Anthony Joshua

Anthony Joshua’s trainer criticises “totally wrong” game plan for Oleksandr Usyk defeat

Robert Garcia, who has trained 14 world champions, believes that Joshua's team had him ill-prepared for his last meeting with pound-for-pound great Usyk back in September

Anthony Joshua’s new trainer Robert Garcia has criticised the heavyweight’s old coach Rob McCracken’s game plan for his last fight with Oleksandr Usyk.

The two-time heavyweight champion was the favourite to beat Usyk in front of over 60,000 of his home fans in London, but ended up being comprehensively beaten over 12 rounds by the former cruiserweight champion. And his corner came in for some critique after footage emerged of them telling him he was boxing well while losing rounds.

Joshua has exercised his immediate rematch clause to face Usyk again, with the bout now set for August. The Brit has dropped McCracken in favour of Garcia, who has coached 14 different fighters to world championships and now wants to add heavyweight titles to his list.

“When you have somebody that’s a lot smaller than you and you have the weight, height, reach and power advantages then take advantage of that,” Garcia told iFL TV. “It seemed like they had a different game plan.

“I wouldn’t even want to say it was a ‘game plan’, maybe it was just the wrong instructions. Anthony is the type of fighter who listens to his corner so he did what he was told and it was totally wrong.

“But the way it looks now, he’s listening to us, we have our meetings with him and he’s happy that we’re working together, he’s hungry again and he’s told us personally that he wants to do it for himself, but for us too. He said ‘you are going to deserve this win and I want to do it for you’.

That’s huge, that’s something coming from a fighter that very few think like. Most fighters think about themselves and, yeah, they love their trainers and, yeah, they want to win big fights together, but at the end it’s only about themselves. He told us this one is for us.”

Garcia’s brother Mikey is a four-division world champion, and the former fighter has also worked with the likes of Nonito Donaire and UFC fighter Tony Ferguson. But he has yet to bring a heavyweight to the top table, and his credentials with the bigger fighters have come under scrutiny.

Anthony Joshua's corner came in for heavy criticism during his last fight

Anthony Joshua’s corner came in for heavy criticism during his last fight ( Image: ©Eddie Keogh Matchroom Boxing)

“Behind the phones and the computers there are so many experts in boxing,” he explained. “And the moment that news came out I was going to come to England to train with Anthony there were so many negative comments right away.

“People were saying ‘oh, he doesn’t train heavyweights’, or ‘he’s too small to do mitts with him’. My job is to come and guide and give good advice and come up with a good game plan, my size doesn’t mean I can’t tell a heavyweight how to fight and what he needs to do to win a fight.

“I’ve done this many times before, the thing is that with me, it doesn’t have to be a super-heavyweight or welterweight or featherweight. I’ve been in the position where nobody believes my fighter is going to win and we go and upset the world champions.”

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