By: Sean Cross
“He’s a natural athlete, he’s accomplished a lot,” coach Robert Garcia said. Left fist (in Spanish), “He didn’t have to be so strict with the coach, in the gym, at the training ground.” If that’s the case, when Joshua trained with Garcia in his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk last summer, Joshua Usyk clearly misjudged what it would take to regain the belt he won a year ago. The second Joshua-Usyk match ended the same way as the first, with Usyk winning on the referee’s card.
According to Garcia, training was “a little bit easier for him (Joshua) than any other boxer…so it was something he was used to.” Of course, before his loss to Usyk, Joshua had only lost once, and that was to Andy Ruiz, whom Joshua handled easily and bettered in a rematch in Saudi Arabia six months later. In other words, Joshua had never been challenged by fight preparation before his encounter with Usyk. “He thought that was the way to do it because everything was given so easily and quickly,” added Garcia, “you don’t need to do it any other way.”
According to Garcia, if Joshua wants to compete with the best in the sport, he needs to step up both in the ring and in the gym.
“When you get these kinds of fights against other level fighters, tough, tough fights, you have to go through a really different strict camp,” the American coach said. While Garcia admits Joshua is a talented and hard-working athlete, he will have to change things up when he’s about to face a bigger talent.
“While he (Joshua) is a dedicated fighter who does what he’s told and listens, he probably thinks, ‘I was the champion without much responsibility, without any responsibility,'” Garcia said. After two losses in a row against Usyk, that’s not the kind of attitude Joshua or any other fighter needs. That’s probably why the top Englishman is now on the hunt for a new trainer, perhaps Roy Jones. Then again, maybe he’ll go back to Garcia and come up with a new game plan. With the heavyweight division offering so many dangerous challenges, it’s imperative that Joshua returns to the ring at his absolute best.