By Keith Idec
Five weeks after his biggest potential payday went away, Dillian Whyte won’t publicly lament his decision to pass on a rematch against Anthony Joshua.
Whyte could’ve fought Joshua again April 13 at Wembley Stadium in London. The heavyweight contender passed, however, on what he considered an insufficient offer from promoter Eddie Hearn.
England’s Joshua instead opted to make his U.S. debut June 1. Andy Ruiz Jr., a replacement for original opponent Jarrell Miller, dropped Joshua four times and stopped him in the seventh round to take the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBO titles at Madison Square Garden.
London’s Whyte will box Colombia’s Oscar Rivas (26-0, 18 KOs) on July 20 at O2 Arena in London. It’s a much lower-profile fight than the Joshua rematch, for considerably less money, but Whyte isn’t remorseful, at least publicly, about his decision.
“Why would I be regretful to take the fight, just because he lost?,” Whyte told Sky Sports on Wednesday. “Listen, he’s a fellow competitor. He’s a British fighter, so any British fighter in my book that fights against anyone in the world, I will support them, even if I don’t like them. I don’t regret it. I was sad to see him lose, because him losing changed the game. I wanted to fight him and beat him for the first time as a pro, as he beat me for the first time.”
Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs) remains the only opponent to defeat Whyte (25-1, 18 KOs). The 31-year-old Whyte was stopped by Joshua in the seventh round of their December 2015 bout at O2 Arena, a few months before Joshua knocked out American Charles Martin in the second round to win his first heavyweight title.
Now that Joshua has been beaten and is contractually committed to an immediate rematch with Ruiz, Whyte hopes the WBC will mandate what he feels is a long overdue shot at WBC champ Deontay Wilder (41-0-1, 40 KOs). Meanwhile, Whyte doesn’t understand why Wilder took such satisfaction from Joshua losing, when it cost the Alabama-based knockout artist much more money than it cost Whyte for what was supposed to be a mega-fight with the former champion.
“Deontay Wilder was laughing,” Whyte said. “He’s stupid, because that’s the big-money fight for him. Where else is he gonna get $100 million? He’ll probably have another 50 fights and not even make nowhere close to that.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.