Dillian was the perfect fight at this stage… I knew I had the strength to knock him out. – ANTHONY JOSHUA
LONDON — Anthony Joshua overcame his first test as a pro by withstanding an early scare to stop rival Dillian Whyte at the O2 Arena.
Joshua started fast and hurt Whyte with a left hook. Joshua dominated the first but ignited a brawl by hitting Whyte after the bell, causing security to fill the ring after Whyte retaliated. In the second, Whyte delivered a receipt by wobbling Joshua and hurting him with body shots. The punishment had Johsua breathing heavily through the third round.
Joshua regained momentum in the fourth by getting off first with his offense. Whyte remained competitive, but couldn’t find the consistent range from his earlier body assault nor his jab to get inside. By the end of the fifth, Whyte was fatigued.
Joshau controlled most of the sixth and handled a late rally from Whyte. In the seventh, Whyte was staggered by a right hand and dropped viciously by a right uppercut. The referee stopped the contest without a count.
The grudge match win for Joshua avenges an amateur loss to Whyte and improves his record to 15-0 (15 KOs). It is also the first time Joshua has gone beyond three rounds. Whyte falls to 16-1 (13 KOs). This was his first fight beyond four rounds.
Great win for Joshua. He overcame a shaky second round and some stamina issues to settle down and take over the bout. There is a lot of work ahead before we see him in with the heavyweight elite. Guys like Tyson Fury, and even David Haye (who was ringside and stated his desire to face Joshua in 2016), should not be on the agenda for the next 12-18 months. Joshua was way too robotic in there at times, abandoned his jab for stretches, and lacked competent head movement. If he hopes to become a champion, those are glaring issues that need addressing.