Eddie Hearn has praised Anthony Joshua for risking it all by agreeing to rematch Dillian Whyte.
AJ and Whyte, who have been rivals since their amateur days, first fought professionally for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles in December 2015.
Almost eight years after Joshua knocked out his nemesis in a wild main event at London’s O2 Arena, it has been announced they will face off again at the same venue on August 12, a fight you can listen to live on talkSPORT.
The fight is a massive risk for Joshua who has already agreed to face former WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder for an exorbitant amount of money in Saudi Arabia later this year.
According to his long-time promoter, he’s risking losing out on a £60 million payday which will no longer be on the table if he suffers an upset defeat against Whyte next month.
“This one is wild because AJ has got the Wilder fight locked in for December,” Hearn told talkSPORT.
“We had meetings last week with the Saudis. Obviously, that’s one of the biggest fights in boxing, and he wanted to fight in the interim.
“You know, he’s been working with Derrick James, he wanted to have that fight and he was insistent it was Dillian Whyte. I wasn’t over the moon because I know it’s dangerous.
“It’s a fight that is built off emotion, they don’t like each other. You saw what happened last time at the O2, it’s going to be an absolute firefight on August 12.
“That’s why it’s so dangerous. You’ve got that Deontay Wilder fight in December, he could’ve just waited and had an easy, gimme fight at the O2 – but he’s decided to roll the dice.”
The Matchroom Sports chairman says his most famous client understands exactly what is at stake when he rematches Whyte.
“No,” Hearn replied when he was asked if Joshua will still face Wilder even if he loses next month
“I don’t know how the Whyte fight goes, but we’ve been told categorically that the deal on the table is not the deal if he loses to Dillian Whyte,” Hearn added.
“They didn’t want him to fight Dillian Whyte. It was almost like, ‘Please, don’t fight Dillian Whyte. You don’t need to. We’ve got this fight in December. But AJ was like, ‘No. I want to fight.’
“If he wins on August 12, he’ll go into the Deontay Wilder fight with loads of momentum and again it’s just adding to that incredible CV.
“I think he should be praised for the fact he wants to give you a real fight instead of just a tick-over fight until he fights Deontay Wilder – this is very dangerous.”
Joshua vs Whyte on talkSPORT
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Anthony Joshua vs Dillian Whyte is live on talkSPORT – the home of boxing – on 12 August