Dillian Whyte has urged Anthony Joshua to “come back stronger”, but admits his envy at not being the first fighter to inflict defeat upon his British rival.
Joshua suffered a shock seventh-round knockout loss defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in New York as his world title reign and unbeaten record was ended in dramatic fashion.
Whyte — who takes on Oscar Rivas at The O2 on July 20 — questions whether his longstanding foe was affected by the expectation surrounding his US debut and encourages ‘AJ’ to return a better fighter, so that a rematch can be staged in the future.
“I don’t think he overlooked Andy Ruiz Jr, if anything he was a bit too respectful,” ‘The Body Snatcher’ exclusively told Sky Sports.
“Ruiz Jr is such a nice guy and he was giving him his belts, taking photos with him, I didn’t understand it when you’re about to go to war with this man.
“The whole thing was a bit strange, including Joshua’s demeanour, and maybe he just didn’t want the pressure of being champion anymore. Sometimes people get stressed out and can’t cope with the stress of being under that microscope 24 hours.
“It’s good for British boxing if he comes back. We still have unsettled beef, if he loses 10 fights in a row, I still want to fight him again.
“Hopefully he does come back and comes back bigger, better and stronger, I’m a bit sad that Andy Ruiz Jr beat him instead of me but it is what it is.”
Whyte’s primary focus is on beating dangerous unbeaten Colombian Rivas next month and the Londoner’s team have pushed for the fight to become a WBC final eliminator with the WBC ‘Interim title’ at stake.
Deontay Wilder is the current WBC champion and, on the back of Joshua’s stunning defeat, Whyte says it proves that anyone can be beaten.
“Wilder hasn’t fought anybody and that’s why he hasn’t lost yet, the few good people he has fought almost beat him and knocked him out.
“He fought Tyson Fury and I believe Fury won that fight. He fought Luis Ortiz, who is good but old now, and almost got knocked out.
“Good fighters will get hurt and will get knocked down. I’ve been fighting good fighters and taking on all-comers.”