Dillian Whyte: Joshua-Ruiz Jr rematch could open door for IBF world title shot for me

BY RICHARD CAWLEY
richard@slpmedia.co.uk

Dillian Whyte reckons that Anthony Joshua’s shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr on Saturday night could open the door for a world heavyweight title shot.

Joshua suffered one of the biggest boxing upsets seen in decades as his Mexican opponent – a huge underdog – floored the British star four times on his way to a seventh-round stoppage win.

Joshua had an automatic rematch option built into what was a voluntary defence of his three world titles.

But Brixton’s Whyte says that would run the risk of breaking up the belts.

“If they have a rematch the IBF might end up stripping Andy Ruiz,” said the South Londoner, who is highly ranked by all the leading governing bodies. “The IBF might go vacant – that’s something I’ll be looking to target.

Anthony Joshua (left) spits his gum shield onto the floor as referee Mike Griffin starts a count during the match against Andy Ruiz Je at Madison Square Garden, New York.

“There are rematch clauses there but the IBF is very strict – that’s how Anthony Joshua became champion. Tyson Fury didn’t fight his mandatory [challenger] Vyacheslav Glazkov. Charles Martin beat Glazkov and Joshua overpaid Charles Martin because he knew it was an easy way to win the belt.

“If they strip him then put me in with [Kubrat] Pulev for the vacant belt – I bash Pulev up for the vacant belt. I’ll smash Pulev to bits.”

Whyte’s one loss came against Joshua in December 2015. He would have been facing the Watford man if he had been able to agree terms for a rematch.

Instead Joshua was matched with Jarrell Miller, the American’s failed drugs test seeing Ruiz Jr come in as a relatively late replacement.

Asked if he thought Joshua’s loss had damaged the value of a second bout against the South Londoner, Whyte said: “No. He is still Olympic champion and probably the highest-paid heavyweight in boxing. He is a bigger drawer than Andy Ruiz and probably still more than [Deontay] Wilder.”

But Whyte was scathing of Joshua’s display in New York at the weekend.

“I think he quit,” Whyte told his YouTube channel. “Look at Evander Holyfield – he was a warrior. Even Mike [Tyson] when he got dropped by Buster Douglas. He [Joshua] just didn’t seem to want to be there.

“When he got hurt he didn’t seem to know how to hold or survive. He didn’t seem to want to be there. Maybe he couldn’t deal with the pressure anymore. He seemed like he was there to collect the money. He got paid – but he left without the keys.”

Whyte faces Oscar Rivas at Greenwich’s 02 Arena on July 20.

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