This week finally saw some movement regarding Anthony Joshua’s training situation, after reports circulated that the former unified heavyweight champion had chosen Derrick James ahead of his comeback fight in April.
Although there has been no official confirmation, Eddie Hearn did reveal that AJ has made his decision and everything seems to suggest James will be the new man in his corner.
James boasts some of the world’s finest boxers in his stable, the leading lights of which are unified welterweight world champion Errol Spence Jr and undisputed light middleweight world champion Jermell Charlo.
A Texan by birth, James’ own fighting career was a modest one, retiring with a professional record of 27-7-1 and never managing to capture any major titles.
The former super middleweight’s spell as a trainer, however, tells a different tale. He was the Ring Magazine trainer of the year in 2017 and the WBA, WBC and Sports Illustrated trainer of the year in 2020, amongst a host of other accolades.
James is currently the only trainer in the sport who coaches two multi world title holders, both of whom enjoyed successful years in 2022.
Spence added Yordenis Ugas’ WBA strap to his IBF and WBC world titles with a stoppage victory, whilst Jermell Charlo righted the wrongs of his draw with Brian Castano, stopping the Argentine in their rematch and thus claiming ownership of all four major belts at 154lbs.
Fighters under James are traditionally aggressive, spiteful and are seldom in a mood to hear the final bell. Given these are traits that many feel Joshua has been lacking in recent years, fans can perhaps start to be cautiously optimistic that ‘AJ’ could return to his old self under the American’s guidance.