Anthony Joshua has made headlines recently for claiming his first trainer, Rob McCracken, didn’t teach him defence.
Whilst ‘AJ’ complimented the man who guided to Olympic Gold and then the unified heavyweight titles as a pro, he justified moving on from McCracken by saying he wasn’t learning in the later stages of his career.
After losing his three belts to Oleksandr Usyk via a game-plan and performance that many felt was all wrong, the Brit shook up his team and employed the services of Robert Garcia, who has trained his brother, Mikey, amongst other world champions and currently corners Jesse ‘Bam’ Rodriguez.
That relationship lasted all of twelve rounds.
Joshua travelled to America once more and ultimately settled on Texan trainer, Derrick James, who has one of strongest stables in boxing in the form of Jermell Charlo, Errol Spence Jr and, most recently, Ryan Garcia.
Theirs is a coach-fighter partnership that seems will stand the test of time, and has Joshua motivated to grow as a boxer.
It’s something heavyweight great, Lennox Lewis, advised ‘AJ’ to do way back in 2019. Following a shock stoppage loss to Andy Ruiz Jr – the first of his career – Joshua was publicly advised by Lewis to leave McCracken.
“I say you can’t go to university with your third grade teacher. They won’t have the answers you need at that level. You need a professor by then. McCracken is A1 without question but maybe not the fit for the style AJ needs to fight.”
“I switched to Manny Steward who understood how to leverage all of my physical attributes and skills and showed me everything I needed to know for success.”
“Aside from that AJ was not prepared for anything Ruiz brought to table.”
Lewis was served a shock defeat of his own in 1994, coming unstuck against underdog Oliver McCall who was, at the time, trained by Emanuel Steward.
‘The Lion’ would go on to work with Steward, avenge that victory three years later and win his title back. The Lewis-McCall partnership is one of the most cited in the sport when it comes to getting the best out of a fighter.