Mention heavyweight hero Anthony Joshua to Chris Okoh and he will tell you he’s got a fighter who’s beaten him once – and will beat him again.
Okoh reckons that had it not been for red tape, Dillian Whyte would currently be the most talked-about heavyweight prospect on the planet, rather than Joshua.
Whyte handed Joshua his first defeat in the amateur ring – and long term, he wants the chance to do it again after boxing bosses last week gave the 26 year-old from Brixton the all clear to carry on fighting.
Whyte has served a two-year suspension from boxing for taking a banned substance.
Okoh says Whyte was only guilty of being “totally naive” and describes the punishment as “very harsh.”
The ex-Commonwealth cruiserweight champion reports Whyte has stayed in the gym throughout his suspension – and he’s back in the ring this month.
Whyte will be matched over six rounds at the Camden Centre on Friday, November 21 and Okoh says he’s steering his fighter towards a rematch with Joshua.
Whyte outpointed Joshua on a club show and according to Okoh, they were set to box again “but we had trouble with the ABA because of Dillian’s kickboxing experience.
“They took his card off him and because of that, we had to turn Dillian pro a bit prematurely.
“Dillian’s misfortune was Joshua’s fortune.
“At the time they were the best two super-heavyweights in England and what happened to Dillian left the path clear for Joshua.
“I’ve heard and read all the praise for Joshua.
“Everyone says he’s the next heavyweight sensation, but of the two of them, Dillian is the better, more talented fighter.
“I don’t care what anyone says. I’ve known them for a long time and I know what they can do and what they can’t do.
“Joshua has done his country proud, but Dillian is the better fighter.
“Dillian has beaten him once and given time and the right fights, he will beat him again.
“Ultimately, that fight has to be the goal again.”
At the moment, Okoh says he wants to bring Whyte back “under the radar” on small-hall shows before stepping up.
He knows there’s ring rust that needs shedding.
Okoh said: “The last two years haven’t been easy for Dillian.
“It’s been hard for him to stay motivated, but he’s been in the gym regularly and I should know because I’m his trainer !
“He has been training hard, but there’s no substitute for competition and now we need him to start fighting regularly to get rid of the cobwebs.
“Dillian is still only 26 years old and that’s young for a heavyweight. It’s old for a bantamweight maybe, but Dillian still has time on his side. Look at David Price and Dereck Chisora. They are both in their thirties and have the biggest fights of their career in front of them.”
Tickets for the Mickey-Helliet promoted show at the Camden Centre are available from 07411-480880.