Dillian Whyte has hit back at claims he turned down a fight with Anthony Joshua because he wasn’t happy with the purse on the table.
‘The Bodysnatcher’ was frontrunner to face the former unified champion, reigniting a 2015 rivalry that saw Joshua win by KO for the British title.
With August 12 booked at London’s O2 Arena, promoter Eddie Hearn this month confirmed that an official offer had been sent Whyte’s way. It’s no secret that Joshua has also been in negotiations to face Deontay Wilder later in the year.
Whyte told The Sun that the offer came in the form of ‘a very short email.’
“They’re talking rubbish. I haven’t turned down the fight. All I got, after Eddie talked publicly and often about making me an offer to fight AJ, was a very short email late in the evening on Friday 2 June.”
“I absolutely 100 per cent want to fight AJ and called Eddie to discuss the offer but couldn’t get hold of him. I messaged him too. I didn’t hear back from him so I sent him an email to confirm I wanted the fight.
“I didn’t turn down the offer or propose a counter-offer. All I did was ask normal questions on his three-line email so-called offer.”
Whyte said he responded to Hearn’s initial email with questions about choosing an arena rather than a stadium.
He says that, even before the email, he saw the promoter saying to the media that the offer wouldn’t be accepted. Whyte believes this was an exercise in boosting Joshua’s profile and gaining leverage in the Wilder talks.
The Brixton heavyweight then claims it was Hearn who abruptly ended talks.
“He didn’t respond to my email or get in touch but carried on talking about ‘negotiations’ that simply weren’t happening and still haven’t happened.
“There hasn’t been a single conversation with me, my lawyer or any of my team.
“I chased him with a follow-up email on June 13, to tell him that the offer didn’t feel real and that AJ obviously didn’t want the fight and was going to wait for his Saudi payday in December.
“I then did an interview with Sky on June 15 after which I got a short and weird response from Eddie saying that the numbers don’t work and that we should look at alternative options.”
Whyte summed up his position as it relates to the ‘AJ’ fight now.
“Let’s be very clear here, I told him I wanted the fight, I didn’t turn it down and I didn’t price myself out and in fact have not had a single discussion about it with Matchroom since the ‘offer’ and I didn’t make any demands.”
Hearn recently told Boxing Social he was speaking to four or five other heavyweights for the August 12 date.