Anthony Joshua’s new trainer Robert Garcia has revealed that the Brit has developed a genuine spiteful streak and wants to hurt everyone put in front of him in sparring. Joshua rematches Oleksandr Usyk on August 20 at the Jeddah Superdome, Saudi Arabia.
In September, ‘AJ’ dropped his WBA (super), IBF, and WBO heavyweight titles to the Ukrainian on home soil. At the time, he was criticised massively for not using his size and strength enough and is expected to adopt a more aggressive approach for their second bout.
Now, Garcia has given an update on how Joshua is looking in preparations for the Saudi showdown – and has confirmed that the Watford powerhouse has upped his intensity after the Brit was heavily criticised by both Carl Froch – who said he needed a ‘brain transplant’ to win – and Teddy Atlas.
“You know what? I think he wasn’t thinking and prepared to win the fight. 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,” Garcia told Seconds Out.
“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. Week by week, we see a lot of improvement in Anthony Joshua. He’s going to get better and better, so by the time the fight comes, he’s going to be 100 per cent 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.”
Joshua has garnered his fair share of critics in recent times – none more so than legendary trainer Teddy Atlas. The American tore Joshua apart last week for what he perceives as a willingness to accept defeat and believes the Brit will lose to Usyk again next month.
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“He’s a classy guy, I’m not saying I want him to be a sore loser – that says the wrong things. I’m just saying that sometimes it looks like Joshua accepts losing a little too freely, like he did against Ruiz the first time in the Garden, almost like a guy who’s made too much money. Sometimes I just feel that it’s not important enough to him anymore.”
Froch, meanwhile, said this week: “I just think Usyk’s extremely confident and he has every right to be because he’s extremely talented. AJ looks a little bit worried and he should be because he’s in against a fantastic talent.”
Speaking about ‘AJ’, he added: “I’ve said he needs a brain transplant before and people were like ‘What’s he talking about?’ What I mean by that is he needs a totally different mindset and maybe a change in trainer [will do that]. I don’t think he should have left Rob McCracken but this change might do him good because it might just reignite something and get him thinking differently – get him a little bit more aggressive. He needs to get his head right and start to believe in himself, otherwise, it’s going to go wrong for him.”