Dillian Whyte is not sure old rival Anthony Joshua has the same appetite for war after mentioning retirement and displaying a more calculated boxing approach in his last two bouts.

Whyte naturally hopes to face Joshua for a third time after beating him in the amateurs before losing in an exciting seven-round dogfight back in December 2015.

But last week unified heavyweight champion Joshua suggested that he was coming to the end of his career with a two-fight series against WBC king Tyson Fury looming in 2021.

Whyte, who is seeking revenge against Alexander Povetkin on March 6, is now wondering if Joshua possesses the same desire that took him to the pinnacle of the heavyweight division.

“Maybe he’s comfortable, maybe his drive and desire is going down,” Whyte (27-2, 18 KOs) told Sky Sports. “He seems to be fighting a lot more defensively than he used to do. Maybe he’s thinking, ‘You know what, I haven’t got long left, it’s a hard game’.

“When you achieve everything you’ve set out to achieve and you’ve got lots of money, sometimes you think, ‘You know what, let me just retire and go and do something else’.

“He doesn’t strike me as someone who loves fighting. He loves the business and he loves the opportunities. Obviously, he’s a good athlete and a good boxer, but he doesn’t strike me as someone who loves to fight. I love fighting. I enjoy fighting for the sake of fighting. That’s why I’ll fight anyone and I’m always ready to go.”

Whyte hopes to face Joshua one more time before the WBA Super, WBO and IBF heavyweight champion does eventually call it a day in the next few years.

“He definitely should do. Why shouldn’t he? Currently, it’s one all. I look forward to the third fight in the future. However, I can’t say what he wants and what he doesn’t want,” added Whyte.

Photos: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing