Daniel Dubois plumbed depths he didn’t expect to at this stage of his career following his defeat by Joe Joyce in November.
And there were times, the 23-year-old admits, when he wasn’t sure what the future might hold.
But after plenty of soul searching and two changes of trainer, after leaving Martin Bowers and then Mark Tibbs, he returns to the ring next week.
And with Shane McGuigan now in his corner, he hopes to deliver the sort of devastating knockout display against Romanian Bogdan Dinu that he regularly produced prior to his clash with Joyce and not so long ago had him being widely tipped to one day become a heavyweight champion of the world.
“I was at times in a dark place,” said Dubois. “They say it’s testing for your soul and it took me a while.
“After a defeat like that, you have to take time out and reflect on different things and some decisions have to be made — how you’re going to move forward, you can’t go back to how it was before — and that’s what I had to do.
“Now I’m with Shane he has just helped me get over it, really.
“He was actually training my sister, Caroline, for her Olympic journey and I saw some improvements he’d made in her and thought, ‘Yes, I want to work with this guy’.
“He’s just trying to improve me and make sure I improve on what I’ve got and make sure I use what I have correctly.
“He’s telling me it’s vital that I use my attributes — my strength, my speed — and all of those things that maybe I’ve not been picking up on or thinking that I have in me.
“He’s just bringing me back to life, really.”
McGuigan trained former world heavyweight champion David Haye in the latter stages of his career, and among others, has recently crowned WBO world cruiserweight champion Lawrence Okolie and two-time world lightweight challenger Luke Campbell in his stable.
“It’s great being in that sort of company and around that level of fighters — world champions, world title fighters, they are all competitive contenders,” added Dubois.
“There’s not many of them but they are quality, and I can’t tell you how good it feels being in that environment.
“I just want to become better.
“The defeat is definitely out of my system.
“It’s about just putting it down to experience and coming back stronger now that it has happened to me.
“It was against an experienced fighter, an Olympian, a silver medallist, so nothing bad I take from that, other than the loss.
“It wasn’t like I was going to get knocked out or on the end of a brutal beating.
“He picked me up on a few things and he won on a few little advantages, so they are the improvements I have to make.
“Now it’s all about getting ranked again and breaking a couple of hearts along the way.
“That’s all I want, to prove myself again and climb the ladder, and who knows what can happen next.”
Back Stronger: Dubois versus Dinu — Saturday, June 5, live on BT Sport 1 HD.
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