ANTHONY JOSHUA likened the early stages of his thrilling war with Dillian Whyte to “a street fight”, but refused to admit that he now respects his bitter rival after flattening him in the seventh round. The contest exploded from the midway point of the opening round with Whyte looking on the brink of being stopped only to survive, and they both exchanged punches in untidy scenes after the bell. Whyte wobbled Joshua in the second, before the favourite composed himself and regained control.
“I made it tough for myself and that’s what I need, I need the experience,” Joshua told Sky Sports’ Ed Robinson immediately after his exciting triumph. “He came out, he gave me rounds and I learnt a lot. Now I can look forward, I made some mistakes in there that I can’t take to the top level and that’s why Dillian was the perfect fight at this stage. There’s no rush. I’m going to keep on building and building and building until I make my mark in this division.”
“I had the strength to knock him out so I went for it when I saw him hurt in the first round but you’ve got to remember from [rounds] one to four they can soak it up and then I found my way and found my rhythm, listened to my corner man and as the rounds went on I started relaxing,” the 26-year-old continued. “Then I saw certain shots that I could throw. That’s why it’s good to have the 12-round fight so I can reflect on what I’m doing. I had the same power in the first round as I had in the eighth [seventh] so that’s why I was able to get him out of there.”