Anthony Joshua’s promoter, Eddie Hearn, has given some insight into what happened before the bell of the first fight with Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua would lose his unified heavyweight titles via unanimous decision that night at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – a result that shook up the division and derailed the UK superstar’s plans to become undisputed.
Many have analysed ‘AJ’s performance on the night, and it’s clear to see he was never really able to get going against the Ukrainian southpaw.
Hearn told The Sun that, in the dressing room, his fighter was checking notes in between punches on the pads.
“He went into the first Usyk fight just confused, really. I remember when he was warming up for the fight and he had a pad of notes that he and the team had put together. He would be hitting the pads and every now and again he would go over and look at the book.”
The result prompted Joshua to split with longtime trainer, Rob McCracken, to prepare for his rematch. Despite this, Hearn lauded McCracken’s corner work in the past.
“The best AJ thinks ‘I know exactly what I am doing’. But to do that you need a tutor. That’s why Rob McCracken was so important for him. Remember when he boxed [Wladimir] Klitschko, Rob McCracken was a big part of winning that fight, in rounds five and six.
As a fighter you have to be able to look into a trainer’s eyes and say ‘I am in trouble here, tell me what I need to do’. Not go back to your corner and have five or six voices telling you what to do.”
Of course, many fans may read into this with a focus on Usyk, giving him the due credit of having the elite skills and attributes to baffle his opponents as they try and prepare for him.
The Ukrainian went on to beat Joshua for a second time, this time with Robert Garcia in the Brit’s corner, and is now moving on to an undisputed fight with Tyson Fury as ‘AJ’ faces a climb back.
Hearn’s comments back the fact that Joshua is readying an announcement of a new trainer after ending things with Garcia, with many in the sport placing their bets on the man who trains Errol Spence Jr, Derrick James.