Anthony Joshua has finally made the big changes to his training team that many had hoped for with the Oleksandr Usyk rematch looming large.
ESPN reported this week that AJ has enlisted Robert Garcia to guide him through his date with Usyk this summer and make him a three-time world heavyweight champion.
Following his defeat to Usyk last September, Joshua visited fellow coaches Ronnie Shields, Eddy Reynoso and a host of others during a trip to the States – but it was Garcia, 47, that he has decided to work with.
AJ is expected to face Usyk in either late July or early August as the final details are being worked out. He is currently training in Loughborough in preparation for the bout and it’s believed Garcia will join him.
Garcia, who has led 14 world champions and is renowned for his gameplans, is a firm believer in AJ’s talents and says he has more talent than both Usyk and Tyson Fury.
In December, Garcia told Boxing King Media: “If Anthony hires me as a trainer, he’s the main guy. But if he hires me, I’m the boss and he’s going to do what I tell him to do.
“You’re going to train the way I want you to train, and you’re going to follow instructions. If you’re not, then choose somebody else.
“I think Anthony is more talented than both Usyk and Fury. They’re great fighters. Usyk had a great win, he’s a great style, he’s difficult and Fury is the man at heavyweight right now.
“But I still think that Anthony Joshua has more skills and when you’re talking about skills he’s got to believe in himself.
“He’s got to believe that his skills are good enough to beat both of them, and he’s got to do it.
“He needs to say, ‘Maybe I could take a punch from those guys, but they won’t be able to take my punches,’ you’ve got to have that mentality.”
Garcia continued: “I’ve been working with so many other fighters that have that same problem, you’ve got to change that, you’ve got to change their mentality and the way they think. You can’t be nice in the ring.”
Joshua has often painted himself as Mr Nice Guy outside of the ring and Matchroom Boxing have done a masterful job with the 33-year-old from a PR perspective.
But Garcia says he can’t be smiling when he’s taken shots in the ring anymore. Joshua needs an attitude change.
He said: “Talent wise I think he’s the best heavyweight, he’s very talented but he needs to be in a place in a gym with other trainers with other fighters that are going to push him.
“He needs to change his attitude with me. He cant get hit and smile.
“You know that happened with him against Usyk in the last round. He is getting hit and smiling. You know he is giving credit to his opponent.
“You’ve got to be mad, because you are getting hit. He needs to have that mentality, that killer instinct. It sounds bad to say but in the ring you want to hurt your opponent.”
Joshua is 24-2 in his career but with those two losses coming in his last four fights, the Brit decided to make a change to his coaching team.
Long-time trainer Rob McCracken is taking a backseat while Angel Fernandez has been promoted, too.