Alan Hubbard

He may sound like a French pop singer, but there is only one hit parade that Daniel Dubois aims to top - the heavyweight championship of the world.

The 22-year-old, one of 11 children from Greenwich in south-east London, is the latest ring sensation. He stands 6ft 5in, weighs 17 stone plus, and has a dozen knockouts and the British and Commonwealth championship belts wrapped around his waist.

Good judges reckon he is the hardest-punching heavyweight the sport has seen for many years, something he demonstrated in just two minutes last weekend when blasting out the Ghanaian Ebenezer Tetteh to acquire the Commonwealth crown at a packed Royal Albert Hall.

Next Monday (October 7), Dubois will be honoured by the Boxing Writers Club having been overwhelmingly voted Britain's best young boxer of the year. He is the first heavyweight since 1983 to do so, and only one of three heavyweights to win it in the award's 68 years.

Just how good is he? He takes me back to the sixties when Sonny Liston, stony faced with a phenomenal left jab and thunderclap right hand, terrified the heavyweight world before a young man, then called Cassius Clay, psyched him out.

Dynamite Dan, as they now call Dubois, has all the Liston attributes but hopefully a bigger heart should he ever face adversity. He certainly seems the real deal. So far he has not been over-hyped but one suspects that situation is about to change in an age where British boxing has never had it so good, with hordes of youngsters coming into the game and turning professional. So many, in fact, that top promoters like Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn say it is hard to accommodate them all with regular fights.

Daniel Dubois made short work of Ebenezer Tetteh ©Getty Images
Daniel Dubois made short work of Ebenezer Tetteh ©Getty Images

Daniel, whose family name is inherited from the slave-trade days in America where ancestors toiled for a slave owner named Dubois, is, like Liston, the strong, silent type. His is the gift of the jab rather than the gab. The power in his punches speaks volumes.

There aren't really any serious domestic challengers easily available for Dubois, although there is talk of a big-money bout with his stablemate Joe Joyce, the Rio 2016 Olympic silver medal winner and similarly unbeaten as a pro. Joyce, now 33, is a capable fighter, but maybe not capable enough defensively to keep his chin out of the way of that wrecking-ball right more than four or five rounds.

The impressive, if impassive, Dubois is arguably the biggest hitter in British boxing. And there is certainly no doubt that he is the most heavy-handed home-grown heavy since Frank Bruno. The gymnasium grapevine has it that he flattened Olympic and newly deposed world champion Anthony Joshua in sparring and has put another spar-mate in hospital.

Bruno, Dubois' new-found mentor and best mate in boxing, said: "I wouldn’t want to get clobbered by one of them big right-handers. Know what I mean?"

We do indeed, Frank. Apart from Bruno, it is hard to think of any British heavyweight who comes close to the punching power of Dubois. Lennox Lewis could bang a bit when the mood took him and so can David Price, still - providing he doesn’t get chinned first.

Herbie Hide could be a hurtful puncher, as is Anthony Joshua. And who can forget "Enry's ‘Ammer"? Certainly not Clay Jnr as he then was when floored by Henry Cooper back in 1963. The man who became Muhammad Ali once told me he was still rubbing his jaw years later. For someone who never weighed more than 14½ stone, Cooper really could dig with that pulverising left hook.

And, back in their day, Bruce Woodcock, Freddie Mills and the very first British champion Bombardier Billy Wells threw a mean mitt or two.

Frank Bruno won a world title, eventually, and he rates Dubois highly ©Getty Images
Frank Bruno won a world title, eventually, and he rates Dubois highly ©Getty Images

Should he continue in such devastating fashion, will Dubois end up among the all-time greatest punchers in world boxing history? It seems more than possible that he will have the starring role in boxing’s Punch and Booty show.

If so, he will pass muster with an elite big punch bunch which must include Liston, George Foreman, Mike Tyson, Joe Louis, Jack Johnson, Jack Dempsey, Rocky Marciano (with his famous Susie Q), Ingemar Johansson and Vitali Klitschko.

But above all these was one who never won a world title - Earnie Shavers. Ask any heavyweight of Earnie's era and he will tell you that Shavers was the fiercest banger of all. His rib-cracking body shots were crippling. Ali passed blood for three days after they fought in New York in 1977 and said subsequently, "Earnie hit me so hard it shook my kinfolk back in Africa."

Of course Ali, who floored more than a few in his time, preferred the sort of snappier, twisting shots that victims like Liston and Foreman never saw coming. Tyson Fury, similar to Ali, relies on the sweeter science more than strong-arming it.

Yet none of the above, in my view, could hit harder than the two most fearsome punchers I have ever seen. One was a San Francisco longshoreman named Jim Fletcher, who struck so venomously that he headed the list of 'Who wants to know him?' candidates back in the sixties and seventies.

The late Blackpool promoter Laurie Lewis brought him over to meet former British champion Brian London. In the company of a few of us a couple of years after the fight, he admitted that he had approached Fletcher and asked him to take it easy on London, or alternatively take a dive for which he was offered money.

Fletcher, a strong, silent and obviously proud man, was furious and demolished London in two savage rounds.

The other heavyweight who made me gasp in awe at his power was the fabulous Cuban amateur Teofilo Stevenson, who won three Olympic gold medals. Before the first of those three Games, in Munich 1972, journalist Colin Hart and I were chatting with Ali's legendary trainer Angelo Dundee and mentioned that we wanted to interview the heavyweight everyone was talking about, the American Duane Bobick who was clear favourite for the gold medal.

"Don’t bother," sniffed Angelo. "Go and see a Cuban guy named Stevenson. He'll blow everyone away. He’s sensational." Apparently Angelo's card had been marked by Ali's Cuban masseur Luis Sarria. It was a great tip and we managed to get an exclusive interview with the handsome fella about to become the sensation of the Games. One of his victims was Bobick, whose nose he split until the blood ran like strawberry jam.

Caroline Dubois celebrates Youth Olympic gold in Buenos Aires last year ©Getty Images
Caroline Dubois celebrates Youth Olympic gold in Buenos Aires last year ©Getty Images

It could well be that Dubois will soon be ranked high among the sport's punching powerhouses - and world champion within two years.

And the name Dubois could be on everyone's lips by then for another reason, too. Daniel's 18-year-old little sister Caroline is a brilliant boxer. "I am tempted to say she is the best female fighter I've ever seen," said the eminently knowledgeable BBC commentator Mike Costello.

Currently Youth Olympic champion, world youth lightweight champion and three times European junior champion, and unbeaten in 35 contests, long-armed southpaw Caroline is well on course for Olympic gold in Tokyo next year - if selected, as she has yet to box as a senior.

Sweet Caroline has certainly come a long way since pretending to be a nine-year-old boy called Colin just to workout at a boxing club as a child. "She is a much more natural fighter than me," her big brother said, while coach Tony Bowers reckons she is one of the best he has ever seen. "And that's not female fighters, just fighters..."

Some family, eh.