The coach of the former unified champion of the heavyweight division (over 90.7 kg) Briton Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) is a Spanish specialist Angel Fernandez gave
interview for the British media.
In a conversation, the mentor commented on the defeat of his fighter in a rematch with the unified champion from Ukraine Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13 KOs), responded to criticism addressed to him, spoke about Robert Garcia’s proposal to hold the next camp in his hall in the USA, and also said, how a possible third fight between Joshua and Usyk would have ended.
– The decision of the judges was not in favor of Anthony Joshua. Tell me about that night. Your thoughts.
My thoughts are disappointment. After the fight, we went back to the hotel, reviewed the fight… We definitely could have done more things in some rounds. Obviously the fight was closer to round 10 than the first fight. If the fight had ended there, we would have won. We sort of lost the fight in the last three rounds. But in the middle of the fight, at times you could give your hands more freedom, be a little more aggressive. Look, this is one of the things we wanted to fix right away. But all we can do is revise, reflect and improve next time.
– They criticize the work of your corner during the duel. For example, Robert Garcia said after three rounds that Joshua was ahead. Not many people agree with this. How would you rate the fight?
I thought it would be closer. We told him to go ahead after the ninth round, but what Usyk did in the tenth round is incredible, hats off. We have to give Usyk credit. In the last round we said we had to win this round because I thought it would be close. Maybe if we had taken the last round, the fight could have ended in our favor. But this did not happen.
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What was the original plan for the fight? What would you like Joshua to do in Jeddah?
– Obviously, shake the fighter, deliver three or four strong blows round after round, slow him down and then, in the equator region, start pushing him, working on the body. But Usyk is a very difficult opponent, he is constantly moving. In reality, he’s from Bridgerwait. I know a lot of people talk about stamina and stuff like that, but I think Joshua would have beaten most heavyweights that night. If you saw the fight between Hrgovic and Zhilei, then by the 3rd-4th round the guys were already hugging each other. I believe that Joshua fought at a high pace until round 9, gave his best in round 9, and in 10 he kind of had nothing left. Critics may say we should have done this or that, but trust me, Joshua’s best sparring rounds were 9,10,11,12. And it turned out that the worst segment fell on these rounds.
What do you say to critics about Joshua’s stamina? They say he runs out of steam like Deontay Wilder.
“People don’t understand that in reality, Usyk is a cruiser and his pace is for cruiserweight. He’s not really a heavyweight. As I said, in the fight before ours, the fighters hugged each other after throwing a couple of punches. I think any heavyweight that night would have lost to Joshua. It’s not like it’s about endurance.
— I’m sure you’ve heard criticism of yourself and Robert Garcia. What do you say to people who are wondering about your position on this team? Some people don’t understand your role in the team when you have an experienced coach like Robert Garcia. They say there should be one voice in the corner that Joshua should listen to.
I don’t actually watch critics or listen to what people have to say. We didn’t have any problems with that. In the end, it doesn’t matter if it was my voice or Robert Garcia’s. Our idea was the same from day one. We clearly defined what we need to do. It doesn’t matter who spoke, because Garcia and I had a three-minute conversation during the round about what we needed here and there.
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– How would you rate the interaction in the duel between you and Robert?
“Very good, very good, very good.
– Do you agree with the words of Robert Garcia, who said that in order to get the best out of Joshua, you need to come to his camp in America?
Anthony needs to figure this out on his own. After all, I won’t be the one to convince him. He must do what is best for him. If going to the US and training with other fighters makes him better, I will support him completely.
Did Joshua talk to you after the fight about what he wants to do next?
As for the next fight, no. A few days ago we had a good conversation about what happened. But look, you just need to rebuild him and get his confidence back. I am sure that he will become a three-time world champion.
– Are you 100% sure that in the case of the third fight with Usyk you will win?
– Of course. Compared to the first time, in the second fight, I think he was more comfortable fighting a southpaw. He began to understand Usyk, was much better in defense, he didn’t take many of the hits he missed in the first fight. There was a lot of work on defense, and people think that we, as coaches, do the magic. We don’t do magic, there’s a lot of work behind it. Of this I am sure. And Joshua knows it himself – that if you watch the fight again, you will realize that you could have done a little more. And this “a little more”, I think, will allow us to win.
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