Anthony Joshua has revealed that Robert Garcia wasn’t his choice of trainer, and that he was ‘baffled’ by the Mexican’s comments to the media after his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.
Much was made of Joshua’s switch from longtime trainer, Rob McCracken, after his first loss to Usyk. Determined to win his belts back, the former champion moved to Robert Garcia, the coach of Jose Ramirez and Vergil Ortiz Jr.
He has revealed to TalkSPORT that although he gave final sign off, it was the decision of Angel Fernandez – another member of his training team and the man who ultimately worked alongside Garcia for the fight.
“I said, ‘Alright, you know what, Angel? Due to my past experience where I brought on the coaches, you choose.’ Even though I’ve got the vision, if my coaches don’t think it’s right, it’s not going to work.
So I said, ‘The best thing you can do Angel to make this work with someone more experienced is you choose who you think is the right fit for you. We went around, he said, ‘Robert Garcia.’
I said, ‘You know what, I rate him. Been there, done it.’ And the goal was Oleksandr Usyk – that was our target. We came up short.”
In the aftermath of the loss, Garcia spoke to the media about Joshua’s performance. He said that his fighter was ‘mentally defeated’ towards the end of the fight and that Usyk was stronger in that regard.
‘AJ’ went on to say that the trainer’s public opinions baffled him, and likely played a part in the breakdown. This time around, he led the pursuit personally.
“I just felt like, Garcia kind of said a lot, which baffled me as well. But I’m not a little – what’s a word I can use on this show? – I’m not a little boy. I can take it, but at the same time – I can’t talk about you, and you not back yourself.
“So I said, ‘Rah, some things aren’t adding up to me, certain things that people are saying aren’t adding up.’ So the second time I just said, ‘I’m going to make the decision this time, I’m going do it myself.’ And that’s how I ended up being in this position now where I am based in Texas.”
Derrick James is the man that Joshua landed on – a Trainer of the Year who corners world champions Errol Spence Jr and Jermell Charlo. ‘AJ’ is deep in camp with the coach out in Texas, and said at his recent press conference it’s as serious as he’s taken preparations in a long time.
What they’ve worked on in camp will be on full display come April 1, when Joshua looks to get his pro career back on track with a win over Jermaine Franklin.