Caroline Dubois hoped to have her first major title fight secured by the time she stepped into the ring this weekend.
To the surprise of nobody—especially not her team—there has yet to come forward any willing takers.
The silver lining is that the unbeaten lightweight won’t have to worry about any distractions ahead of her scheduled ten-round bout versus Miranda Reyes. The lesser regarded IBO title is at stake for their Sky Sports/Peacock+ aired bout (Saturday, 7:00 p.m. GMT/2:00 p.m. ET), though Dubois will enter the ring with a championship mindset.
“It’s very important to make a statement every time you step in the ring,” Dubois told BoxingScene.com. “The fans only remember you from your last fight so I have to go in there and show them.
“I’m using this fight to send a message to the whole 135-pound division that I’m the best. I believe I’m the best. When you fight me, you’re in for a hard night.”
That has proven true in every pro fight for Dubois (8-0, 5KOs), a 2020 Olympic quarterfinalist and fast rising lightweight contender. The 23-year-old London southpaw has stopped or dropped each of her past seven opponents, including three knockdowns in a ten-round, unanimous decision win over Magail Rodriguez last September 30 at the famed York Hall in Bethnal Green.
Saturday’s bout versus Texas’ Reyes (7-1-1, 3KOs) comes closer to home at OVO Arena Wembley. She entered fight week still unsure who she will next face for the vacant IBF lightweight title left behind by Irish superstar Katie Taylor (24-1, 6KOs). Previously ordered opponent Rhiannon Dixon (9-0, 1KO) will instead bid for the vacant WBO belt.
The development understandably irritated Dubois, who ultimately learned to see the bigger picture. A win on Saturday will set up her first major title fight—and with it, perhaps the chance to unify versus Dixon down the road.
“I was always focused on this fight but I also expected to next fight for a world title after that,” admitted Dubois, whose older brother Daniel Dubois (20-2, 19KOs) is a former secondary WBA heavyweight titlist. “The IBF ordered the fight and my coach then told me it fell apart. It was annoying and very frustrating. But I still have a job to do here so I got myself together, got myself focused and here we go again.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox