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Daniel Dubois suggests injury caused knockdowns against Kevin Lerena

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Daniel Dubois suggested that knee problems were at the root of at least one knockdown in his win over Kevin Lerena.

The 25-year-old defended his WBA regular belt for the first time in his career when he came up against South African Lerena, and the headline result did not betray the full story of the fight.

Dubois finished the bout in the third round with a bludgeoning attack on his opponent as he recovered his focus, but the fight could have been over in the first had the referee interpreted the first round differently.

Dubois was knocked down not once but three times, with his knee appearing to buckle after a blow to the head. It recalled the difficulty that Dubois faced his defeat to Joe Joyce in 2020, when he elected to take a knee when he could no longer cope against the British veteran.

Dubois was able to keep things calmer in the second round under the guidance of Shane McGuigan, and in the third he peaked, forcing referee Howard Foster to call off the fight after the bell had rung.

"It was amazing," Dubois said to BT Sport after the fight. "He caught me and I felt like my knee went. I have the heart of a warrior and listened to my team. I didn't feel it the shot [but it] must of hit me, s— happens.

"I was just saying get back to your boxing and calm it down. I listened to Shane and I had to recover and I came back out stronger.

"I felt a bit rusty and I felt like I wasn't even there at points."

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