Anthony Joshua is actively seeking a new trainer and direction in America, having lost his WBA Super, WBO and IBF heavyweight crowns to Oleksandr Usyk last month.
Robert McCracken’s days as Joshua’s coach appear to be numbered with the recently deposed heavyweight title holder currently trying out highly-regarded Texan trainer Ronnie Shields after recent visits to Virgil Hunter and Eddy Reynoso’s gyms in California.
Shields, who trainers twin world champions Jermall and Jermell Charlo, told Tha Boxing Voice that Joshua contacted him about a possible link-up and that their early dealings have proven positive as AJ seeks to rejuvenate his career and add more devil to his game, having just invoked the rematch clause against Usyk.
“They reached out to me and they asked me would I be interested in taking a look at AJ and he would like to come down to Texas and see if things could work out between him and I,” Shields told Tha Boxing Voice.
“I said, ‘Yeah, no problem, I would love to take a look at him, love to see if we can mesh together’. It would be great to get him to reclaim his world titles that he lost to Usyk and I think I’ve got the capabilities to help him to do that.
“In the last two days, everything seemed to go well. The first day was just all talk, we talked for about three or four hours. And, when he came back today, I told him I wanted to do just some light pad work with him just to show him everything we talked about.
“We watched a few rounds of the Usyk fight together and I just pointed out some things that I thought he should’ve done that he didn’t do. We had a great talk yesterday, today was even greater. There’s something I showed him that he said, ‘Man, I was never taught to do this’.
“It surprises me that a guy who was heavyweight champion of the world don’t know certain things. Like he said, ‘European boxing is different from boxing in the United States’. He realised that he had to come to the United States to get something different.
“Obviously, it wasn’t the right game plan [vs Usyk], I told him he didn’t fight like himself. I think he’s a much better fighter than what he showed in that Usyk fight. I watched a few rounds with him, I told him about certain things and he said, ‘Yeah man, that’s what we should’ve done, but we didn’t do it’.
“I don’t know what their game plan was, but obviously it wasn’t the right one and I guess he didn’t feel like it was the right one so this is why he wanted to make a change.”
According to Shields, Joshua plans to employ his physical advantages and bully the Ukrainian in the rematch, having sought to outfox the master boxer first time around.
“I’mma tell you the first thing he told me when he came here. He told me, ‘Listen, I know people don’t think I’m a dog, I’m just a pure boxer. Look, I’m gonna be a dog in this next fight’. And that’s his words,” said Shields.
“He told me, ‘I’m gonna be a dog in this fight, I just need you to show me how to be the best dog that you can teach me to be’.”
While McCracken seems to be on the way out, coach Angel Fernandez is set to remain in the Joshua set-up, says Shields.
“I spoke to him about some other guy that came with him,” added Shields. “He explained to me that he really wants this guy there, I told him it’s no problem with me. Angel. He told me he wanted Angel to be with him and I told him, ‘Yeah, it’s no problem’.”