Dillian Whyte, who is in danger of becoming as good a talker as he is a fighter, has an interesting opinion on what can happen to a tall heavyweight who gets knocked out. Speaking with Sky Sports, the once-beaten contender says tall heavies who were once very aggressive, only to change their style after getting flattened, include Lennox Lewis, Wladimir Klitschko, and Anthony Joshua.
Whyte says Lewis was forced to change his style after being taken out by Hasim Rahman (Whyte didn’t mention the earlier KO defeat Lewis suffered at the hands of Oliver McCall), stating too that the once “most aggressive” Wladimir Klitschko did the same after suffering stoppage defeats at the hands of Ross Puritty, Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster. And Whyte insists Joshua will forever more be a less aggressive, more cautious fighter due to his shock June 2019 KO loss to Andy Ruiz.
“Tall heavyweights start their careers very aggressively, but then?” Whyte said.”Weve seen this before – Lennox Lewis was an aggressive fighter on the front foot but got knocked out by Hasim Rahman, then changed his style. People forget Wladimir Klitschko was one of the most aggressive heavyweights for a long time, but he got done by Ross Puritty, Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster then changed his style. Joshua will be the same.”
It’s an interesting notion, certainly one to think about, but all fighters are different, surely. Size alone does not determine how a fighter might come back from a KO loss. With Klitschko, his style change was one more conducive to not running out of gas, of punching himself out, which is what happened to him in the Puritty and Brewster fights. While Lewis was still aggressive enough to put Rahman’s lights out in their immediate rematch; and so as to be able to score a somewhat mpressive KO win over (a faded) Mike Tyson (although to be fair, Emanuel Steward did give Lewis a telling off in the corner for not doing his best to take the still dangerous Tyson out as soon as he could have done.)
As for Joshua, it remains to be seen if he will forever he a fighter less inclined to go for the stoppage, instead a fighter more keen to adopt safety-first methods in an effort to get the win. Only time will tell. Joshua was ultra-reluctant to make any mistakes in the rematch with Ruiz, but that was no big surprise. Who knows, we might see Joshua back destroying opponents here in 2020. And a return fight between Joshua and Whyte (AJ stopping his countryman in the 7th round of a great action fight back in Dec. 2015) would be very interesting to see. If Whyte does get this fight, one he so clearly wants, he will find out firsthand if Joshua has lost his aggressive tendencies or if he has not.
Meanwhile, Whyte continues his search for his first opponent of the new year; with Alexander Povetkin and maybe Andy Ruiz and Otto Wallin in the frame.