History of Violence – Anthony Joshua vs Dillian Whyte 2 fight breakdown
“AJ” and “The Body Snatcher” all set to complete their trilogy
On August 12, 2023, heavyweights Anthony Joshua (25-3, 22KO) and Dillian Whyte (29-3, 19KO) get set to meet again, 14 years on from the birth of their infamous rivalry.
Back in 2009, Dillian Whyte defeated Anthony Joshua on his amateur debut, of which the footage from that fight went viral and kickstarted the fierce competition between them. It was the catalyst for the making of their 2015 rematch, which was titled ‘Bad Intentions’.
AJ was able to even the score in that return bout, making it one a piece – an amateur win to Whyte and a pro victory for AJ.
Now the stage is set for number three… the brawl to settle it all!
In February 2009, a 19-year-old Anthony Joshua was paired with 20-year-old Dillian Whyte in an amateur bout in the Boston Arms pub in Tufnell Park, London.
Unbeknown to the spectators there, this moment in history would be the spark to ignite one of the fiercest rivalries in British heavyweight boxing.
Although it was his amateur debut, the older man had come straight from a pro kickboxing career, where he already won British and European titles, and managed to knock down the teenage Joshua to win a competitive bout on a unanimous decision.
Joshua found the first ever defeat of his young boxing career very difficult to stomach but it was the loser of that bout that went on to fame and fortune, but things didn’t go as great for the victor.
First Whyte had complications with continuing his amateur career, so he turned pro and after just nine bouts he was forced to serve a two-year ban for ingesting an illegal substance unknowingly.
During his time on the sidelines, he watched ‘that kid he beat in the amateurs’ become Olympic champion and the new poster boy for boxing.
Still fighting at the Camden Centre, Whyte was watching Joshua perform live on Sky Sports at the O2 Arena and wanted some of that action, so immediately set about calling him out.
In December 2015, after a year of traded insults, a 16-0 Dillian Whyte got his wish for a rematch with 14-0 Anthony Joshua.
The emotions spilled over from the first bell. AJ was straight on the front foot throwing one-twos and forcing Whyte back to the ropes. The Brixton boxer was smashed from pillar to post as his legs wobbled from beneath him. AJ landed a left hook well after the bell and chaos ensued as Whyte angrily chased after him with referee Howard Foster trying to split the pair up before the corner teams rushed in.
Joshua continued to tee off, looking like it could be another routine quick finish, until Whyte landed a left hook to the chin and spectators saw something they had never seen before… AJ hurt. He desperately held on and finished the round very quietly.
He still looked buzzed in round three as Whyte took advantage while his rival’s head wasn’t completely clear.
In the fourth, they traded equally as Joshua began to find his form again. A big right hand generated a reaction from Whyte.
They both missed and landed in the fifth and sixth, looking a little fatigued by now, the earlier wild rounds taking their toll.
Then, in the seventh, AJ got through with a crunching right hand to Whyte’s temple, whose legs immediately turned to jelly from beneath him. AJ chased him around the ring until a right uppercut got through the middle of his guard to put him down and out.
With that dramatic victory, Joshua protected his unbeaten record, retained his Commonwealth and WBC International titles and claimed the vacant Lonsdale belt in what was the biggest British heavyweight title fight of the century.
Joshua 1 – 1 Whyte.
Joshua rose to fame after the 2012 Olympics as an explosive, devastating puncher, who managed to KO his first 14 foes within three rounds.
He became world champion in his very next fight after the Whyte win, then became a unified champion against Wladimir Klitschko in their epic 2017 encounter which see-sawed back and forth until a stunning 11th round knockout send the ageing Wlad into retirement.
A points win against WBO champion Joseph Parker was the first time he had heard the final bell, having to chase the Kiwi down for 12 rounds. That’s kind of when the momentum began to slow.
Since being knocked out by Andy Ruiz Jr. during his disastrous debut in America in 2019, he hasn’t looked like the same fighter since. No longer aggressive, unforgiving and fiery, the Watford man now tries to box methodically behind his jab and keep the distance on the outside, going on the back foot regularly in a more defensive style.
His footwork has improved, his boxing ability too, also his ring IQ, but he isn’t anywhere near as effective as he used to be.
These rivals will enter the ring having beaten the same shared opponent in their last outings.
AJ defeated Franklin with a calculated performance winning comfortably on points last April, whereas Whyte narrowly edged him on a mixed decision, in a fight where he was outlanded, in November 2022. The home advantage, plus the heavier blows, were just enough to secure the victory.
Whyte has only fought four times in three years and lost two of those. Both Alexander Povetkin and Tyson Fury stopped Dillian with an uppercut in the first half of their respective 12-rounds WBC championship fights.
Whyte gained revenge on Povetkin to even the score, winning via a stunning left hook knockout finish after dominating the fight, hurting a man who had knocked him out cold only months earlier.
Of his three defeats, to AJ, Povetkin, Fury, all have come via knockout in the mid-rounds – five, six and seven.
Joshua is the overwhelming favourite to win at 2/11 with Betway Sports and Dillian Whyte is the outsider at 4/1. Odds for a draw are 20/1.
Things to Consider
AJ was always a more well-rounded, better boxer than Whyte, throughout their entire careers. He proved this in person and on paper by defeating him in the ring and winning multiple world titles. Whyte was never able to become a world champion.
Whyte has more miles on the clock. At 36, he is three years older, has been a pro for 12 years – AJ has not reached the decade milestone yet (later this year in October) – has had four more bouts and endured 34 more rounds, which is almost equal to three 12-round fights, but most notably of all he has suffered three knockouts. AJ has been knocked down and stopped before, but he doesn’t have as much wear and tear as Whyte.
AJ’s only losses have come against good movers with outstanding pedigree – Ruiz and Usyk. Oleksandr Usyk is a pure boxer with extensive skills, winning 335 of 350 amateur bouts, collecting European, World and Olympic golds, then becoming a history-making undisputed cruiserweight champion and unified heavyweight champion. There’s no shame in taking two defeats to a man as skilled as Usyk. AJ’s first loss was a shock to many, but Ruiz is a very fluid fighter, despite his unchiselled frame, with blisteringly fast hands. The Mexican-American had a 105-5 amateur record and was unlucky not to become an Olympian. Both these fighters to hold a win over AJ were fluid, natural, experienced fighters with excellent muscle memory who weren’t sitting targets, like Whyte likely will be.
One thing I’m quite sure of, is that this fight won’t be anything like their first fight eight years ago.
The 2015 meeting was a frenzied firefight with both boys landing big blows. Joshua was vicious and bloodthirsty, starting fast and strong, then he got caught by a Dillian Whyte left hook special and had to spend a couple of rounds recovering, then he got back to business and blasted him away soon after.
This time they are both more experienced, acquired some new skills along their way, have changed trainers a couple of times, and have both been humbled with more than one defeat.
The landscape is vastly different for the rematch, or the trilogy decider, if you like.
I expect Joshua to box clever and patiently behind his longer reaching jab and to use that improved footwork to keep the distance between them. I believe his game plan will be spread out into stages, where he will start smartly, slightly cautiously, and try to control the fight behind his long-reaching jab to set the pace to his liking, taking control of the contest, then gradually introduce more weapons as the rounds progress; so he will increase the use of his right hand, step up the pressure and grow the combinations round by round.
Whyte could throw caution to the wind and go all-out because he knows from firsthand experience he has the power to hurt Joshua, but his performance against Franklin suggests he will also be a bit calmer than in their first fight together.
His left hook and uncomfortable pressure will be the keys to victory for Whyte, but AJ is going to be far harder to nail clean now that he isn’t opening up as much as he used to.
Whyte might find himself in the ring with a more intelligent rival than he remembers. AJ and Derrick James have had one learning fight together and this one could see even more improvements on display.
Verdict: Joshua to win on points or via late stoppage.