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Why Joshua lost to Usyk -former coach explains

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Anthony Joshua’s ex-trainer explains why rematch game plan failed against Oleksandr Usyk but highlights change for Francis Ngannou fight

Anthony Joshua’s former coach Angel Fernandez feels he needed a ‘miracle’ to overturn the heavyweight’s defeat to Oleksandr Usyk.

Joshua suffered two consecutive defeats to current unified heavyweight world champion Usyk in 2021 and 2022, despite a change of training team in between.

Joshua ditched long-term coach Rob McCracken and linked up with Angel Fernandez and Robert Garcia, who formed a two-man corner team for the sequel.

Despite making significant improvements, the Briton fell to a split decision defeat which saw him part ways with Fernandez and Garcia.

He has now linked up with Ben Davison, who inspired a much more inspiring stoppage demolition of Otto Wallin late last year.

Fernandez with AJ

But Fernandez believes he may have been able to achieve similar results, if he was given more time to prepare Joshua.

“The game plan for the second fight was an aggressive, counter punching style to put him on the back foot and force him to make a mistake,” Fernandez told newsmen.

“We couldn’t match Usyk for speed at all, so we wanted to initiate. We were watching Usyk and he waited to put the mental pressure on you. That’s when he started countering.

“A lot of people talked about game plans, but once we were there, things quickly changed. Unfortunately I didn’t have enough time with AJ, we can make changes but not miracles.

“I do believe in real life that Usyk is that guy, we made changes but unfortunately it wasn’t good enough.”

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Joshua has since regained form, first linking up with Derrick James who coached him for his points win over Jermaine Franklin, and his booming stoppage of Robert Helenius.

But his last win against Otto Wallin, under the stewardship of Davison, may prove a significant turning point as he quests to win his world titles back.

Fernandez believes the former two-time champion is progressing again and has previewed his upcoming contest with Francis Ngannou on March 8.

He continued: “With fighters you have to start to come back into confidence and belief a bit more in yourself. You have to give him time and progression to get that confidence back.

“If we had two or three fights in between that were win, to get back to who he was before. Now hopefully Ben brings that out of AJ.

“Any fight is dangerous especially against Ngannou. Both great fighters. I think the game plan for AJ is to sit behind the jab, footwork and use the distance.

“That doesn’t mean on the back foot, but he needs to instead get Ngannou to fight on the back foot so I believe he can get the win.”


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