Former world super-middleweight champion Carl Froch has expressed concern over Anthony Joshua’s decision to part ways with Rob McCracken and insisted the British heavyweight would retire if he loses to Oleksandr Usyk.
Joshua will face Usyk for the second time on Saturday after losing his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO titles in a unanimous points decision at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium last September.
Prior to their rematch, Sportsmail sat down with Froch to discuss AJ’s relationship with McCracken, his loss of confidence following Andy Ruiz’s win, the boxing style he must produce against Usyk and what will happen if he loses again.
Former super-middleweight world champion Carl Froch has spoken to Sportsmail ahead of Anthony Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk over the weekend
The rematch between the two heavyweights will take place on August 20 in Saudi Arabia
Joshua said final goodbyes to McCracken earlier this summer and turned to Robert Garcia, the highly decorated Mexican-American coach with a catalog of world champions on his resume.
Froch is concerned that Joshua made the wrong decision to split with the British coach – claiming McCracken is a boxing ‘guru’ who can help athletes return to their best form.
Speaking with Sportsmail’s Charlotte Dalysaid Froch:: ‘I recently watched the original Karate Kid with my son. I look at Daniel Larusso and Mr. Miyagi as me and Rob McCracken.
Froch has praised his former boxing coach Rob McCracken for saying he was responsible for turning professional
Froch (L) also said he would never have said goodbye to his former coach McCracken (R)
“When he says jump, I say how high. When he was wax on wax off I start waxing the car. That’s the kind of relationship I had with Rob McCracken.
“I don’t know what the relationship with Joshua and Rob was, so I can’t really say anything about it. But AJ brought a lot of people into the team.
“He had people he brought in to hold the pads. He still had a few mouths in the corner for his fights. I don’t think I like that.
“Maybe it’s Rob’s mistake to let people in. Rob told me what to do and I did it. Together we structured my training regimen.
Froch says Joshua made a mistake saying goodbye to his former coach Rob McCracken
That said, if Rob McCracken couldn’t get the best out of Anthony Joshua, I totally understand why he got rid of him.
“In his mind he needs change and change can be a good thing if it gives him more motivation to get up in the morning or more motivation in the gym.
“I would never have said goodbye to Rob McCracken. I have become professional thanks to Rob. He convinced me.
“He was the guru. I was very much the student. I never dreamed of getting rid of him.
‘I still think the potential was a bad move’ [ to leave Rob McCracken] but if he plays against Usyk, we’ll all say it was the best thing he did.’
AJ decided to team up with Robert Garcia (right) – a highly decorated Mexican-American coach with a catalog of world champions on his resume
Joshua said earlier in the week that he will be looking to be more “aggressive” during his rematch against Usyk on Saturday.
AJ told Sky Sports: ‘I wanted to outbox my opponent be it Usyk or anyone else, that was the mentality [in the first fight]. “I wanted to outbox my opponent and on Saturday I want to beat my opponent.”
Joshua continued: ‘You have to focus on that aggressive aspect, that competitive spirit and at the end of the day I don’t care how your shot is, I don’t care how good that shot is. no matter how good this is. I don’t care how good you are – my competitive spirit will overcome all obstacles.
‘You should never neglect that in your quest for improvements. You come a long way with your competitive character.’
Sportsmail asked Froch if Joshua was reckless in his approach to Saturday’s rematch or if he showed the requisite determination needed to excel.
Froch said Joshua used to be aggressive and ‘got involved’ with Dillian Whyte
Joshua defeated Whyte to add the British title to his Commonwealth and WBC International titles via seventh-round TKO
The former boxing legend said, “Joshua used to be aggressive. When he fought Dillian Whyte, he got involved. He was clipped at the chin. His legs were gone too and he wobbled a little.
“He showed a lot of confidence at that time. It was early in his career, so maybe he was a little naive. He was just stuck and arguing. Boxing is boxing.
“Joshua showed he can do both. He is a good boxer who has won an Olympic medal. We saw him fight Whyte and Klitschko. He put in a very good performance against Povetkin.
“AJ can box and he can fight. It would be nice to see him fighting again and throwing some punches. Have a bit of a scrap and a bit of dust on it. Even a round on the cobblestones.
Froch says Joshua is to be counted out against Usyk and insists he can’t ‘go full steam ahead’ like Joe Joyce (above)
“But Usyk isn’t the type of guy to let you do what you want to do. Everyone says AJ should use his height and reach. He has to push forward etc. But by being more aggressive he runs the risk of a counter-punch. Especially against Usyk who has so much talent. AJ might just run into sharks.
“Joshua needs to be trained. He can’t go full steam ahead – bull in a china shop mentality like Joe Joyce.
“Joyce would probably get away with it because that’s his style. He just walks forward throwing punches and gets hit with a load of shots, but somehow manages to stay on his feet. Joshua cannot. AJ gets cut and he gets hurt.”
Froch went on to explain how Joshua’s approach to the fight would be the determining factor in whether he wins or loses the rematch.
Froch said, “Joshua has to get in that ring and 100 percent think I can do it. You always get those doubts about the ringwalk and those little demons before the bell rings, but he has to punch with confidence and move forward with faith. If he believes in himself, he will do it.
Froch said confidence is a big part of boxing and admitted he had none against Andre Ward
“When I boxed Andre Ward, I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t tell that to many people, but I didn’t believe in myself. I came in there thinking I couldn’t win.
“I just thought if I can’t get a shot because I’m not fast enough and I can’t grab it with my right hand, I should knock him out.
“You sink down and down into a dip. There is no way back up. So if you don’t believe in yourself, you’d better forget it.’
Froch continued to explain how he felt as if Joshua had lost his faith after losing to Andy Ruiz during their fight at Madison Square Garden.
He said, “I think AJ has lost faith since the Ruiz quit. Since he was beaten by Ruiz and his legs went, he has lost faith.
“I’m not going to say he stopped in his corner, but he didn’t defend himself and he didn’t hit back. He looked to his corner and it looked like he had had enough.
Froch thinks Joshua lost confidence after being beaten by Andy Ruiz in their first fight
“It was sad to see because he is such a giant of a man and a good fighter. I have a lot of respect for him. He was a good fighter and when he puts it all together and he believes in himself, he’s great to watch.
“I think he can win this fight. But whether I think he will win is another question. He is certainly good enough. Look what he did to Klitchko. He climbed off the floor when everyone thought it was all over.
“He’s a talent and he’s amazing to watch. It would be fantastic for him to regain his belt. ‘