By: Sean Crose
What makes trainer Robert Garcia a good fit for former heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua? “Pedigree for one,” former junior welterweight titlist Chris Algieri tells Sky Sports. In preparing for his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk, the man who took his championship belts last autumn, England’s Joshua has teamed up with the American trainer of note. Algieri, who has worked with Garcia himself, approves of the pairing. “One thing about Robert,” Algieri says, “he’s a consummate professional. He gives his guys so much of himself. A trainer, a former fighter and former world champion as well, he understands what a fighter needs.”
Joshua certainly appeared to be in need of a new strategy when he lost to Usyk last year. The former cruiserweight flustered and simply outboxed the towering Londoner on his way to an underdog win. Just weeks earlier, the world thought Joshua was on his way to facing fellow titlist Tyson Fury for all the heavyweight marbles. Instead, the world got an Anthony Joshua who was once again dethroned. As he had after he first lost his titles back in 2019, however, Joshua immediately went in for a rematch. In 2019, it was Andy Ruiz who had taken Joshua’s title belts away. Suffice to say, Joshua handily won them back from Ruiz six months later. Yet many feel that Usyk presents for more of a challenge for Joshua than Ruiz did.
Joshua may well concur, for he’s made the move from Robert McCracken to Garcia in order to train for this rematch. Garcia, of course, has been highly regarded in the sport for years, training the likes of his brother, Mikey, along with Marcos Maidana and others. “He’s one of those guys,” says Algieri, “he understands the fight game. He has an eye that’s very special, that he can see things in the ring, that he can see talent in certain fighters.”
As far as Algieri is concerned, however, Garcia is a man who brings something extra to the table. “He’s the kind of guy personality-wise when you speak to him it’s: I trust this man, he’s going to look out for me, he’s going to do what needs to be done,” Algieri says, “so it makes sense from that point of view. Maybe not so much on paper but in terms of personality it does.” And does Algieri, who knows his way around the fight business, have any take on what Joshua can do to beat Usyk this time around?
“If he just tries to box Usyk he’s going to lose,” says Algieri, “he’s going to get outboxed. But if he’s a boxer-puncher, which he actually naturally is, I think he stands a good chance.” The Usyk-Joshua rematch will go down August 20th in Saudi Arabia, where Joshua first won back his heavyweight titles.
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