Dillian Whyte wouldn’t swap places with Anthony Joshua despite waning patience – EXCLUSIVE

The Brixton boxer, who floored the floundering giant stood in front of him six years prior as an amateur, proceeds to unleash an erratic, unbalanced barrage of shots which fail to bring the same result.

Whyte went on to lose for the first time in his professional career that night, sending him on a crash course through the heavyweight division which has brought nine consecutive wins – but no world title shot.

In comparison, Joshua won the IBF world championship in his next fight and has not looked back, headlining sell-outs at Wembley and the Millennium Stadium in his rise to becoming the unified world champion.

So, if the Body Snatcher could rewind the clocks to that pivotal second round at the O2 Arena on Saturday 12 December, 2015, would he?

“You know, I dislocated my shoulder at that time,” he exclusively tells Express Sport. “It hurt a hell of a lot, so I wouldn’t exactly want to go back to there!

“I want to go back to a few years before that and train properly and get myself ready. He had a massive advantage being at the GB set-up [before that fight]. As a professional he shouldn’t have been training in the amateur set-up at the time. But it is what it is.

“On the night we turned up, he was in much better shape than me physically and mentally. I had a lot of injuries and wasn’t training properly and we traded off, I got injured in the second round. I could have stopped and said: ‘Yeah, I did alright but my shoulder is dislocated’.

“But I’m a warrior and I fought on and I got stopped. I got worn down, I was tired. At the point I got stopped I was so tired by then.”

I was honest with myself, listened to my team, and realised my punch power alone is not enough to beat elite guys

Dillian Whyte after his loss to Anthony Joshua

The stoppage Whyte suffered is among the most grabbing on Joshua’s catalogue of 21 knockouts, with his left arm dangling from second-bottom rope while 17st 9lb of timber shook the canvas.

Referee Howard Foster stopped the bout without much hesitation, pulling an exhausted Whyte’s mouthguard out while he laid helplessly.

“I wasn’t even hurt,” Whyte claims, “I was just so tired, when I got dropped I was just like: ‘I’m gonna relax here for a minute, man.’

“That’s what happens when you’re in terrible condition and you go up against someone in prime condition. But then I learnt, I was honest with myself, listened to my team, and realised that my punch power alone is not enough to beat elite guys.

“I’ve spent the last three years chasing that and I’m getting closer and closer. Now when it comes to fighting me he is worried because he sees I am closing the distance. All the tricks and methods that he has, I’m closing in on them.”

Whyte was offered the chance to avenge that loss at Wembley Stadium on today’s date but claims he turned down £4million for the bout because it was a derisory offered compared to the contracts other heavyweights were tabled, such as Tyson Fury, who he believes was offered £15m.

Instead, Whyte elected to pursue the WBC belt, occupied by Deontay Wilder. Whyte is ranked No 1 with the governing body but a peculiar contract situation involving him and Dominic Breazeale has led to the latter facing Wilder as the mandatory challenger.

It has left Whyte in limbo as he awaits an as yet unknown opponent on July 13 at O2 Arena, which is slated to be Sky Sports’ second pay-per-view card of the year. It will be the third consecutive fight in which the 30-year-old has headlined a box-office card under the Matchroom Boxing stable, of which Eddie Hearn is the chief promoter.

Joshua is under the same roof as Whyte which put Hearn in a pickle during negotiations for the forgotten Wembley date. Whyte began flirting with other networks and promotional companies amid the talks, but is mature about the situation from his promoter’s perspective.

“We have a good relationship but he’s in a tricky position because he’s got the champion, the number one fighter,” Whyte accepts.

“It’s difficult trying to negotiate well for the both of us, it’s hard finding that middle ground. It’s a business. I don’t take these things personally. We come up with a way, we find a way.

“When one door closes, we find another. We didn’t get the April fight with Joshua but I’m fighting July 13, so we’re still working together and the relationship is still good.”

When asked whether he turned down the Joshua offer because of how much his adversary would be earning, Whyte replies: “I don’t really care about what the other person’s earning, as long as me and my team get what we believe I am worth.

“There’s always someone that’s making something somewhere, there’s always a bit of fat on the table. As long as I get what I deserve, that’s all that matters to me.

“Everyone’s interested in money. It’s a game. Who’s going to get punched in the head for glory and not money?”

Improving with every fight and growing in stature, Whyte is hoping that when Joshua comes around again, he’ll topple the giant – by left hook or by crook.

Watch BBC Radio 1 Newsbeat’s Dillian Whyte: Fighting to be Champ on BBC iPlayer

 

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