Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte fight over referee (Getty)Anthony Joshua and Dillian Whyte fight over referee (Getty) © Copyright

What AJ learned from fighting Dillian Whyte

Ahead of his world title fight with Charles Martin, Anthony Joshua tells us what he learned from that epic fight with Dillian Whyte

The Dillian Whyte fight went on much longer than many expected…

I did say that it would…

And he was tougher than people anticipated…

And he got knocked out!

And that's all that matters. What did you learn from that fight?

I now know I can control the crowd. If I fight an emotional fight like that, the crowd will get emotional or get worried. If I fight how I normally would fight, it's a routine stop-off in the ring. In this fight, I just got to keep that mentality and not go in there and be reckless and try and take Charles Martin's soul. If I do that, I'm gonna go through hellfire. It's the tough way to beat someone. I can just go in there, pick him off and chop him down. Punch by punch I will catch him and I will knock him out. I think that's the easiest option for me.

I went through hell with Dillian, because I wanted to rip him apart and rip his soul out of him. I nearly did that, though… This is a sport, but at the same time it gets emotional. You've got two people trained to their very best physical condition and going head to head. With Martin I can take him to that place or I can make it an easy night. I would prefer to do that, to show that I can become world champion by outclassing him, not just by brute force and strength.

I think it made me and coach [Tony Simms] understand each other a little bit more. There were questions; "can he go the rounds", "can he take a punch", "what's he like in the deep end, fighting out of his comfort zone?" Coach knew these things could happen, and obviously is proud I won, but he definitely understands me a bit more now and knows what kind of character I am. Before it was one round routine stop-offs, but now we know we're confident of fights of this magnitude. If push comes to shove and it gets a bit hot in the ring, I've got that ability to weather the storm and get back to basics. You need that confidence going into world level, and we have it now and we're seeing those changes in the gym. We're ready for the storm or we're ready for the easy way to victory.

Anthony Joshua lands a punch on Dillian Whyte (Getty)


Was Dillian tougher than you anticipated?

Mate, he went from one side of the ring taking a battering to the other side of the ring before he got knocked out. I couldn’t believe it. He was strong to the head, but I don’t think he was strong to the body. When I hit him to the body a few times I think that started slowing him down. But I was hitting him to the head and he could take a lot, he went from one side of the ring to other before he got knocked down.

Did you know you had got him with that upper cut?

He caught me and he could have knocked me out then, when someone’s hurt you’ve got to take the opportunity. I caught him, he wasn’t completely gone on his feet, he was a bit wobbly, his legs stiffened up but he managed to compose himself, defend himself, and start throwing back, but I just didn’t let him off the hook. That’s why I think it’s important to finish off your opponents when you get the opportunity. Because, that fight could have gone 12 rounds and that could have been me getting caught again and getting knocked out.

Did he hurt you?

It’s weird, it doesn’t hurt, as such, you don’t really feel it. You just know you’ve been hit with a good shot, and you know that you’ve got to recover as soon as you can – you can’t do anything silly. You’ve just got to look at what’s coming at you and try to evade while you’re recovering. Have you ever played Mario, or one of these games where you get some kind of super saiyan power? [He chuckles] And you’re like boom, boom, boom [throws some quick punches]. That’s what happens to your opponent! They get some sort of super energy from nowhere, while you’re dazed and seeing stars. You have to be very careful because your opponent has this energy that can knock you out. But if you can whether the storm it’s very hard on your opponent, because they just gave it their all to knock you out and they weren’t successful.

Anthony Joshua slips a punch from Dillian Whyte (Getty)


Do you think you broke Dillian’s heart early when he couldn’t knock you out?

No, because I thought, and I know he thought, that it’d probably end up going to points. Because I went back to boxing, I didn’t go in with the mentality of “I’m gonna knock this guy out”. After round three, I just said, I’m gonna stick to my boxing because he’s strong to the head this guy. I can’t have that mentality of “if I hit him once or twice he’s going to go’.

Did you ever think he’s not going to go?

Round one... and round two. I was thinking, “this ain’t part of the script, Dillian is supposed to be KO’d by now”. It’s not part of the script, people going that far, I’ve never been that far before.

Anthony Joshua KOs Dillian Whyte (Getty)


Can you do anything in camp to prepare for someone with big power?

What, Just stand there with your hands tied behind your back and get punched in the jaw? Nah, you don’t want to do that [he lets out a big booming laugh]. Train your neck maybe? The fitter you are the more your body can take. You’ve just got to recover, you need to be in tip top condition. That’s the best way to deal with an onslaught.

That shows how fit Dillian was. When I hit him with that shot most people would have dropped, he went right the way around the ring! He was fit he can recover, he can take a lot.

How much of that was down to heart?

A lot. He wanted to win that fight. That’s why I like fighting Dillian. Every time we fight we bring the best out in each other.

Would you fight him again?

Yeah, definitely, I’ve said that. We bring out the best in each other so I’d definitely fight him again.

Have you spoken to him since?


Still best of enemies?

Something like that. I don’t even know what to call him.

Click here to see what Anthony Joshua had to say about his fight with Charles Martin

Anthony Joshua celebrates after beating Dillian Whyte ()



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