what it’s cost him. Who’s to say what’s going to happen to Daniel Dubois – how he’ll recover from that? Only time will tell. [But] we will learn from the experience.

I don’t take it for granted. In this job, when you get good results, you’ve got your job. When you get bad results, you can lose your job. I can potentially not be in a job to carry on training Daniel Dubois. I want to be – I believe I can develop the skills to where he should be.  What we saw – the effort he put in with 16 weeks’ work. He came to a new coach; new team, and within 16 weeks he’s in the ring, contesting for the unified Don Charles: “Vitali (Klitschko) would brutalise him (Oleksandr Usyk) if they fought”. He had two fights; he won one of them, and he was forced to have another, with the same guy he’d already beaten – an experienced one who knew how to regroup – and he lost the second one.

BN: You mentioned that Daniel Dubois had to leave Stadion Wroclaw because of how upset he was…

DC: He’s not good, is he? He’s a young man. He’s confused. There were tears. I was consoling him [post fight and the following morning]. He’s distraught. He hasn’t shown his face. He’s been locked in his [hotel] room. Thank god he’s got a solid family unit. [But] I still need to check on him.

BN: What went through your mind when you saw Oleksandr Usyk go down in the fifth round?

I thought, “Yeah – just as we thought, hit him on that spot”. It was a sweet shot. I’ve even got a clip of us in the dressing room practising – it came home. It was no surprise to me. As soon as it landed I knew it was on target because it happened right in front of us, and the referee [Luis Pabon] was in shock.

BN: To what extent can you see the other side of the argument? 

Go and watch the fight between [in 2018, Mairis] Briedis and Usyk – Breidis was constantly hitting him with that shot and he stood. He didn’t go down. It’s not even debatable. It’s on the belt; on the line. That belt line is there for a reason. Where’s the bottom part of the knuckle? It’s not below that line. It’s not debatable, it’s there.

BN: How likely do you consider the fight becoming a no-contest, or a rematch being ordered?

It’s highly unlikely, but we’re still going to push for it. They have a plan but I’m not stupid, a Daniel Dubois win doesn’t fit into their plans. That [the potential fight with Tyson Fury] takes precedent. Frank Warren’s going to push it. But I’m not holding my breath for it – I’m realistic.

BN: What’s next for Dubois?

It’s a relatively new style he’s perfecting. [Becoming] a more aggressive, come-forward fighter; improve the defence; be more elusive; lateral movement. Though I’ve always said he came to me with a lot.

Especially when you’re fighting a southpaw – we were drilling not to drop our left guard. Usyk was penetrating our left side, so we need to improve on that. Also, to be able to throw more punches and single shots.

BN: What sort of opposition would you like for him, and when? 

He’s a young man; he needs to stay active. I’d like him to fight in the next three months. The Joe Joyces; the Joseph Parkers. People like that.

BN: Is his previously injured knee okay – it was tempting to wonder otherwise as he went down in the eighth round?

His knee is fine.

BN: What about his left eye, which looked swollen?

His eye wasn’t swollen, his cheekbones were. You get bruised up in a fight.

BN: How does Usyk compare with Vitali Klitschko, the previous reigning heavyweight champion you challenged as the trainer of Derek Chisora?

There’s no comparison. Vitali would brutalise him if they fought. He couldn’t live with those heavyweights; Lennox Lewis, the Klitschko brothers [Wladimir is the other]. Tyson Fury will play with him. Rag-doll him. Size; ability; awkwardness. Overwhelming advantages Fury has over him. The things he does will not work against Fury. He stood more [against Dubois]; he wasn’t running.

BN: Will you continue working with James Ali Bashir?

Most definitely. The plan for me and him to work together was always going to happen – this was the perfect opportunity, as the former trainer of Usyk. He’ll only come [to London] for camps.

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