Dillian Whyte believes Anthony Joshua always showed signs of “not liking getting hit” and has accused his old rival of no longer being “aggressive” inside the ring.
Whyte firstly won an amateur fight between them and Joshua then avenged it with a knockout victory in a brutal British title fight four years ago.
Joshua won his world heavyweight title rematch against Andy Ruiz Jr last month, but Whyte insists he “won’t be the same fighter” after losing the first fight.
“We’ve seen this before – Lennox Lewis was an aggressive fighter on the front foot but got knocked out by Hasim Rahman, then changed his style,” Whyte exclusively told Sky Sports.
“People forget Wladimir Klitschko was one of the most aggressive heavyweights for a long time, but he got done by Ross Puritty, Corrie Sanders and Lamon Brewster then changed his style.
“Joshua will be the same.
“Tall heavyweights start their careers very aggressively, but then?
“Even Deontay Wilder, when he was clocked a couple of times by Luis Ortiz, thought ‘I’m just going to wait’.
“We have seen this time and time again in history, and it’s always the same.”
Whyte insists that Joshua has always shown weaknesses.
He said: “Let’s go further back – Carlos Takam, Alexander Povetkin, Joseph Parker. There were signs of caginess and not liking getting hit.”
Joshua is set to defend his newly-regained IBF, WBA and WBO titles in a UK homecoming with Kubrat Pulev leading the chase to be his opponent.
Whyte, meanwhile, is still waiting for his first opportunity at a world title.
He has been the WBC’s No 1 contender for over 800 days, but Wilder will defend that belt against Tyson Fury on February 22 with another fight between them pencilled in for later this year.
Whyte’s best chance of a world title fight could yet come in a rematch against Joshua, and he insists that he would accept that chance: “Of course. AJ says a lot of things. Listen, if he wants to fight me, the fight can happen.
“I’m here, I’m ready to fight, if he wants to fight me, the fight can happen. He’s a good fighter and a good champion, but he talks a lot of rubbish most of the time.
“Him, Wilder, Fury, they all talk the same rubbish. He says one thing and then he backtracks and says another thing. At least I’m consistent with what I say, and I do what I say.
“One minute he says ‘I’m going to spar with Fury’ and then the next minute he says ‘if it works in my schedule’. When Fury said ‘yes, if it works in my schedule’. He just talks rubbish, man.”