Former heavyweight boxing world champion Anthony Joshua has made his decision over who will train him for his July 23rd rematch against the current champion, Ukraine’s Oleksandr Usyk.
Following his defeat by Usyk last September, Joshua dispensed with the services of his long-time coach since his time as an amateur, Roberto McCracken.
He then travelled extensively across the United States, visiting the gyms of several trainers including Virgil Hunter, Ronnie Shields, Eddy Reynoso and the man he eventually has decided to go with for his attempt to win back the titles.
That man is Robert Garcia.
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Excellent Pedigree In Training World Champions
Joshua, who started the first fight as the clear favorite but who strangely
decided to try and outbox Usyk, rather than use his considerable height, weight and reach advantage, is now the +172 underdog with FanDuel Sportsbook for the return fight.
Usyk, who is an Olympic Gold Medallist, unbeaten as a professional and who had unified all the titles in the Cruiserweight division before moving up to heavyweight, is the strong favorite at odds of -225.
Given how the Ukrainian used his considerable boxing skills to completely outclass Joshua for the majority of the fight, and had the former Champion out on his feet a couple of times in the fight, those odds seem about right.
However, Joshua move to take on Garcia as the man to train him for the rematch could signal a complete change in tactics.
And it won’t be the first time Joshua has done that in his career.
Change Of Tactics Following Andy Ruiz Jr. Defeat
When Joshua first lost his titles to Andy Ruiz Jr. he totally changed his
approach for the second fight.
He slimmed down and went from trying to overpower the Mexican-American, and instead used his feet and his jab to stay out of range and pick up points to regain his title.
However, in both the Ruiz Jr and Usyk fights, as well as in his successful title victory over Wladimir Klitschko, Joshua has been in trouble due to the heavy hitting of his opponents.
And it is clear that the challenger now needs a new gameplan in order to regain the titles once again.
This is where Garcia may well come in to the reckoning.
14 World Champions
During a high-quality career as a trainer, Garcia has trained 14 boxers to lift world titles. This includes Abner Mares, Jose Ramirez, Brandon Rios, Mikey Garcia (his brother) and Marcos Maidana.
Where Garcia does differ from Joshua’s previous trainer McCracken is in how he expects his fighters to approach their fight.
The trainer tends to prefer a nuanced tactical approach to fights, and he likes his fighters to apply pressure to their opponent.
He has done this very successfully over the years and while some of his fighters have been accused of skating close to the line in terms of roughing their opponent unfairly in the fight, Garcia has earned a lot of respect in boxing for his boxers achievements.
Critically, the move seems to indicate a total shift in approach from Joshua for this fight. Something that the British former World Champion sorely needed after his attempts to outbox Usyk, who is a far better boxer than Joshua, failed miserably in the first bout.
Joshua still faces a massive task facing the boxer ranked as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. In a pro career, Usyk has won all 19 of his fights, 13 by knockout, and that came after a hugely successful amateur career.
There is a lot at stake for the winner, including a potentially money-spinning unification bout against Tyson Fury, who could well be tempted out of retirement for a chance to take on the winner with every belt in the heavyweight division on the line.