Usyk vs AJ: Dillian Whyte urges Anthony Joshua to be ‘nasty’ against Oleksandr Usyk and targets all-British rematch

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Dillian Whyte has backed Anthony Joshua to reclaim his world heavyweight titles against Oleksandr Usyk this Saturday, but insists his old rival must rediscover the nasty streak that inspired his initial rise to the pinnacle of boxing.  

Calls for an aggressive, imposing AJ have been a familiar theme throughout the build-up to the fight, with Usyk braced for a contrasting challenge to a first meeting in which Joshua’s efforts to outbox the Ukrainian fell short.

More specifically, the Olympic gold medallist has been urged to rediscover the grit and front-foot assurance he displayed against Whyte in their brutal 2015 grudge match.

“It’s a massive fight, the biggest fight of his career,” Whyte told Sky Sports. “I do expect him to bounce back, he’s a British fighter like me and I only support our own, so I do hope he gets the job done.

“It’s good for me if he wins as well.

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Whyte says Joshua will be feeling ‘nervous and cautious’ ahead of Saturday’s rematch against Usyk, live on Sky Sports Box Office

“I can understand that [rediscovering his aggressive side], because I’m of the same mindset as well. In my last fight [against Tyson Fury] I wasn’t as aggressive as I normally am, I’ve said the same thing to myself, I need to rediscover that aggression.

“I think it’s the right mindset he needs going into the fight, it’s the only way he wins the fight.”

Whyte played down the potential influence of a new coach in Robert Garcia, and reminded that it will all come down to Joshua on the night.

“I honestly don’t think that will make much of a difference,” Whyte said. “He’s the one that needs to make the decision, be dirty and be nasty.”

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Former cruiserweight world champion Johnny Nelson believes Joshua may retire from boxing if he loses to Usyk again

Joshua is no stranger to avenging a setback, but where he employed a technical, patient approach on his way towards restoring his heavyweight crown against Andy Ruiz, there is a feeling he cannot afford to do the same against Usyk.

There are, meanwhile, question marks over what kind of Usyk will be on display in light of him seemingly bulking up since the first fight.

“When we fought, we fought twice, both fights we had there was a lot of aggression between me and him in the fight, that’s the difference between fighting me and fighting Usyk, that aggression wasn’t there,” added Whyte. “He was sort of trying to outbox someone who has been boxing for 25/30 years.

“I believe if he revisits that aggression he had for me he does a much better job and probably beats Usyk and knocks him out this time.

“Me and him are similar in a lot of ways, we come forward and throw a lot of punches, are aggressive and enforce ourselves on our opponents, I think they’ll be trying to get him back to that.”

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Joshua says he has the mindset that he will smash Usyk on Saturday night and feels he is not able to claim he is the best in the world without beating Tyson Fury

Whyte considers his own business with Joshua very much unfinished as he seeks to work his back to a title shot following his defeat to Tyson Fury earlier this year.

The 34-year-old is envisioning a return to the ring in a “big fight” in mid-to-late November, and is not short of targets.

“I want to fight both of them win, lose or draw. I want to fight the best fighters around,” said Whyte. “People want to see me fight Joshua, Usyk, Wilder, all these guys, and that’s what I want.

“We have a lot of offers on the table at the minute, I think this week and next week we should look at the offers and break them down. People are away on holiday so it needs time to sift through these things.

“There’s lots of fights there, there’s Joshua, Usyk, there’s Wilder, I’d love to fight Wilder, I’d love to have another go at Tyson Fury again.

“Joe Joyce-Joseph Parker is there, there’s Daniel Dubois, but my main focus is to get back at Anthony Joshua, I’d love to have another fight against him so let’s see. Hopefully he gets the job done against Usyk and I get another chance to fight him against.”

“I think he’ll be extremely nervous and extremely alert and cautious, which is not a bad thing because this changes everything for his life and career and history. He might also not be feeling pressure because now he’s not champion he’s going in as challenger so he might be feeling okay.” Whyte on whether AJ will be nervous ahead of Usyk rematch

Whyte on Fury: I’d be more aggressive in rematch

While Fury hovers in retirement purgatory, Whyte continues to make no secret of his desire to secure another shot at the WBC champion.

Whyte admitted he remains frustrated over the manner of his sixth-round knockout defeat having felt he was unjustly pushed to the canvas by Fury, although he is not in the business of making excuses.

“I got caught with a good shot, I was definitely dazed, he pushed me over and I fell over and tore a ligament in my ankle and it was just a mess and he was saying to the referee ‘stop the fight, stop the fight’,” he said.

“I’m not a moaner, I’m a worrier. The bell went after I got knocked down, they should have never stopped the fight, they should give you a chance to go to your corner and the medical examiner comes over to check you out and see if you can continue fighting or not, which is annoying.”

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David ‘KD’ Ghansa – who is part of AJ’s camp – reveals how the sparring sessions have been going ahead of the Usyk rematch

As expected with Joshua at the weekend, Whyte plans to do things differently should he and Fury cross paths again.

“Yeah I’d be a lot more aggressive,” he explained. “Sometimes in life you make the wrong decisions at the wrong time.

“I was trying to box and spent a lot of energy overthinking instead of being my usual raw aggression beastish, bullish self. That’s why I can understand Anthony Joshua’s mindset and approach to this fight.”

As for final predictions ahead of Saturday’s headline event, he is expecting the belts to come home.

“I backed AJ the first time and I’ll back him again.”

Listen to the latest Toe2Toe podcast from the heart of the Usyk vs Joshua fight week

Anthony Joshua’s huge heavyweight rematch against Oleksandr Usyk is on Saturday August 20, live on Sky Sports Box Office. Book Usyk vs Joshua 2 now!

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