Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk rematch takes place this August
Anthony Joshua's new trainer Robert Garcia has offered his unique take on why he believes AJ lost the first fight against Oleksandr Usyk, and how they have has changed his approach going into the all important rematch.
The Ukrainian defeated the Briton last September in North London in a surprise upset. Challenger Usyk was so dominant and comfortable as he eased to victory that two-time heavyweight champion Joshua is the clear underdog for the return fixture in Saudi Arabia on August 20.
The pair had been expected to fight back in February 2022, but negotiation delays rolled into the war in Ukraine following Russia's invasion, and Usyk returned to his homeland to defend the country, but has since left in order to train for the rematch next month.
One change that Joshua made after suffering his second defeat and loss of his world titles, in addition to Angel Fernandez heading up his training setup, was to add established American trainer Garcia, a man who has guided 14 fighters to world titles.
The older brother and trainer to four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia revealed there has been a new focus for Joshua after limiting his plan of attack for the first fight.
Garcia explained the change in mentality, “You know what? I think he wasn’t thinking, and prepared to win the fight,” he said to Secondsout.
“From what he told me, he was just thinking of going all 12 rounds. He never thought, ‘I got to win the fight. I just need to go 12 rounds.’ So that makes a big difference.
“Now, he’s thinking of winning and thinking of hurting somebody. That’s the most important thing. He’s got to be confident with his team.”
On preparations for the rematch, Garcia said that AJ is looking new and improved for the biggest fight of his career, “Week by week, we see a lot of improvement in Anthony Joshua and five weeks left of hard training. He’s going to get better and better, so by the time the fight comes, he’s going to be 100% ready.
“He’s got to be with a team that wants him to win, wants him to perform, and wants him to be a little bit tougher. I think that’s what I bring in.
“Me and Angel Fernandez are pushing him to be aggressive, to be a mean guy in the ring, to hurt anyone in front of him. He’s been doing that lately, and I’m very happy and pleased with how things are going.”
Garcia added: “He’s got insane power, probably more than anyone in the division. So use it, why not? Look for that power punch; look to hurt his opponent.
“I’ve been here [the UK] for two months already, and we still have six weeks left, but I’ve been coming back and forth since December. We’ve been working on the same things since last December, so I think that’s more than enough time.
“Angel Fernandez also does a great job. We’re always communicating about what he’s doing, and he’s doing exactly what the plan is. So, I think we’ll be more than ready.”
Garcia was an IBF super-featherweight world champion during his career – read more facts about Robert Garcia HERE