Anthony Joshua claims he would approach a rematch with Dillian Whyte in the exact same way after their titanic first encounter in 2015 and believes the man with the bigger heart will emerge victorious.
The pair have a long-running feud dating back to their amateur days, where Whyte claims Joshua still has scars from an amateur defeat he inflicted upon him back in 2009.
The fireworks continued in the ring in their December 2015 bout, with a punch thrown after the bell in the first round sparking a melee that saw both corners pile into the ring to separate the two.
Joshua eventually stopped Whyte with a devastating KO in the seventh round, going on to win his first world title in his very next fight against Charles Martin.
Whyte, 31, was the front runner to fight Joshua at Wembley last April before talks broke down and AJ decided to make his debut in America instead.
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Joshua puts his IBF, WBA and WBO titles on the line against Andy Ruiz Jr in New York on June 1, but another all-London showdown with Whyte remains a distinct possibility over three years on from their war at the O2 Arena.
AJ spoke to JD Sports earlier this week and was questioned on how he would go about beating an improved Whyte should they touch gloves in the near future.
“Same way. It’s all about who’s got the bigger heart,” said Joshua, per The Metro.
“The first fight was hard, that was an emotional fight. It wasn’t even about boxing. We spoke reckless, it was a fight for London — South and North.
“I’d been knocking everyone out, so you assumed boom, and Dillian would be on the floor. Some fighters come with a different kettle of fish.
“They’ve got a bit of heart. With Dillian, you could see me talking to him: ‘Let’s fight!’ I didn’t realise I was blowing out all my energy.”
“You’ve got to respect him. He’s consistent. The thing I like about Dillian is you don’t really see him out clubbing our partying.”
Whyte, who is ranked at No. 1 by the WBC, is scheduled to face Oscar Rivas at the O2 on July 20. Eddie Hearn wants the winner to be mandated to fight Wilder for his WBC strap but President Mauricio Sulaiman has other plans and has ordered Whyte to face Tyson Fury in a final eliminator.
Joshua clearly has great respect for ‘The Body Snatcher’ and will need to be at his very best should the proposed rematch take place after Whyte’s significant improvement in the ring over the past few years.
The 31-year-old defeated former WBO champ Joseph Parker and British heavyweight Dereck Chisora on two separate occasions en route to a 9-0 record since his loss to AJ in 2015.