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Derrick James Is Anthony Joshua’s New Trainer

Posted on 02/07/2023

By: Sean Crose

Derrick James, the highly regarded, Texas based trainer of Errol Spence and Jermell Charlo, now has another fighter of note paying for his services – former heavyweight titlist Anthony Joshua. After dropping two fights in a row to Oleksandr Usyk, the towering Londoner was looking for someone he hoped could change the direction his career had recently been taking. In James, Joshua feels like he’s found the right person. Rob McCracken had formerly been Joshua’s trainer, before Robert Garcia took over the reins for a shot time. Now, with James set to be in his corner Joshua has reportedly travelled to Texas to begin work.

News of the Joshua-James alliance comes just after news broke earlier this week that Joshua would be returning to the ring on April first in order to take on American contender Jermaine Franklin. Although Franklin isn’t seen as a premiere force at heavyweight, he’s nothing if not a quality foe, one who gave longtime top tier contender Dillian Whyte a run for his money not all that long ago. The Joshua-Franklin fight is set to go down at London’s O2 Arena, so Joshua will once again be performing in front of a hometown crowd, as he sometimes does.

“There are hopes,” the Daily Mail writes, “that James’ strict training routine will be able get Joshua back to winning ways against Franklin.” Joshua lost his WBA, IBF, and WBO world titles to Usyk the first time they met back in 2021. After losing again to Usyk in the rematch last year, it was clear that the back-to-back losses took a toll on the man, who subsequently gave a rambling speech to the live audience after the fight. What Joshua needs right now more than anything is to get back to emerging from his fights victorious.

In that sense, Franklin is an ideal opponent for the hard hitting Englishman. Although not as well regarded as, say, Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder, Franklin is seen as a solid enough foe to present a challenge for the fighter known as “AJ.” In other words, even though Franklin isn’t expected to win, he isn’t seen as an easy touch for the former world titlist, either. Should the pairing of Joshua and James work out well this spring, one might expect to see the Texan back in Joshua’s corner when Joshua once again takes on opponents of note in the heavyweight division.

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