DAVID HAYE has warned Anthony Joshua against heading into a super-fight with Deontay Wilder "ill-prepared".
AJ returned to winning ways in April on points against Jermaine Franklin, following consecutive losses to Oleksandr Usyk.
And now promoter Eddie Hearn is negotiating a blockbuster bout against Wilder for December in Saudi Arabia.
It leaves Joshua's initial plan to return in the summer facing the KO – but former champion Haye has advised AJ to reconsider.
Speaking ahead of KSI's DAZN PPV fight with Joe Fournier, he said: "I'd like to see him fight Dillian Whyte.
"I think that's the perfect opponent, it's an all-British fight, they can do it at the O2 Arena.
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"Fight Dillian beforehand, if you can't beat Dillian, you shouldn't be getting in there with Wilder.
"The victory in his last fight against Franklin wasn't ample preparation to fight Wilder, trust me.
"What he did in that fight versus what he's going to need to do to beat Wilder – he needs to get in the ring with someone who really lets his hands go, like Dillian.
"And if he's able to deal with it then OK, he's given himself a better opportunity than against Wilder.
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"Or, don't fight anyone and go in against Wilder, ill-prepared and he's going to need to be prepared because it's been a while since he's got busy and literally let his hands go."
Haye, 42, believes the last time a truly confident Joshua, 33, stepped foot in the ring was against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
But he was stopped in seven rounds and switched up his style to win the rematch six months later in the Diriyah desert.
Joshua has since carried the cautious boxing style into his pair of losses against Usyk, 36, and when returning to beat Franklin, 29.
And Haye told AJ to forget about a Middle Eastern meeting with Wilder, 37, unless he has a fight to get rid of his fear of letting his fists fly.
He said: "You've probably go to go back to the Andy Ruiz first fight when he was actually letting his hands go.
"Since then he hasn't put any shots together, 24 rounds with Usyk, he didn't, 12 rounds with Ruiz the second time he didn't, Franklin he didn't, that's a long time.
"It's been a few years since he's actually let his hands go so he's going to need to fight somebody, let his hands go and then it will give him the true confidence going in to fight Wilder.
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"Because just saying, 'I can beat Wilder' it doesn't really mean anything."
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