Joshua’s plan to bring an American coach to the UK corresponds with Fury’s pre-fight plan before his rematch with Wilder where he let coach Ben Davison go to bring in Sugar Hill Steward after the pair would not work together
Anthony Joshua’s plan to hire a new coach from America alongside Rob McCracken mirrors rival Tyson Fury’s recruitment of SugarHill Steward before his rematch with Deontay Wilder.
‘AJ’ has been rumoured to be considering a move to the United States to find a new trainer in a bid for rematch victory over Oleksandr Usyk.
But he has spoken out this week ruling out an entire switch away from McCracken who is set to continue his role as Joshua’s head trainer.
Instead the 31-year-old is planning to find a new trainer from America to work alongside his long-term coach, but does not intend to relocate across the Atlantic.
This move is similar to the process Fury went through in forcing a switch from Ben Davison after his draw in the opening meeting of his trilogy with Wilder.
Fury was met with calls to abandon his friend and long-term trainer Davison but opted initially to bring in current coach Steward alongside in his corner.
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However Davison was ultimately unable to work alongside Steward and amicably split with Fury ahead of the rematch.
Many questioned Fury’s tactics after the opening fight, where he was forced to survive a shattering late salvo which sent him to the canvas in the final round as Wilder earned a controversial draw.
And at the time his current trainer Steward was uncertain why Davison had dropped his responsibilities as Fury’s trainer despite the American being declared head trainer.
Steward told Boxing Scene : “I was brought in as the head trainer, but my understanding was that Ben was going to be there as well.
“When news came out that Ben was going to be out of the camp, that was news to me when I heard about it. It was my understanding that Ben was going to be a secondary trainer, but it didn’t turn out that way, and here we are now. I was happy with it either way.”
“Tyson talks about him, and he doesn’t say anything bad about Ben, they said it was a mutual agreement. I’m not going to overthink their relationship when Deontay Wilder is in front of us.”
Fury’s changes paid off, however, as he stopped Wilder in the seventh round of their rematch before knocking him out in their third and final fight earlier this month.
Joshua faced similar critics after his title defence against Usyk after a gun-shy performance in the face of a boxing clinic from his challenger.
And he immediately faced calls from several inside the sport including Dillian Whyte to ditch his trainer after a “poor” tactical performance.
With his tour in America taking him to several gyms, he compiled a four-man shortlist of trainers for the role comprising Eddy Reynoso, Virgil Hunter, Ronnie Shields and Robert Garcia.
And with a wealth of experience on display between the four candidates it looked set for Joshua to ramp up his pursuit of a new head trainer.
But Joshua is only keen to receive new “teachings” from another coach who he hopes can work with McCracken to give him a best chance of regaining his world titles.
“With the new trainer situation it is funny because for 11 years I have been in Sheffield from the age of 19 to 32,” Joshua told IFL TV.
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“I just looked at myself and said I need to get out of this comfort zone, because I need a new coach to learn from as well. I will not be basing myself in the States, I am a UK resident so I am not going out to the States to find a new coach.
“Rob’s in Lithuania so I need to find a new coach for certain points as I train ten or eleven months a year. So I need to step away and get some new teachings from trainers who have trained the likes of like thirteen or fourteen world champions.
“I don’t need anyone that is going to make me, I am a f****** winner but I need to get out and put myself back in the gym. In hindsight I wish I had done these things sooner, but now I can go out there and add things to my game.”
Joshua will now hope to replicate Fury’s success in his own rematch – and keep alive hopes of a ‘Battle of Britain’ for the undisputed heavyweight crown next year.