By Scott Gilfoid: British/Commonwealth heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (15-0, 15 KOs) came close to being knocked out in the 2nd round of his grudge match fight against Dillian Whyte (16-1, 13 KOs) last December in London, UK.
If not for Whyte suffering a shoulder injury and gassing out, Joshua would have surely been beaten for the first time in his career. It was a stroke of luck that Whyte injured his shoulder and faded almost immediately, because those two things normally don’t’ occur in pairs in fights like they did last December.
Trainer Tony Sims believes that Joshua’s problems in the first two rounds against Whyte were a product of Joshua getting too carried with the moment. There was so much hype involved with the fight, and it led to Joshua fighting out of control in the first couple of rounds, Sims believes. There was a punch after the bell in the 1st round by Joshua, which led to Whyte attempting to retaliate with a shot of his own.
“It was hard to hear the bell,” Sims said to skysports.com in explaining why Joshua nailed Whyte after the bell in the 1st round. “It was…very loud in there. I don’t know if anyone heard it. There was one punch after the bell. Anthony got carried away with the build-up.”
You hate to see a trainer making excuses this far off from the fight. I’m sorry, but I heard the bell perfectly after the 1st round ended that night. It was as loud as can be, and you could see that Whyte wasn’t expecting to get nailed because he appeared to recognize that the round had ended.
I have no idea what Joshua was thinking when he continued to fight after the bell, but I do believe that he heard the bell and continued to fight anyway. I mean, it would have cheapened Joshua’s victory if he had clocked Whyte after the bell and it was scored as a knockout. Further, if Whyte was hurt from the shot and unable to recover for the 3rd round, then Joshua would have won the fight in that manner. Whatever the case, Whyte hurt his shoulder in the 2nd round, and that pretty much ended the fight anyway, because he wasn’t the same fighter after he hurt his left shoulder.
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyfjoshua) January 14, 2016
“There’d been a lot of talking behind the scenes,” Sims said. “He [Joshua] got carried away in the first round. I think he wanted to prove he’s not just a boxer but a fighter as well. He forgot his boxing in the first couple of rounds but when he got back to his corner, he got back to the boxing, back to the jab and when he went back to his boxing in that third round – from that round onwards, he walked away with the fight really.”
I don’t know if Sims has been paying attention to how Joshua has been fighting since he turned pro, but he’s been going out and just jumping on his opponents from the 1st round. He seems like he’s been trying to prove that he’s a fighter [slugger] rather than a boxer in every fight he’s had as a pro. Joshua’s fight against Whyte was no different than the other ones were.
Joshua went out and slugged from the get go, trying to obliterate Whyte in the 1st round. When it led to Joshua getting hurt in the 2nd round and starting to gas out, he went to boxing from the 3rd. However, Joshua’s jab was nothing special, and he would have had major problems if Whyte had been uninjured and able to pressure him like he did in the first two rounds. Joshua won basically because of Whyte’s injury.
It’s wasn’t because of Joshua suddenly becoming a disciplined fighter. He had a one-armed fighter in the ring with him after the 2nd. In 2012, we saw how Vitali Klitschko struggled to beat domestic level fighter Dereck Chisora after he injured his left shoulder in the 2nd. That became a very difficult fight for Vitali when he was forced to beat Chisora just with his right hand alone.
Joshua was gassing out after just two rounds. Joshua was very lucky that Whyte suffered an injury, because I think he would have ended up losing.