DANIEL DUBOIS faces the painful job of rebuilding both his eye socket and reputation after a host of British boxing stars accused him of quitting against Joe Joyce.
The hottest prospect in the game was out-jabbed over ten rounds by the 35-year-old 2016 Olympic silver medal winner, until his left orbital bone broke and he suffered nerve damage to the wound.
Specialists at the Moorfields eye hospital, where Dubois, 23, slept on Saturday night, will decide today whether he needs the same career-saving surgery that once kept Sheffield’s ex-world champ Kell Brook out for eight months.
But the psychological scars might be even harder to mend than the shattered skull section.
Fighting men like ringside pundits Carl Frampton and David Haye — as well as Chris Eubank Jr and Dillian Whyte — all accused him of bottling the first sticky situation of his now 15-1 career.
But promoter Frank Warren leaped to his defence and said: “He has a fractured orbital socket.
“The last punch he took caught a nerve and it shot through him. He could not focus and see and that was that. He would have had to be pulled out in the next round anyway. It is a horrible injury he got.”
Peacock Gym boss Martin Bowers did everything he could to rouse his charge after things took a turn for the worst in the middle rounds.
But even his best Winston Churchill impressions — in the same Church House Westminster building the WWII PM announced the sinking of Nazi battleship Bismarck — could stop him from drowning under siege.
Joyce is now ready for a civil war after warning heavyweight rivals Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua that only a world title will make up for his Olympic robbery.
The Juggernaut should have been launched into a mega-money pro career, like Audley Harrison and AJ, after the Rio Games but he got stuck with a controversial silver after France’s Tony Yoka won on a split decision.
But Saturday night’s emphatic win secured the 6ft 6in Putney giant with the iron chin the British, Commonwealth and European titles and a jump up the rankings.
The 12-0 KO artist with the penchant for painting and a fine art degree, insists he will not be satisfied until he has one of the four major belts currently shared by his fellow Brits and ex-sparring partners.
He said: “There’s only a small circle of elite heavyweight fighters and I believe I’m in that circle — or I’m on the outside edging in.
“If I win a world title next year I’m on my way in.
“There’s some great fights and I can’t wait to be mixing it with the best.
“This win makes up for the Olympics a little bit but the crown on the top will be a world title and to go down in history as a heavyweight champion.
“Then I can go on from there.
“Definitely winning the world title does the job for me — and securing my family’s future financially as well.”