Former world champion Antonio Tarver is hoping to set up a UK clash with Dillian Whyte later this year in order to work his way to an IBF heavyweight title shot at Anthony Joshua.
The American, who enjoyed successful stints at light-heavyweight and cruiserweight before head up to the top division, has been on the lookout for a challenge since sharing a twelve round draw with Steve ‘USS’ Cunningham in August 2015.
Tarver has made no secret of his desire to win the heavyweight crown before he steps away from boxing for good and sees facing Whyte as the ideal scenario that could eventually lead to a crack at Joshua’s belt.
“We’re getting a little traction on this fight with Dillian. I believe it’ll be a real test for me and I’d love to take my talents to the UK later this year as that makes the most sense,” Tarver exclusively told World Boxing News.
Whyte’s performance against Joshua in December, which saw the latter go past four rounds for the first until scoring a knockout in the seventh, has done Dillian ‘The Villain’ more good – than harm, as rumours gather the pair could be set for a rematch in 2017.
The ‘Magic Man’ aims to derail those plans though, and says despite his respect for Whyte, he intends on proving his skills and desire to compete with the new crop of heavyweights is still there and potentially land Tarver his dream of a world heavyweight title shot.
“I like Dillian Whyte as he reminds me of the fighters from my era. He believes in his abilities and rightfully so,” said Tarver.
“Dillian had a good performance against arguably the best heavyweight in the world right now in AJ but has stated that in order to make a big slash you need to beat a proven champion and a legend from the era before you. He’s most certainly right and that’s me. I’ve never shied away from a challenge and fighting Dillian Whyte would be a big one.
“It’ll also prove if I still belong and that’s the question I want to answer sooner than later,” he added.