In an exclusive interview with talkSport Boxing, Dillian White broke his silence and unveiled his side of the story about the Joshua fight.
“The fight just collapsed,” White declared candidly, his frustration evident. The apparent lack of communication and the surreal turn of events left him baffled, White described the situation as “just weird”. He alluded to the fact that “AJ [Anthony Joshua] is in a position of transition” and the matchmakers may not want him to take on high-risk fights while maintaining the illusion of him being part of major match-ups.
According to White, the fight deal was nebulous from the start, riddled with uncertainties and false promises. “There was no offer, no kind of offering from Matchroom [boxing promotion company],” he clarified, debunking rumors of a rejected monetary deal. White portrayed a picture of his team trying relentlessly to establish contact with Matchroom, only to face an unnerving silence.
His team had also raised questions about the timing and location of the fight, both of which, according to White, received no answers.
Ignored Queries and Unmet Expectations
White explained, “We’ve had one [free]land email about the fight, no conversation at all. We’ve been trying to contact [Matchroom] for one month, multiple phone calls and email, they’ve just gone missing“. It wasn’t just the opaque communication; the choice of the O2 venue for such a high-profile bout raised eyebrows too. As White put it, “This should be a stadium fight, at the O2 it should be a stadium fight, at Wembley, Tottenham or something like this.”
The lack of standard negotiations irked White, who has been in the game long enough to understand its intricacies. The lack of terms and conditions, the non-existent final offers, all pointed to a lack of seriousness in making the fight happen.
To add to the confusion, a counter-offer from Matchroom was reportedly on the table. However, White contended, “There’s no terms and conditions because normally, I’ve been negotiating for years, I know this thing. I know we negotiate.” The lack of clarity and active negotiations only affirmed White’s suspicion that the scheduled fight was not real.
Despite this, White was in Florida, training to fight Joshua, holding onto the hope that the fight was still on the table. Yet, his faith wavered, “I’ve never thought the fight was real because the way we’ve been negotiating with [Matchroom] for years, I know when Eddie [Hearn] wants a fight“.
A Missed Opportunity or Calculated Risk?
White’s assertions raised questions about Matchroom’s intentions and its potential long-term strategy. Was the Joshua-White fight intended to be a precursor to a bigger showdown between Joshua and Deontay Wilder in Saudi Arabia? Or was it a calculated risk that they did not want to take?
One thing was clear, though – White felt disrespected. The lack of communication, coupled with public speculation about his match fees, had left a sour taste. “Of course, I do, of course, they do. They wave around my name, doing one million interviews about fighting me, but didn’t actually negotiate the fight due to space limit. See full text on website.