Unified world heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua has urged Dillian Whyte to find his finishing instinct after a shock defeat by Alexander Povetkin.
Whyte was knocked out by Povetkin in five rounds on Saturday after flooring the Russian twice in round four.
It ends the 32-year-old’s immediate hopes of a world-title shot against WBC champion Tyson Fury but Joshua is open to facing Whyte if he wins a rematch.
“As long as I am champion he always has a chance,” Joshua told 5 Live Boxing.
“I’ll fight Dillian any day of the week,” added Joshua, in an interview that will be available in Monday’s 5 Live Boxing Podcast.
“I offered Dillian to fight me in 2019 before I fought Andy Ruiz Jr. He turned it down. Dillian, if you want that world title shot and I haven’t got any obligations, then come and get this work.”
Joshua is the only other man to beat Whyte, back in 2015. But, in reality, the likelihood of them meeting again any time soon is slim in the wake of Povetkin’s upset win.
Whyte had been in line for a shot at WBC champion Fury or Deontay Wilder, whom Fury is due to fight for a third time later this year. Instead, with Whyte now likely to face Povetkin again, it creates a clearer path for Fury and IBF, WBA and WBO champion Joshua to fight for all four world heavyweight belts.
Fury would need to beat Wilder again, while Joshua must face mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev. Both bouts are expected to take place in December.
“None of the problems lie with me,” Joshua added. “I haven’t got this situation with Whyte, Wilder or whatever person. I am willing to fight Fury – let’s just get it on.”
Whyte hopes to get a second shot at Povetkin in December, hoping a win will revive his hopes of a first world title fight.
The Brixton fighter looked well placed to keep his impressive run of form going on Saturday until 40-year-old Povetkin landed a stunning uppercut, having risen from the canvas twice in the previous round.
Joshua said: “I thought ‘has Dillian lost that instinct?’
“I believe if you smell or see a drop of blood you have to take them out. If you leave it a round or two you just don’t know. If a man gets a hope and a lifeline he might just bounce back. If I see you hurt I am going to blitz you and Dillian needs to get back to that mindset.
“The last thing you lose is your power. Povetkin is a bit shaky on the legs but the foundations these guys have, I don’t think you can give them an inch of hope. They will take any opportunity, and opportunity matched with power is knockouts.
“Certain people will now be negative towards Dillian. I believe he’s a great fighter. It’s a blip in his career. Five years from now it will just be part of the story. He will be able to look back and think it’s a great lesson.”