Don King will once again take the lead in the next fight involving his unbeaten heavyweight.
The Hall of Fame promoter’s Don King Productions (DKP) company has secured the rights to the secondary WBA heavyweight title fight between unbeaten titlist Trevor Bryan and top-rated contender Daniel Dubois. King, Bryan’s promoter, came up big with a winning offer of $3,116,001 to outpace Queensberry Promotions—Dubois’ promoter—who bid $2,503,000 during Monday’s purse bid hearing.
Bryan (22-0, 15KOs) is entitled to 55% ($1,713,800.55) of the bid as the defending titlist, with the remaining 45% ($1,402,200.45) going to Dubois as his mandatory challenger and former interim titlist. The fight is required to take place no later than July 28—180 days from the time of Bryan’s granted voluntary title defense versus Jonathan Guidry, which Bryan won by unanimous decision this past January 29 in Warren, Ohio.
DKP is required to submit a 10% deposit ($311,600.10) by no later than end of business Tuesday to validate the terms of the purse bid hearing and avoid a default.
Bryan—an unbeaten 32-year-old heavyweight from upstate New York who now lives and trains in Fort Lauderdale, Florida—won the belt last January in an eleventh-round knockout of faded, former WBC heavyweight titlist Bermane Stiverne. The fight was pieced together during fight week, with Stiverne a late replacement for Manuel Charr who was stripped of his title due to being unable to travel to the U.S. following an issue in securing a travel visa.
Bryan-Charr was secured by DKP after submitting a whopping $2,000,000 offer during a March 2020 purse bid hearing. The legendary promoter was in jeopardy of defaulting on the bid, only to benefit from a loophole due to Charr’s inability to make it stateside. A dispute over who was at fault—King or Charr’s team—currently serves as the subject of an active multimillion dollar lawsuit filed by Charr’s legal team last August.
The two were due to meet this past January 29—one year to the day of their scheduled 2021 fight. The same issue forced Charr off the show, this time with enough notice to Guidry as a replacement opponent.
Dubois (17-1, 16KOs) was the number-one contender in waiting, ready to have his mandatory challenger status enforced. The 24-year-old Londoner was assigned the ranking last August as one of several WBA interim titlists who saw their belts removed from circulation. The development took place just days prior to his U.S. debut, a first-round knockout of Jose Cusumano in his most recent start last August 29 in Cleveland, Ohio.
The fight was Dubois’ second win following his lone career defeat, a tenth-round knockout to Joe Joyce. Dubois led on two of the three scorecards after nine rounds but was counted out after taking a knee due to excruciating pain from what was learned to be a fractured left eye socket which required surgery.
The Bryan-Dubois winner will hold a secondary version of the WBA “Super” heavyweight title currently in the possession of Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk (19-0, 13KOs), who also owns the IBF/WBO/IBO belts. Usyk remains contractually bound to a rematch with former two-time heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua (24-2, 22KOs), though the plans were previously on hold due to Usyk having to bear arms during the ongoing Russo-Ukraine war.
The WBA is up next in the mandatory challenger rotation. The only disruption would be if the winner of Usyk-Joshua II is granted permission to enter an undisputed heavyweight championship with the winner of the lineal/WBC title fight between Tyson Fury (31-0-1, 22KOs) and Dillian Whyte (28-2, 19KOs).
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox