Despite Eddie Hearn’s waffling, it looks as though Anthony Joshua will, in fact, see action ahead of this winter’s planned superfight with Deontay Wilder. Sky Sports revealed yesterday that Dillian Whyte had signed and returned a contract to rematch “AJ” on August 12th at the O2.
Whyte (29-3, 19 KO) previously rejected a contract that included a one-sided rematch clause, which Joshua (25-3, 22 KO) ultimately removed.
Mike Coppinger later confirmed the news, though he noted an “alternative undisclosed opponent” had also agreed to the matchup. The choice of opponent “should be confirmed in the next 48 hours.”
The pair are technically 1-1 in their rivalry; Whyte beat Joshua by decision in a 2009 amateur bout, dropping him along the way, but got bashed into submission in a 2015 pro match. Both also find themselves in eerily similar circumstances, having each won a decision over Jermaine Franklin to bounce back from defeat in title bouts.
I don’t hate this, honestly, even if Whyte did beef it abominably against Tyson Fury. It’s got some genuine animosity behind it, Joshua clearly still needs time to acclimate to Virgil Hunter, and if the Wilder fight comes together in December, it’ll be the first time since 2016 that Joshua fights three times in a calendar year.