By: Sean Crose
“He’s a natural athlete, he’s an athlete who accomplished so much,” noted trainer Robert Garcia recently told Izquierdazo (in Spanish), “that he did not need to be so strict in his commitments, in the gym, in the training spaces, with the coach.” If that was the case while Joshua trained with Garcia for his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk last summer, then Joshua clearly misjudged what was required to win back the belts Usyk had won off him a year earlier. For the second Joshua-Usyk match ended much like the first, with Usyk winning on the judge’s cards.
According to Garcia, training “was a little easier for him (Joshua) than any other boxer…so that was something he got used to.” Sure enough, before losing to Usyk, Joshua had only lost once previously, and that was to Andy Ruiz, who Joshua easily handled and bested in a Saudi Arabian rematch six months later. In other words, fight preparation was never a real challenge for Joshua before he met Usyk. “Since everything was given to him so easily and quickly, he thought it was the way to do it,” Garcia added, “that you don’t need to do it any other way.”
According to Garcia, Joshua is going to have to rise to the occasion both in the ring and in the gym if he wants to compete with the best in the sport.
“When these types of fights arrive with fighters of another level, stronger, tougher fights, in reality he should go through with a different, stricter camp,” the American trainer said, “where he follows the directions.” While Garcia admits that Joshua is a talented and hard working athlete, he’s going to need to change things up when he’s about to face major talent.
“Although he (Joshua) is a dedicated fighter who does and listens to what he is told, perhaps he thinks ‘I was a champion without so much, without having so much responsibility,'” Garcia said. After two losses in a row to Usyk, that’s not the kind of attitude Joshua or any other fighter needs. Perhaps that’s why the towering Englishman is now on the hunt for a new trainer, possibly Roy Jones. Then again, perhaps he’ll return to Garcia and come up with a new game plan. With the heavyweight division offering numerous dangerous challenges, it’s imperative that Joshua return to the ring at his absolute best.
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