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”I don’t see Whyte as a rival’-Joshua

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Anthony Joshua does not consider Dillian Whyte a “rival” as the heavyweights prepare for their rematch on 12 August in London.

The Britons last fought each other in December 2015, in a bitterly-contested bout Joshua won via knockout.

Joshua, 33, looked to calm what has often been a bitter rivalry with Whyte at a news conference on Monday.

“I don’t really look at Dillian as a rival,” he said.

“Just another body. A lot of people hate on me. I don’t look on Dillian as a rival. I just watch myself.”

Whyte, 35, replied to say he had “no hate” for Joshua in what was all in all a friendly encounter in front of the media before the rematch.

It was a far cry from the build-up to their first professional fight, where tensions ran high as Joshua chased revenge after defeat by Whyte in the amateurs six years previously.

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The fighters were separated by their teams after a late blow from Whyte during that fight, with Joshua taunting his rival throughout as he eventually took control of a ferocious encounter.

But there were no such fireworks at the Hilton Syon Park Hotel in London as both men flew in from training camps in America.

The only minor flashpoint was when Whyte took a shot at promoter Eddie Hearn for his tactics during talks, which were made all the more complicated by the fact Joshua intends to fight American Deontay Wilder in December in Saudi Arabia.

Joshua dismissed the prospect of fighting former WBC champion Wilder, despite Hearn suggesting the deal will be agreed should he win.

The former unified champion said he was not prepared to wait for Wilder or any other heavyweight.

“Forget Wilder, them lot have been doing my head in for so many years. Even with [Tyson] Fury,” he said.

“I don’t waste my time waiting for people. Dillian is a solid, credible opponent.”

BBC Sports

Written by: Debby Eselebor

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