Anthony Joshua questioned Dillian Whyte's ruthless instinct after his crushing knockout loss to Alexander Povetkin but backed his British rival to repair his career.
The Brixton heavyweight's hopes of a shot at Tyson Fury's WBC belt were shattered by Povetkin, who brutally ended the fight with a huge uppercut in the fifth round at Fight Camp.
Joshua had stopped the Russian in their world title fight in 2018, and questioned why Whyte did not pursue a knockout himself after flooring Povetkin for the second time in the fourth round.
The unified champion told Sky Sports Box Office: "I asked [Sky Sports expert] Johnny (Nelson), 'Does Dillian still have that instinct in him?' Because the fight was called maximum violence.
"When he had the opportunity to take him out, I wanted to see that maximum violence.
"That's why for me, when I smell blood, I go in there to take someone out, but sometimes you can get caught in the exchange.
"But at the end of the day, if you leave it a round or two later, as we've seen there anything can happen.
"The tactic go out the window. You've just got to remember this is a fight, you've got to take the man out and move on to the next."
Promoter Eddie Hearn had even suggested Whyte could have received an undisputed world title fight with Joshua, if Fury had not fulfilled a mandatory title defence.
But Whyte will instead pursue a rematch with Povetkin and Joshua urged him to set aside any stinging criticism.
"Dillian spent months and months in Portugal training and something like that can happen," said Joshua.
"But I feel like the training doesn't add up to this fight with Povektin, he's got another how many years in the sport.
"This is just a blip in the career. People are going to talk all sorts of stuff about Dillian.
"Dillian is a fighter, I stick with him as fighter and say, 'dust yourself off, get back up, and go again.'"
Watch Whyte-Povetkin and Taylor-Persoon 2 repeats on Sunday, at 8am, 1pm and 6pm, on Sky Sports Box Office. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren't a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.