September 22, 2021, 14:06

Joshua vs Takam: Dillian Whyte will not be a distraction, Anthony Joshua insists

Joshua vs Takam: Dillian Whyte will not be a distraction, Anthony Joshua insists

Anthony Joshua has vowed not to be troubled by Dillian Whyte in the build-up to this weekend’s world title defence.

Joshua’s IBF and WBA ‘super’ heavyweight titles are on the line against Carlos Takam but his bitter rival, and former opponent, Whyte is a notable inclusion on the undercard against Robert Helenius.

Promoter Eddie Hearn insisted that Joshua and Whyte “will fight again” before promising that “when they are in the same room you will feel the tension”.

Asked if Whyte, who he beat in December 2015, might be a distraction Joshua told Sky Sports: “It’s good that he’s performing on the shows that I’m on. I’m not bitter. It gives him a chance to express himself to an American audience, to a bigger audience than just The O2.

“It builds up our grudge match once again. You know me – I’m not shy of a little scrap. Dillian brings that to the table.

“Dillian brings entertaining press conferences. Dillian is waiting patiently in the pipeline.

“I’m learning now that the people I’ve been around are future opponents. Before, it was the other way around.

“Takam has been at a couple of my shows and now I’m fighting him. I helped Wladimir Klitschko get ready for Pulev without any intention of fighting them, at the time.”

The latest chapter of AJ's story takes place in Cardiff

Joshua and Whyte showed initial interest in a short-notice rematch in Cardiff when Kubrat Pulev initially withdrew, before Takam was called up, according to Hearn but it was never realistic due to the champion’s obligations to the IBF.

“Joshua said ‘what about Dillian?’ And Dillian would have had it,” Hearn told Sky Sports. “But it’s not the right time, you’d like to let them both prepare.

“We’d lose the IBF belt [if Joshua fought Whyte]. The ranking goes Takam, Christian Hammer, Jarrell Miller, Whyte. The IBF belt would have been stripped so it defeats the object.”

Joshua reiterated: “[Whyte] is not in the mandatory position. It would have meant giving up the belt.”

AJ v Takam: Welsh Dragons

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Joshua, reflecting on those sparring rounds, insisted that he views every heavyweight as a possible future rival.

“Yes, for sure,” he said. “Everyone wants to give me their two pennies’ worth.”

Watch Anthony Joshua vs Carlos Takam, from the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, on October 28, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book via your Sky remote or online.

Watch AJ v Takam: Welsh Dragons on Tuesday, 10pm, Sky Sports Main Event & Action.

Johnny Nelson thinks the late change of opponent could 'spook' Joshua


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