Joshua vs Whyte: Anthony Joshua claims seventh round stoppage win over Dillian Whyte at The O2
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 12/01/16 5:19pm
Anthony Joshua settled his bitter rivalry with Dillian Whyte after an explosive seventh round knockout win at The O2.
The Olympic gold medallist, who suffered an amateur defeat against Whyte, was hurt for the first time in his professional career during a dramatic opening, but he broke down his rival's resistance before ending the heavyweight showdown with a huge uppercut.
Joshua now holds the British and Commonwealth titles and remains on course for more big domestic clashes, with former WBA champion David Haye, who watched on from the Sky Sports studio, a possibility.
Grime artist Stormzy had serenaded Joshua as he strode to the ring and the 26-year spat out punches with spiteful intent when the first bell rang.
After a long-running feud, the two towering men met head-on in the centre of the ring and traded shots recklessly in front of an expectant London crowd. Whyte was wobbled by an early left from Joshua and remained on unsteady legs for much of the round as his hated foe punished him with punches.
Lashing out another lightning left, Joshua tried to finish off Whyte in the opening three minutes but was far too eager, throwing a punch after the bell. An enraged Whyte threw back two shots of his own, sparking an ugly melee between cornermen on the canvas.
Whyte, incensed by the late blow, launched a ferocious assault in the second, marching through punches and landing a short left hand that left Joshua's legs trembling. Suddenly Joshua seemed glaringly vulnerable and Whyte pumped out more punches onto his shaken opponent.
Joshua wisely elected to jab his way back into the fight in the third round, but Whyte had gained a foothold in an enthralling firefight and answered with stiff left hands of his own.
As the fierce tempo dropped briefly in the fourth, Joshua regained his composure and range, ripping right hands through Whyte's defences. But the Brixton man, bristling with pride, defiantly threw back shots despite his shaky legs.
Joshua opened the fifth by landing another crisp right hand and Whyte gasped for air while withstanding more crunching shots.
The menacing grin had returned to Joshua's face by the sixth and he landed a succession of left-right combinations. Whyte shook off the punches and landed a solitary big right before glaring back at Joshua at the bell.
But Joshua brutally ended his resistance in the seventh round as a trademark right hand sent shockwaves through Whyte. Joshua calmly stalked Whyte, whose legs were betraying him as he desperately tried to hold.
A short, savage uppercut finally dropped Whyte dramatically by the ropes and he stayed flat on his back as the fight was waved off.