Trainer Robert Garcia wants Anthony Joshua to pursue the middle course in his upcoming rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.
London’s Joshua was criticized last September for failing to be more aggressive against Ukraine’s Usyk, a former cruiserweight and current unified heavyweight champion. Joshua himself has acknowledged the need to fight more assertively against Usyk and went out and hired Garcia, the California native and former fighter who is regarded as an offensive-minded coach.
Yet, in a recent interview, Garcia pushed back on the popular notion that Joshua has to throw the kitchen sink at Usyk in order to be successful. The Mexican American suggested that a more prudent sort of aggression is needed, one in which Joshua can apply consistent pressure without being totally reckless. Garcia pointed to one of his former fighters, the bellicose Argentinian Marcos Maidana, as an example of what Joshua should not do in the ring against Usyk.
Joshua will attempt to wrest back his WBO, WBA, IBO and IBF heavyweight titles from Usyk this Saturday in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
“Well, you know what, just like the whole boxing world knows, he can’t outbox Usyk, so we got to put a little pressure, obviously in a smart way,” Garcia told BBC 5 Live Boxing. “He’s (Usyk) a very talented fighter. He’s got his combinations, they’re beautiful. Great jab, great straight right hand, great right hands to the body, stuff like that, so we gotta train to do it more often. Instead of trying to box, we got to try and look for the fight going forward.
“But we’re also not going in there to be a brawler, or to become a [Marcos] Maidana type of fighter. None of that. We’ve got to do it smart.”
Garcia says he is cognizant of the discourse surrounding Joshua, and that many observers believe he will lose on Saturday night. But having spent time with Joshua, Garcia believes his charge is more than capable of winning back his belts.
“Comments that we see and read, there are a lot of people that underestimate him, but you know once you see him in the gym and you’ve been with him for a few months, you see how smart this man is, how talented he is, how dedicated he is and you put all those things together and put a little bit more [of his] mind…ready to go out and do some damage, he’s unstoppable,” Garcia said.