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Ricky Hatton on Joshua: 'I think AJ has gone maybe a little bit gun-shy' but still backs him to defeat Whyte

Ricky Hatton has stated that the loser of the August 12th heavyweight encounter between a two-time unified world champion and former title challenger Dillian Whyte will most likely see the loser head towards retirement.

Joshua and Whyte will return to the scene of their first encounter, a fiery affair back in December 2015 in which Joshua secured a seventh-round stoppage of his long-time rival despite being rocked and wobbled.

Joshua returned in April against Jermaine Franklin following back-to-back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk in a tentative and conservative outing, securing a points win.

Whyte was last seen under the lights back in December against the same opponent, edging a narrow points win.

Speaking to the Metro, Hatton believes that Joshua has become a little gun-shy but feels the loser could very well call it a day and retire.

“I think AJ has gone maybe a little bit gun-shy, a bit timid at times, a bit too safety first,” Hatton told Metro.co.uk.

“Whyte obviously got beat by Fury, I think they are both at a stage in their careers where the loser might hang their gloves up. But don’t think for one minute Whyte can’t go in there and knock out AJ.

“AJ is an Olympic gold medallist, a two-time world champion having lost and regained the titles. He lost two fights to Usyk, which is no shame, but at this stage, if he goes and loses to Dillian Whyte, that could be that. Poor Dillian Whyte was the number one contender for forever, and a day; he got made to wait and wait, then, unfortunately, got knocked out when his chance did come.

“He was number one contender for years and had to wait so long, [if he loses to Joshua] I think he could say, “I have given my best but I could hang them up now.”’

However, despite Hatton’s concerns regarding Joshua, he is backing the former two-time unified world champion to come out on top against Whyte.

“I think AJ will box him well early on, and Dillian will put pressure on him and try to draw him in. The reason we love AJ fights is that he can get drawn in, and it makes for a barnstormer,” Hatton said.

“It could end the same way. I think AJ wins the early rounds, Dillian will put the pressure on, get in his face and provide some real pressure in the later rounds. But because of the work I can see him [AJ] doing in the early rounds and his massive heart as he has shown throughout his career, I think he holds out for a points win.”

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