DILLIAN WHYTE AND ANTHONY JOSHUA RIVALRY BREWING NICELY
By Steve Wellings
Unbeaten heavyweight Dillian Whyte is desperate for a fight with UK golden boy Anthony Joshua. The 26-year-old Brixton man beat Joshua as an amateur and reckons that he can repeat the trick in the pro game if the pair ever meet. Dillian is galled by some of Joshua’s recent comments and admitted that he doesn’t like the 2012 Olympic gold medalist.
“I want to fight him now, just to knock him out,” raged Whyte. “It’s not about a pay day or anything, it’s personal now. If they offered me to fight him for the British title tomorrow then I’d fight for free – that’s how much I want him. He says that there’s no beef but he doesn’t like me and I don’t like him, it’s as simple as that. I would like to get in the ring with him and settle it as professionals.
“I fought Anthony Joshua as an amateur and we were both raw. I beat him, he took it personally and got angry. He started calling me names, calling me a cheat and this and that. That pissed me off and I responded. Now he has stirred up a hornets nest and these hornets are ready to bite.”
2015 PLANS FOR ‘THE VILLAIN’
Speaking ahead of his recent bout on the Frampton-Avalos undercard Dillian revealed that even though it was his first time fighting in Belfast he had been over to train back in 2010. Cork manager Gary Hyde was managing Vladimir Chanturia at the time and called the Londoner over to help him out, resulting in two weeks of sparring. Fast forward to February 2015 and Whyte was back in Belfast to dispatch another Georgian, hapless Beka Lobjanidze, in four one-sided rounds. Whyte views 2015 as a year for stepping up in class as he closes in on Scotland’s Gary Cornish in a British title eliminator.
“This year for me is about stepping up. I’ve been around a while now and I was off for two years but I’m back fighting and I want to keep busy and climb the ranks. I don’t want to keep fighting journeymen and knocking them over. I want to test myself and see what I need to work on and go the rounds. I want to be active and get ring timing, experience and ring fitness. I’ve been training but I want to get experience by fighting. The more a lawyer stays in the courtroom, the better he gets at his job and I’m 26, I’ve got time and this is my educational stage, which I’m taking full advantage of.”
Even though Whyte’s time inside the ring has been limited, mainly due to a hotly-contested drugs ban that saw him sidelined for a whopping two years, he has been making up for lost time in high-quality training camps. Dillian has compiled an impressive sparring CV, helping some of the sport’s top heavyweights to prepare.
ELITE LEVEL SPARRING
“I never had a long amateur career so that’s how I’ve learned. I’ve sparred David Price, David Haye, Tyson Fury, Hughie Fury, both Klitschko brothers and that’s how I’ve learned my skills. Sparring needs to be current to be beneficial but you always learn from it and if I sparred Wladimir today and I was fighting next week then it would be very beneficial. I took something from each fighter and I’m impressed with one thing from each of them. With Wladimir it’s his discipline and desire, with David Haye his timing and reflexes, Tyson Fury has heart and desire and David Price can punch. I look at what they can do, how they run, how they warm-up, how they train and all that stuff because I’m still relatively new to boxing so watch the guys at the top of the game.
“Vitali’s awkward, he can punch and he’s a tough man who can trade with smaller fighters in the pocket. He’s a nice guy with no ego and he’ll have a hard spar with you and at the finish say ‘well done, I appreciate that’ and encourage you. He used to tell me to keep going, stay discipline and dedicated and then I can make it. He said I had a lot of talent but it’s still raw and with more experience I can go all the way. For him to say that to me at the time, I was 3-0 then, gave me a lot of inspiration. I used to watch this man on TV as a kid, fighting Lennox Lewis and Herbie Hide so for me that was a great boost.”
Of all his sparring experiences Whyte holds the Klitschkos in high regard for their rigid training schedules and ultimate professionalism.
“The Klitschkos are very professional. They have a programme and they stick to it regardless. Everything is on time, diligent and runs smoothly. Wladimir comes to the gym, does his shadow boxing and stretching and the spars. In the morning he gets everyone at the gym and he trains and wants everybody else to train. Watching the Klitschkos has given me something to aspire to. I want to run my camps similar to their camps.”
Now sporting a 14-0 slate with 11 opponents falling early, Dillian is hunting down arch rival Joshua but content with a British title shot while he waits for his nemesis to accept a rematch in the paid ranks.
“We [Whyte and eliminator rival Gary Cornish] have until March 11 for purse bids and then the end of June for the fight to happen. I hope he takes the fight. It will be a good fight because he’s a tall, strong guy and we can put on an excellent show.”
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