Richard Riakporhe reckons Anthony Joshua will have a big advantage going into his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua meets the Ukrainian in a return for the WBO, IBF, IBO and WBA Super world championships at heavyweight and Riakporhe has been in camp with ‘AJ’ to help him prepare for the rematch.
The fight will take place at the Jeddah Superdome in Saudi Arabia, exclusively live on Sky Sports Box Office in the UK, on August 20 and came about after Usyk, a former undisputed cruiserweight champion, moved up to the sport’s premier division and convincingly outpointed the British fighter at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London last September.
But cruiserweight contender Riakporhe, who has thrown his name in the hat to face newly-crowned IBF champion Jai Opetaia while also targeting a showdown against WBO king Lawrence Okolie, believes the Olympic gold medallist from London 2012 will go into the fight with a point to prove under his new training team.
Speaking to Sky Sports, ‘The Midnight Train’ spoke about Joshua’s trainers, both of whom he has worked with:
“Both of them [Garcia and Fernandez] have a similar mentality – very, very aggressive.”
“[They’re] very aggressive coaches and [those are] their tactics. They don’t mind going in.”
Joshua has brought in Robert Garcia to join Angel Fernandez in his corner, having split with long-time mentor Robert McCracken in the wake of his defeat to Usyk last year.
And Riakporhe, who had Garcia in his corner for his last fight against Fabio Turchi alongside Fernandez, who Joshua had worked with during his relationship with the aforementioned McCracken, is under the impression that they could well be the difference between Joshua suffering defeat for the third time or becoming a three-time champion.
“All they care about is going into war, going to war but with intelligence.”
“But we’re going to have to impose our will on our opponent. That’s the philosophy and it’s all about knockouts.
“That’s all they care about, honestly, knock them out and then it’s about how they get knocked out.
“Because you can’t go in there just throwing bombs and not expect things back. You obviously have to be really strategic. It’s all about the results and that’s all they care about.
“You’re going to see that old-school fighter. I know because he’s been training like that. It’s kill or be killed and I think this is what you’re going to see from Joshua on August 20, you’re going to see something different.”