Dubois v Joyce: Ismael Salas tests positive for coronavirus before key fight

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport
Dubois and Joyce
Both Dubois (left) and Joyce are unbeaten as professionals

Joe Joyce will be without lead trainer Ismael Salas for Saturday's crucial fight against Daniel Dubois after the Cuban tested positive for coronavirus.

The two unbeaten British heavyweights meet in a mouth-watering fight and know a win will thrust them into the mix with the division's biggest names.

Salas was removed from the fight's 'bubble' after his positive test but had not been with Joyce since October.

Their lack of contact means the bout at London's Church House can go ahead.

News of Salas' test was not made public until after Thursday's news conference and Joyce will now have trainer Steve Broughton in his corner.

Salas has been in the US training other fighters and has been kept apart from Joyce since arriving in London on Saturday.

The news poses question marks as to how Joyce has been trained in the weeks leading up to the biggest fight of his professional career.

On Thursday, Dubois promised to send a message to the fighters at the top of the heavyweight division by landing a "devastating" win over his former sparring partner.

Joyce, 35, is an Olympic silver medallist and warned Dubois will learn to "respect his elders" on fight night.

Dubois, 23, has 15 wins from 15 bouts and replied: "We will see about that. Bring it on. I am ready for war.

"I want to win in devastating fashion - a clear message to the rest of the fighters in the division and all around the world that I am coming."

'Dramatic moment' awaits

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Both fighters have been commended for taking the risk of facing one another at this relatively early stage of their professional journey and will contest Dubois' British title, Joyce's Commonwealth belt and the vacant European strap.

Promoter Frank Warren said a "dramatic moment" will unfold in the career of each man, given a win would move either close to a shot at world titles currently held by fellow Britons Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury.

Joyce, who has 11 wins - 10 via knockout - said: "The bookies have Daniel in a very good position, it looks like he is going to wipe the floor with me. He has that pressure on him on the night whereas I am the underdog coming to take him out.

"There are no questions of my ability and achievements whereas Dubois hasn't done anything in the senior amateurs and hasn't done anything quite yet in the pros. I am in a place where I am ready to go for that world title."