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Eddie Hearn says Dillian Whyte rematch “good choice” for Anthony Joshua’s next fight in July

Image: Eddie Hearn says Dillian Whyte rematch "good choice" for Anthony Joshua's next fight in July

By Jim Calfa: Eddie Hearn sounds like he’s leaning in the direction of choosing Dillian Whyte as Anthony Joshua’s next opponent for July after AJ snapped his two-fight losing streak against Jermaine Franklin in the ‘New Dawn’ card last Saturday night at the O2 Arena in London.

Hearn feels that Whyte (28-3, 19 KOs) would be a “great fight” for Joshua (25-3, 19 KOs) if the match against Tyson Fury isn’t available.

Whether the Fury vs. Joshua fight can happen in July depends on whether the Saudi money is available.

If the Saudis aren’t ready to do that fight until later this year, Joshua will need to fight someone else because the money he’ll make fighting Fury in the UK would pale in comparison to what he could get in the Middle East.

Some would see Hearn’s preference for Whyte as the option for Joshua in his next fight as an indication that he doesn’t want to take any chances of AJ getting beat and missing out on the huge money he can make fighting Fury.

Whyte is a step down from Franklin, particularly in the punch resistance department. Dillian seemingly can no longer take a punch at this stage of his career and is extremely vulnerable to uppercuts, which just happens to be Joshua’s bread & butter punch.

Hearn’s desire to match Joshua against Whyte is a big hint that he doesn’t believe AJ is capable of beating top-tier contenders like Joe Joyce or Deontay Wilder.

Whyte is no longer an upper-level heavyweight and perhaps never was even during the zenith of his career. He was just a bigger version of Dereck Chisora.

“Whyte is great fight” for Joshua says Hearn

“Relieved. I think it was solid, not spectacular. It was a good performance under Derrick James,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing about Anthony Joshua’s victory over Jermaine Franklin last Saturday night.

“The Dillian Whyte fight is a great fight, and I think Dillian would be up for that. I think it’s a good fight for AJ coming off the back of Franklin, but if the Fury fight is there, we’d love to discuss it as well.

“It took him time to get into the fight,” Hearn said of Joshua about his battle against Jermaine. “Franklin, I feel, went into a shell after six or seven rounds after he started to get hurt. Good chin.  It was a tough style for AJ.

“I would have liked to have seen him [Joshua] be more aggressive. He closed the fight quite well. Will be a little bit disappointed about his performance because he obviously wanted to get him out of there.

“He’s trying new things, learning new things. That was his third new trainer in three fights,” Hearn said of Joshua. “I’m sure the criticism will come, but I’m pleased that he can move forward with twelve rounds in the bank into a big fight in the summer.

“I think he’s frustrated. I don’t think he’s over the moon with his performance,  but at the same time, I think he’ll wake up tomorrow and be pleased that it’s a W in the last fight. He hasn’t won a fight since Kubrat Pulev. Was that November 2020?

“So there was a huge amount of pressure on him tonight. His career was on the line, and I think that was at the back of his mind as well that he mustn’t make mistakes tonight and that he must get the win,” Hearn said.

Joshua needs more time with Derrick James

“I think that’s part of the reason he moved to Texas because he gives too much time to people,” Hearn continued. “It drains his energy being in here [UK] because so many people know him. He wants to give people all his time out there. He gets the opportunity to just focus.

“He needs to get back there with Derrick James. They need to work more together. I think Derrick will be pleased with some parts of his performance, but like I said, third trainer in three fights. They’ve just had eight, ten, twelve weeks, or whatever it’s been. They need more time to improve, and there’s lots of improvement to come.

“I think AJ is going to raise his levels against better opposition and fighters that come to win. Franklin, I felt, went into his shell a little bit.

“There may be a limited time to make the Tyson Fury fight, and that might be now, going into that fight as the underdog after tonight particularly,” said Hearn.

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