While new IBF heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua is still enjoying the plaudit’s his 2nd-round stoppage win over Charles Martin earned him on Saturday night, A.J’s critics remain. We’ve all read what heavyweight ruler Tyson Fury had to say about Joshua, both before and after his IBF title win; and former Joshua foe Dillian Whyte was also less than impressed by Joshua’s quick win.
Or, more accurately, Whyte was hugely unimpressed by the performance Martin gave inside a sold-out O2 Arena three days ago. Whyte, who craves a rematch with Joshua – having pushed the unbeaten star hard back in December – told Sky Sports he thought defending champion Martin was c**p and that he “sold his belt to Joshua.”
“Martin was terrible. I couldn’t believe how terrible he was,” Whyte said. “He knew he was coming here to give his belt away so he just went to the highest bidder. Fair play to him though – he got paid for losing his belt. It’s rubbish that Joshua is punching harder; Martin is just c**p. Martin never had the desire and will to win. I had the desire and will to win even though I was injured in the second round [in the Joshua fight]. A lot of people underestimate me. I get in there and fight. I had a massive injury but showed up and gave the fans a fight they’ll remember for years.”
Indeed, Joshua TKO7 Whyte was a great action fight, one that was good enough to have received votes by some web sites as the British Fight of 2016. And in light of the fact that Whyte – who has had shoulder surgery and aims to return to action in June – is the only fighter to have hurt and tested Joshua thus far, a rematch makes sense. Whyte really did tag Joshua with a left hook to the head in their December slugfest, the blow leaving Joshua on rubbery legs for a time. But Joshua survived the gut-check and came roaring back to almost decapitate Whyte with a monstrous uppercut in the 7th.
If Whyte can improve on that showing, as he claims he can now that he’s injury free, maybe fans could be in store for another terrific battle. But will Whyte get first crack at Joshua’s new title? The talking date for Joshua’s first defence is July 9th, and Whyte says he needs to “ease his way back” into action after his surgery and that he will then go for a big fight at the end of the year. The return could feasibly happen in October or November time, but Joshua is absolutely swamped with options.
With monster paydays against the likes of Tyson Fury and David Haye out there for him, possibly this year, Joshua may not feel the need to hook up with Whyte a second time.