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Ricky Hatton makes Anthony Joshua prediction for Dillian Whyte and Deontay Wilder fights

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Joshua could have two huge fights before the year is out (Picture: Getty)

British boxing legend Ricky Hatton believes it would be a ‘good move’ for Anthony Joshua to fight Dillian Whyte and Deontay Wilder this year, backing the former world champion to get the win in both contests.

Efforts to revive a British heavyweight showdown between Joshua and Tyson Fury in the second-half of the year have been unsuccessful with the Olympian’s focus now on an August return against an opponent still to be named.

Whyte is the front runner, with promoter Eddie Hearn confirming this week an offer has been made to the Brixton heavyweight in what would be a rematch of their 2015 slugfest.

Joshua is also hopeful of fighting old rival Wilder in Saudi Arabia in December, telling Metro.co.uk last month a deal is close to being agreed.

The two-time world champion got back to winning ways in April with a comprehensive points win over Jermaine Franklin, his first fight under new trainer Derrick James.

While admitting the Whyte and Wilder fights pose huge risks, Hatton believes winning both will restore Joshua’s confidence and his once-fearsome aura in the division.

‘It could be a good move for AJ to focus on those fights,’ Hatton told Metro.co.uk on behalf of Gambling Zone. ‘In the heavyweight division, to fight a Dillian Whyte or a Deontay Wilder just to get your confidence back is easier said than done because they both pack a serious punch.

Boxing at The O2

Joshua beat Whyte in a wild brawl eight years ago (Picture: Getty)

‘There’s two ways to look at it. He could fight one of them to get that confidence back, but in heavyweight boxing, there’s every chance that one of those fighters could put it on AJ’s chin and win.

‘I’m not saying that would happen. AJ would be the favourite in both of those fights. It’s a big risk in the heavyweight division. It only takes one punch and its lights out.’

Joshua remains in the hunt to reclaim world titles after losing his IBF, WBO and WBA titles to Oleksandr Uysk in 2021.

Hatton insists however that after his Olympic gold medal success and two reigns as unified world champion, the 33-year-old has nothing left to prove in the sport and should be free to chase down ‘legacy fights’.

‘You have to remember that there isn’t much more for AJ to prove,’ he said. ‘He has nothing to prove to anyone when you look at his career. Olympic gold medallist, two-time world champion. He probably just wants the defining fights now, the legacy fights. He’s in that stage of his career.

‘I think all they will want now is to fight each other or fight Usyk. With everything that both fighters have done in their careers, do they want any more warm-up fights? If it was me, I’d be more inclined to get in and get out now; have the big fights.’


MORE : Anthony Joshua denies Dillian Whyte fight talks in X-rated deleted social media posts


MORE : Tyson Fury remains the ultimate objective for Anthony Joshua… but boxing fans will give up on the Battle of Britain eventually

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