Anthony Joshua will reportedly replace long-term trainer Robert McCracken ahead of his second fight with Oleksandr Usyk on July 23. The two-time heavyweight champion has been with McCracken since turning over as a professional in 2013.
But now, Joshua has called upon the services of the boxing writers’ 2012 Trainer of the Year, Robert Garcia, to prepare him for the rematch. ESPN claim Joshua has teamed up with the experienced trainer as he bids to regain his heavyweight world titles.
ESPN reporter Mike Coppinger tweeted: “Robert Garcia will train Anthony Joshua in England for the heavyweight title rematch vs. Oleksandr Usyk on July 23 in Saudi Arabia, sources tell ESPN. Garcia, an ex-champ and trainer of the year, is revered for his game plans.
“Love this move for AJ. Garcia will surely work with him on being the big man and using some roughhouse tactics. Besides the job he’s done with his brother, Mikey, he’s done great work with Jose Ramirez, Brandon Rios, and a host of others. One of the best in the game.”
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Joshua was comfortably outpointed by Usyk in their first fight in September at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, leading AJ to tour US gyms in search of a new trainer. Among the trainers he visited were Virgil Hunter, Eddy Reynoso, Ronnie Shields, and Garcia, with the latter impressing him the most.
There were also rumours that Joshua’s trainer Angel Fernandez could be elevated to his head coach for the rematch, but that now does not appear to be the case. In an interview with ESNEWS a week after the first Joshua and Usyk fight, Garcia offered his services to AJ and told him he needs to ‘man up’.
He said: “I would like to, that’s what he needs, he needs to man up. Since he won his gold medal, he has been the star, so wherever he’s at, wherever he trains — he’s the star. He needs to be in a place where he’s a nobody, where he’s not going to be special, where he’s going to get his ass kicked if he doesn’t do it right.
“He has been babied his whole career, he’s the boss, he calls the shots, it could be anywhere it doesn’t have to be with me but wherever he goes it has to be with a team that’s not going to baby him.”
Garcia, a former world champion himself, having held the IBF junior lightweight title between 1998 to 1999, has previously trained the likes of Nonito Donaire, Marcos Maidana, and his younger brother Mikey Garcia. Known for his relentless training methods, Garcia is expected to change Joshua’s approach for the rematch after the Brit was criticised for not being aggressive enough when he was outboxed by Usyk over eight months ago. Victory for AJ would not only see the Brit regain his heavyweight titles but also revive a possible clash with Tyson Fury for the undisputed championship.