JOSHUA ALLOWS WHYTE TO WALK SECOND IN GRUDGE MATCH

AJ will wait in the ring for Brixton rival ahead of Heavyweight title clash

Anthony Joshua MBE gave away the chance to potentially walk second to Dillian Whyte in their British and Commonwealth Heavyweight title clash at The O2 in London on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

With the British title vacant, part of the negotiations were around who would walk first and Hall of Fame MC Michael Buffer was set to perform a coin-toss to decide the honour after a heated press conference today.

But as Buffer was could flip the coin, Joshua interrupted him and addressed Whyte, saying: “I don’t need to toss a coin, if you want to walk second it doesn’t matter to me, it’s irrelevant, whatever he wants to do, I don’t care” – meaning Joshua will walk first but be announced second in the bout.

Joshua’s gesture followed the tense final press conference between the unbeaten rivals that lasted almost 30 minutes, as the pair fired back at each other over their amateur battle, personal attacks and pre-fight predictions.

“He always wants to bring up the past,” said Joshua. “I’d rather focus on how I’ve found boxing and it’s turned me around.

“It’s not arrogant to say this will be another win inside three or four rounds – that’s how I handle my business. I do train for 12 round fights, and you can see that on my social media – maybe it’s that training that lets me finish fights early.”

“His team or sports psychologist must have said something to him today like: ‘Anthony, come out of your shell and be more forceful, make this man believe you are not scared of him’,” said Whyte. “It made for a great press conference.

“It’s always important to be calm and I am. I’m always relaxed and ready, the people around me make sure that I am not getting carried away. The win in the amateurs doesn’t make me believe I can beat him, it’s my heart and my courage that makes me know that I am going to beat him.”

Joshua’s clash with Whyte tops a massive night of action, with Chris Eubank Jr and Spike O’Sullivan meeting in a final eliminator for the WBA World Middleweight title.

Kevin Mitchell meets Ismael Barroso for the WBA Interim Lightweight title with the winner facing newly crowned WBA supremo Anthony Crolla, Tony Bellew faces Mateusz Masternak for the vacant European Cruiserweight title, Joshua’s fellow Olympic gold medal hero Luke Campbell MBE defends his WBC International Lightweight title against Yvan Mendy, Paulie Malignaggi challenges Antonio Moscatiello for the EU Welterweight title and Heavyweight star Dereck Chisora also features.