Frazer Clarke believes Anthony Joshua will rediscover the killer instinct ahead of his next fight.
The former Team GB Olympic captain is backing his gym-mate to regain the WBA Super, IBF, WBO and IBO world heavyweight titles when he meets Oleksandr Usyk in a money-spinning rematch later this month.
Joshua was dethroned by former undisputed cruiserweight king Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London last September and will get his opportunity at revenge on August 20.
The Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia will play host to the clash, which Sky Sports Box Office has paid a staggering £23million to secure the UK broadcasting rights for, between the two former Olympic gold medallists.
And Clarke, who trains alongside Joshua at Loughborough University after ‘AJ’ split with long-time mentor Robert McCracken and teamed up with Robert Garcia, adding him to the team which already contained Clarke’s trainer Angel Fernandez, reckons he’s seen a new side to the 32-year-old, who has a record of 24-2 (22 KOs).
When speaking to Sky Sports Clarke said:
“He’s under no illusions. He’s going to have to be the best he’s ever been to beat Usyk.”
‘Big Fraze’ was most recently in action at the end of July. The Olympic bronze medallist made his debut back in February, on the undercard of Kell Brook’s stoppage win over Amir Khan at Manchester Arena, before having surgery on a thumb injury.
But he came back with a bang, stopping Ariel Esteban Bracamonte of Argentina inside two rounds at Bournemouth International Centre, exclusively live on Sky Sports, as part of the supporting cast to Chris Billam-Smith’s European and Commonwealth cruiserweight title defence against Isaac Chamberlain.
Clarke continued about his pal:
“I think he’s going to have to be better than he’s ever been.
“I feel like he has to be Klitschko-esque. That night [in April 2017 when Joshua stopped Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium in London in the penultimate of 12 rounds], there were ups and downs and he had to come back. He might just have to do that.
“He’s got every chance.
“From what I’ve seen him put in on a daily and a weekly basis, he’s given himself every chance and that’s all you can ask from a fighter in a camp. If you give everything you’ve got to give, with the experience and the skill he’s already got, he’s given himself every chance.”
Clarke is giving the impression we’ll see more aggression from Joshua in this fight, just like we saw in the majority of his fights before the stunning night against Klitschko five years ago.
“I feel like [Joshua is] a nice guy. I think someone had to pull the bad guy out of him. I think Robert Garcia was good to do that. He pulled out the ‘do not give a s**t about anyone apart from winning this fight’. He’s brought it out of him.
“This could be Britain’s greatest night of heavyweight boxing. I feel like everyone’s putting him as a massive underdog and he might just get outboxed for 12 rounds.
“But you’d be daft to bet again him.”