Who Will Be Joshua's Next Opponent? - Joshua vs Whyte 2
The highly anticipated Joshua vs Whyte third encounter, scheduled for August 12 at London’s O2 Arena, is no longer going ahead. Whyte emerged victorious in their first amateur clash in 2009, while Joshua managed to triumph in their 2015 rematch. However, an unfavorable outcome in Whyte’s Voluntary Anti-Doping Association (VADA) examination resulted in his disqualification from Joshua vs Whyte.
Nonetheless, if a replacement can be secured swiftly, Joshua’s fight will still take place, as indicated by various sources. Eddie Hearn, the promoter, is hesitant to cancel the entire event which, besides the Joshua-Whyte fight, also includes a match between unbeaten heavyweights Filip Hrgovic and Demsey McKean, alongside bouts featuring popular fighters like Johnny “Romford Bull” Fisher, Campbell Hatton, and Derek Chisora.
The simplest course of action for Hearn would be to slot in another heavyweight from the lineup – Hrgovic, McKean, Chisora, or Gerald Washington. However, selecting Chisora, who has suffered losses in four of his last five bouts, or the 41-year-old Washington, who has five defeats, could lead to a wave of refund demands.
Fan favorite for the replacement would likely be Hrgovic (15-0, 12 KOs), but Hearn’s desire for a Joshua victory and Hrgovic’s top rank by the IBF makes this unlikely. Australian contender, McKean (22-0, 14 KOs), though potentially easier for Joshua, would necessitate a substantial amount of compensation to Hrgovic for stepping aside from the main event, a situation Hearn has dealt with previously.
Otto Wallin has been quick to offer himself as an alternative as replacement for Whyte in Joshua vs Whyte bout. His collaboration with promoter Dmitriy Salita, who has previously worked with Hearn, makes this a feasible proposition. Wallin (25-1, 16 KOs), however, presents his own challenges. Like Oleksandr Usyk, who previously outclassed Joshua, Wallin is a southpaw and has a style that can make a victorious opponent appear subpar. Despite Fury’s decisive victory over Wallin, he didn’t appear in top form.
Other possible replacements include Agit Kabayal, Martin Bakole, and Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller. Michael Hunter’s name also joins the list of potential alternatives. By the time this news reaches many, Hearn will have likely either found a replacement or decided to cancel the entire event.
Whyte, predictably, has proclaimed his innocence. He insists he has not used any illicit substances during this training period or at any other time in his life. He requests patience while he proves his innocence and avoids a rush to judgement.
However, skeptics are quick to recall Whyte’s previous doping violations. He was suspended in 2012 following the detection of methylhexaneamine in his system. Furthermore, before his 2016 match against Oscar Rivas, he tested positive for the illegal substance nandrolone, but the British Boxing Board of Control permitted the match to proceed.