Anthony Joshua has talked up his relationship with new coach, Derrick James, believing he would be a better fighter today should they have met earlier in his career.
‘AJ’ turned pro with Rob McCracken in his corner, and that continued – with some small changes – up until he lost the unified heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk in his 26th fight.
The two-time champion recently told the Boxing News Podcast that he hadn’t been developing since his first loss to Andy Ruiz Jr two years prior.
“When I looked at Mayweather he had two phases of his career – Pretty Boy and then Money May. And he just became smarter, so I was just trying to get smarter as a fighter, that’s all.
When I got beat by Ruiz, I had my health issues, but I kind of knew that at some stage I’m probably gonna come unstuck. Why? Because I didn’t feel like I was learning. I was fighting but I wasn’t learning.
So that’s why after the first Ruiz fight I went through that rebuilding phase. Completely changed my style – stick, move, hit and don’t get hit. Then I tried to take that further on in my career with Usyk. He is the master of that s**t.”
‘AJ’ switched to Robert Garcia for the Usyk rematch, splitting with McCracken and starting a partnership that never seemed solid. Following that second loss, he found Derrick James in Dallas, and believes he’s now where he should be.
He compared the Texan trainer’s work to that of McCracken’s.
“Yes [I wish my path had crossed with Derrick James earlier.] Rob’s a really good coach, the only thing I’ll say though is look at Froch’s nose. He just didn’t teach me defence. And in heavyweight boxing, the level of competition I was facing at that stage of my career, I was getting hit way too much with clean shots.”
I was sparring Solomon Dacres and Lewis, the tall six foot five guy, in Miami for Ruiz, who’s five foot. Rob was in Japan for the Olympics. He only came back seven weeks before it. I just know it’s not good enough for where I’m at.”
“Derrick reminds me of Rob but a lot more invested … Rob was too committed to the Olympic team, not the pro team. I gave Rob my best years, and now I’ve got to dig deep to get them back again.”