Dillian Whyte COLUMN: Why Anthony Joshua loss was the best thing that happened to me

Dillian Whyte COLUMN: Why Anthony Joshua loss was the best thing that happened to me

Boxing is a bit of a happy accident for me. In 2008, I got to the stage in my kickboxing career where I had to learn to use my hands a little bit better. So I sought out a boxing coach and he brought me to the gym once a week just to learn just how to use my hands – mainly to stop dropping them because I was relying on my feet too much. Then, one thing led to another and I was suddenly sparring at the gym. Before long the coach was saying ‘you’ve got a lot of attributes, with your strength and power you should take this seriously and you could do something’.

I wasn’t really serious about boxing but I started doing it more and more and I thought ‘cool, I’m actually alright at this’. Then I started sparring the likes of David Haye, Tyson Fury, David Price and I wasn’t getting knocked out. That sparked something in me.

Dillian Whyte in talkSPORT studios

It took a while to adapt from wanting to kick people to boxing, and I’m still adapting even now. It’s given me a different advantage in boxing to nearly every other fighter. It’s given me a slightly awkward style that works in my favour sometimes. I have an awkwardness that works in my strength and helps deliver my power punches from angles I shouldn’t really be able to. It’s not a traditional approach to boxing. It’s not like ‘I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that’ – I’ve got a whole completely different mindset to other boxers.

I had been training for about two or three months when my amateur coaches told me to ‘get ready for a fight’. It was for an end of year show which they often do to help provide funds for the boxing clubs to buy bikes, gloves and all that stuff. They couldn’t really find anyone to fight me but then they said there’s a guy from Finchley – I think he was 4-0 or 5-0 or something – who wanted to fight. The guys wouldn’t stop raving on about him and said ‘we’re not sure if you’re ready for that’.