Joshua vs. Whyte II - Fight Preview

BREAKING: On the 5th of August 2023 Matchroom posted an update stating the upcoming Joshua vs Whyte fight was cancelled. Click here for more information.

Joshua vs. Whyte II Preview – “He’s just another body in the way”

Two of the biggest heavyweights in British boxing history reignite their rivalry this month in Joshua vs. Whyte II and former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua says he’s looking for legacy rather than settling a personal score.

Anthony Joshua (25-3, 22 KO) and Dillian ‘The Body Snatcher’ Whyte (29-3, 19 KO) face off on August 12th in what is the third fight between the British heavyweight rivals. Both have one victory each, with Whyte’s victory coming in the amateurs as far back as 2009.

When asked about the upcoming Joshua vs. Whyte bout at the press conference, AJ distanced himself from the narrative around the long-standing rivalry between the pair, stating “Whyte is no longer a rival, I don’t see him that way. He’s just another body in the way.”

In reality, while Joshua might view Whyte as a stepping stone back towards title contention, it’s difficult to dismiss the tempestuous history between AJ and Whyte as a compelling factor in the fight.

Joshua vs. Whyte – Amateur history

A far cry from the glamour of the arena fights they have both gone on to be a part of; the birth of their rivalry began in February 2009 at the Boston Arms pub in Tufnell Park, North London.

A 19-year-old Joshua faced off against Whyte, 20, in a highly competitive bout, with The Body Snatcher claiming a decision victory after knocking down AJ for the first time in his career.

The knockdown footage would later surface in the build-up to their high-profile rematch. This first loss proved to be a huge wake-up call for Joshua, and one he credits as a catalyst to the success he would go on to achieve.

In the following years, Joshua would famously win Olympic Gold in 2012 before turning professional in 2013. Whyte, on the other hand, would finish his amateur career unbeaten before turning professional in 2011.

Both fighters went on an absolute tear after turning professional; Joshua winning his first 14 fights without getting out of round 3. Whyte won his first 16 fights equally impressively, with his opponents failing to take him beyond the fourth round. Both fighters had claimed WBC International titles and their headline showdown at the O2 Arena saw both undefeated records put on the line in a match-up dubbed ‘Bad Intentions’.

Bad Intentions – Joshua vs. Whyte the rematch

The Joshua vs. Whyte rematch took place in December 2015 in what was a pivotal time for British heavyweight boxing. Just weeks before, Tyson Fury had upset the odds by beating Wladimir Klitschko in Germany to become undisputed heavyweight champion, and an arena headline between two undefeated British heavyweight prospects shortly after had put a huge spotlight on British heavyweight boxing.

The fight was for the British heavyweight title which had recently been vacated by Fury, and the heated build-up between AJ and Whyte would eventually spill over into some ugly scenes befitting the name in what was an enthralling night at the O2.

Joshua started the fight aggressively and won a scrappy first round, landing a combination just before the bell. Rather than head for his corner, Whyte lost his composure and started swinging haymakers at AJ around the referee, causing a melee as entourages jumped into the ring to calm it down.

Once the drama had been cooled, Whyte took the ascendancy in the second, landing a huge shot that visibly wobbled Joshua, but failed to capitalise and started to see the fight slipping out of his hands from then on.

AJ regained composure and started to quietly dominate a scrappy but competitive fight before turning the screw in the seventh round. He landed a right hand to the temple which put Whyte in trouble and closed out the night in spectacular fashion with a thunderous uppercut to become British champion.

The Joshua vs. Whyte fight is over, but the rivalry continues…

In his next fight, Joshua became world champion after defeating Charles Martin at the O2 Arena in April 2016 to become IBF heavyweight champion and rapidly became the forefront of British heavyweight boxing.

Within a year, he was unified champion after knocking out Wladimir Klitschko in one of the biggest knockouts in heavyweight history to claim the WBA and IBO titles.

By contrast, Whyte would have to wait seven, frustrating years to get a chance at a world title, which he ultimately lost to Tyson Fury. In that time, Joshua had clocked up 12 championship fights.

Throughout these years, with both fighters were signed to the same stable in Matchroom and there was always a feeling that Whyte was operating in the shadow of Joshua; seemingly becoming a perennial mandatory challenger without ever quite getting the fights he felt he deserved.

As a result, this scenario has contributed to its fair share of bad blood between the two over the years in interviews.

More recently, both fighters have had to overcome significant adversity and demonstrate the grit and determination to rebound, but still ultimately find themselves on different paths.

Joshua’s surprise loss to Andy Ruiz in 2019 began what was the most challenging time of his career. He ultimately avenged the loss, but went on to suffer back-to-back losses to Oleksandr Usyk, losing his WBA (Super), IBF, WBO, IBO, and vacant The Ring heavyweight titles in the process.

After clocking up 11 consecutive wins on the bounce since his loss to AJ, Whyte suffered an upset knockout loss to Alexander Povetkin, which he avenged shortly after before losing his long-awaited title opportunity against Fury in April 2022.

Both fighters bounced back from their most recent defeats with a victory over the same opponent, Jermaine Franklin.

What happens for both fighters with a win?

There is plenty to fight for on both sides in the upcoming Joshua vs. Whyte II event.

With a win over Whyte, Joshua looks set to take on former WBC champion Deontay Wilder in a blockbuster fight in Saudi Arabia in late 2023.

A victory for Whyte would likely derail that fight and result in a rematch with AJ in a trilogy fight for their professional clashes.

Joshua vs. Whyte II – Fight details

The fight will take place at the O2 Arena in London on Saturday, August 12th and will be screened live on DAZN PPV.