Anthony Joshua’s worrying chat before Usyk fight comes to light

Emotional Anthony Joshua explains erratic behaviour after defeat

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Simon Jordan and Spencer Oliver have disclosed a worrying ‘tale’ they heard about Anthony Joshua ahead of his first fight with Oleksandr Usyk. The radio pundits claim that AJ sought the advice of another trainer from a different corner 60 to 70 minutes before he was due to fight.

According to what they were told Joshua asked the undisclosed coach ‘what they would do in the fight’ despite already being given a gameplan by long-term mentor Rob McCracken. Shortly after the fight, Joshua axed McCracken as his head trainer, replacing him with Robert Garcia.

This pre-fight conversation lends an idea as to why AJ chose to end their partnership after 10 years of working together – with the Watford powerhouse clearly losing confidence in his tutor.

“We’ve heard tales and I’m not going to breach any confidences, but leading trainers being in a particular corner and wrapping up a fighter, and Anthony Joshua being hours away from his fight, asking that trainer ‘what would you do in this fight? Jordan said during talkSPORT’s talkBoxing podcast.

“Which I can’t believe a guy who has fought x amount of heavyweight championship fights and is a world heavyweight champion is sitting there talking to another trainer 60-70 minutes before he’s due to go in the ring. What does that tell you about Anthony’s mindset?”

“It tells you that he’s not confident in the people that he’s got around him,” replied Oliver. “Maybe he feels like something is missing and that is why he’s on the road and he’s looking for different trainers and he’s looking for people to add to what he’s got.

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“If he feels like there is something missing, it’s the ultimate gladiatorial sport, you must feel like you’ve left no stone unturned, and you’ve got to have confidence in your team behind you because you put your life in the hands of a trainer.”

Joshua was heavily criticised for being ‘too passive’ in his approach during the first fight and a lot has been made about signs of ‘mental fragility’ in the Brit. Oliver claims this perceived change is down to a lack of confidence in his backroom team.

When Joshua rematched Usyk eleven months later there was a seismic improvement in his performance under Garcia but now Joshua has admitted that he intends to sample other trainers and wants to be a ‘free spirit’. Roy Jones Jr has been mentioned as a possible option in recent weeks with the boxing legend revealing that he has had conversations about working with AJ.

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