Anthony Joshua’s interview with Kugan Cassius is full of both positivity and cause for concern, writes George Gigney
After it became clear he is considering the input of a new trainer, Anthony Joshua sat down with IFL TV to reflect on his loss to Oleksandr Usyk and explain why he has been visiting various prominent coaches in the US.First off, credit to Kugan Cassius for not only getting the interview but also taking advantage of the time he had with Joshua to ask the questions many people want answers to. Praise should also go to ‘AJ’ for granting such a lengthy sit-down to go into detail about his current mindset.On the whole, it was a bit of a confusing interview and this speaks to an issue that is becoming more apparent; that Joshua is undecided about what to do next. He spoke about how he adapted his style after the loss to Andy Ruiz Jnr in order to avoid any more wars, however he also claimed he now needs to seek out a demolition job in the rematch with Usyk.
“I’m done with f***ing losing. I’m done with trying to learn the sweet science. He might get thrown on the floor in the next fight because this is war. It’s just straight war, I’m annoyed. I’m boiling up even speaking about it – it’s that passion to win,” he said.
That is undoubtedly encouraging for Joshua’s fans and it seemed clear he wasn’t just paying lip service; there was an intensity to his demeanour that is very difficult to fake.
However, according to the man himself, there has been no decision over whether or not he will leave current head trainer Rob McCracken and partner with someone new. In fact, he even intimated that he might bring in a new coach to work alongside McCracken.
If there was anything to take from Joshua’s performance in the Usyk fight it’s that he needs fewer voices in his corner, not more. If he’s going to hire a new trainer then he should commit to that decision and have that person as the sole leader of the camp. Likewise, if he doesn’t want to split with McCracken, then ensure he is in charge of preparations.
Further still, if Joshua feels he needs to revert back to the destructive version of himself that saw him become an international superstar, then why the need for a new trainer in the first place? If he already had it within himself to produce those performances, under the guidance of McCracken, one has to question whether a new coach is even needed.
Obviously, the decision lies with Joshua but it’s one he needs to make as soon as possible. He’s got about six months until he’s back in the ring with Usyk, and if he wants to hire a new trainer then that is a very short amount of time to implement such a seismic change.
History tells us, for the best chance of success, if he teamed up with a different coach, he would go away and spend a couple of years building that relationship and adapting his style before jumping back in at the elite level. However, his superstar status doesn’t allow for such luxuries and he almost has no choice but to seek immediate revenge against Usyk.
There were a few other red flags in the IFL interview, such as when he explained that he doesn’t watch tape of his opponents, and leaves that to his team. At the level Joshua operates, there’s really no excuse for not doing as much as possible in your preparations and that includes studying past performances of your opponent.
There are exceptions to the rule like Floyd Mayweather, who are so absurdly naturally gifted that they don’t need to focus as much on others, but for most, it is wise to do your homework.
Take Usyk, for example; he studies his opponents in fine detail and this week even told DAZN in an interview that he kept a close eye on Joshua’s tour of American trainers because he is monitoring Joshua’s movements in preparation for their rematch.
All that being said, it’s exciting to see Joshua so fired up. Unlike Deontay Wilder in the wake of his first loss to Tyson Fury, Joshua has faced up to his shortcomings in the Usyk fight and wants to do all he can to prevail in the return, even if that means an overhaul of his training setup.
Dillian Whyte and Eddie Hearn held a press conference to discuss the former’s shoulder injury, which forced him to withdraw from a fight with Otto Wallin. It seemed a little unnecessary, particularly as not much of value was said.
No one outside of Wallin’s camp is that upset about the fight being scrapped and it’s clear Whyte and co are now focused on his mandated shot at Fury.
WebsitesAhead of his fight with Caleb Plant this weekend, Canelo Álvarez spoke with Complex about his career and the state of boxing as a whole. There were plenty of non-answers, but when asked about Ryan García, who is also trained by Eddy Reynoso, Álvarez was surprisingly candid.
“Look, Ryan has a lot of talent. But to me in my eyes, he’s wasting a lot of time and wasting his talent. I look at him and don’t see him 100 per cent dedicated and, to us, that’s a bad signal,” he said.
García is currently sidelined with a hand injury and, prior to that, took some time away from boxing for his mental wellbeing. It’s unclear whether Canelo was referring to this in his comments – if so, that seems particularly harsh – but he may have been speaking about García’s celebrity status, more specifically on social media.
It would be a shame if García’s commitment to boxing has wavered as he is undoubtedly talented and, despite his inexperience, is already a star in the US. If there’s any active boxer to take guidance from, it’s Canelo.