Anthony Joshua has reached a crossroads moment in his career: beating Oleksandr Usyk in their riveting rematch, reclaiming his titles and getting back on the ‘road to the undisputed’, or losing and seeing how the 6-foot-9 figure of Tyson Fury inches fades into the distance.
And with that comes a rather poignant question. Should he stay or should he go now? No, it’s not what The Clash was referring to in its 1982 hit, but it is a message that perhaps fits the occasion rather.
Sticking with long-term coach Rob McCracken, who received widespread criticism after the Briton’s unanimous decision loss to Usyk, could lead to problems. But forging a new relationship a few months before the biggest fight of his career? Well, that could lead to double.
So far, nothing is set in stone. Promoter Eddie Hearn canceled, but did not categorically rule out, talks about a new coach, while Joshua has yet to comment. But with the former champion embarking on an American tour, visiting four famous trainers across the country to date, it seems like a new era could be upon us soon.
Ricky Hatton, a former two-weight world champion and now a coach, recognizes the benefits that any Virgil Hunter, Eddy Reynoso, Ronnie Shields or Robert Garcia could bring to Joshua.
Anthony Joshua fell in a unanimous unanimous decision loss to Oleksandr Usyk in September, but will meet the Ukrainian again early next year.
The future of long-term coach Rob McCracken (left) is now up in the air
“They are obviously good coaches,” Hatton told Sportsmail. ‘They are proven in their achievements; As a coach, they have achieved what I aspire to do.
‘When I went with Floyd Mayweather Sr., he showed me some little moves and parts to add to my game. Everything was new and different, build your confidence and I think that’s what AJ needs.
“He’s been with Robert since day one, and while they and the Team GB setup have done a momentous job, he may just want to reinvent himself.”
McCracken, who also enjoyed success while coaching three-time super middleweight champion Carl Froch, has been in the spotlight for some time, particularly after Joshua suffered a shocking loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in his United States debut. United.
Many implored Joshua to part ways with his family mentor at the time, but he ignored the noise and instead chose to expand his team by adding coaches Ángel Fernández and Joby Clayton, before putting on an impressive boxing display when he regained his belts. in Saudi Arabia.
Hatton believes Joshua should take a similar route once again, rather than end his long-term relationship with McCracken, which predates his 2012 Olympic gold medal.
Joshua visited Eddy Reynoso, Canelo Alvarez’s coach, during his stay in America
He was also filmed talking to Ronnie Shields, Mike Tyson’s former trainer, during the trip.
The former champion also visited Robert Garcia and Virgil Hunter during his stay in the United States.
He said, ‘If he wanted my advice, why doesn’t Rob go to American with him and work together? Rob can describe to the coach that AJ chooses how he works, how he likes to trade.
‘Let’s get it right, if you go to a new coach, they will start from scratch. A coach has to know a fighter, what he prefers, what he doesn’t like. If Rob goes with him, I think it’s the smartest move they could make.
Those inside the box particularly understood the task Joshua had before his much anticipated fight against Usyk, with the Ukrainian already considered a pound-for-pound number one contender following his historic exploits at cruiserweight.
The possibility of a surprise was never ruled out, but it was the way AJ fell in defeat that left many, including Hatton, somewhat perplexed. A good big man beats a good smaller man, as the old saying goes. And Joshua, a 6-foot-6-inch Adonis with shocking power and obvious boxing ability, certainly had the attributes to make things more difficult for Usyk.
However, he opted to box the skilled southpaw, rather than use his obvious physical advantages, continuing his questionable approach from the first stroke to the last, to which he almost succeeded.
Hatton, who insists he “thinks of AJ’s world,” says this will have to change in the rematch.
Joshua did not take advantage of his physical advantages against the pound-for-pound contender
“He never changed anything, which wasn’t working,” Hatton said. “ I always say in boxing that you have to have a Plan B and he seemed like he didn’t.
Usyk is a master boxer, he moves fantastic, he shakes his head well. But it looked like a high-quality 12-round amateur fencing match. His main attribute is his movement and skill, but AJ also has great boxing skill and movement, and he can also mix it up and get caught.
“If Plan A doesn’t work, try Plan B. And if Plan A doesn’t work, you don’t keep doing Plan A for the rest of the fucking fight.”
While he admits that maybe easier said than done, Hatton’s game plan for the rematch is straightforward.
Hatton says: “I would keep the tactics very simple:” He (Usyk) beat me last time, this time I’m going to screw you. “At this level, it’s probably not as simple as that, but I think there’s a lot AJ has to go with. to offer ‘.
There are many, including the likes of Fury’s promoter duo Frank Warren and Bob Arum, who have already ruled Joshua in the rematch, with the latter insisting that Usyk is simply “too smart for him.”
Hatton takes a different stance. The physical advantages that Joshua possesses, for the great Brits, remain a predominant factor: it is only up to Joshua to use them.
Eddie Hearn (right) has confirmed that Joshua has activated the rematch clause to fight Usyk again.
Ricky Hatton (left) insists that Joshua has all the tools to emerge victorious in the fight he must win.
Hatton said: ‘In the rematch, a lot of people say that Usyk will do the same thing again, just that he’ll hit the gas a little earlier and could stop AJ. I think the opposite.
‘You have to be able to adapt, and if there is something AJ has, it is that adaptability. He can box, as he proved by winning Olympic gold and regaining the heavyweight title. He can mix it up; He was involved in a brutal fight with (Wladimir) Klitschko, so he’s not afraid to go out. You can fight at a pace, relax, and box.
‘AJ has all the advantages: the size, the reach, the power, the strength. The only chance Usyk has is if he can box him or lead him to a punch. So when AJ has so many strings on his bow, why did he use only one string? It was really mind-blowing.
But he is a smart fighter, he will watch the last fight and learn from it. I think he will perform better next time. ‘
Although Hatton believes that Joshua can become a three-time world champion, he also believes that naysayers can have a positive impact on the Briton.
My advice if AJ was listening to me now: everyone has ruled you out anyway, everyone thinks Usyk is going to win the fight even more comfortably, use that as fuel to ram them down their throats.
“If they think they’re going to beat you anyway, you’ve got nothing to lose, son.” F ****** go grab him by the balls. ‘
Hatton spoke to Sportsmail on behalf of FightZone, a new streaming app that focuses on professional boxing in small rooms.
Previously retired heavyweight Dave Allen chose FightZone over DAZN for his comeback
Hatton was speaking to Sportsmail on behalf of FightZone, which, spearheaded by Brit’s long-term promoter Dennis Hobson, is a new streaming app that focuses on British professional boxing in small rooms, showing a live show every week and with the goal of helping future champions build their careers.
Fightzone has already shown area titles and a British title fight, and will show two world title fights in November.
“Dennis is great to work with,” Hatton said of his work with FightZone. “I spent some of the best nights of my life with him.
‘During the confinement, he opened the outdoor shows and people who might not have a chance at BT or Sky got their chance. With programs like that, although they are small, with social networks these children can make a name for themselves. ‘
For LIVE boxing action every week, visit Fightzone