Anthony Joshua has studied how Mike Tyson’s career was shaped by different trainers – but says his bond with Rob McCracken is stronger than ever.
Joshua began his training camp to fight Oleksandr Usyk without his long-time head trainer McCracken who was at the Tokyo Olympics in his role as Team GB Director of Performance.
The IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight championships will be on the line when Joshua collides with Usyk on September 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
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Joshua told Sky Sports that he missed McCracken during his absence: “Definitely. Rob is the gaffer. Having the gaffer there, or not there? You feel his presence.
“But in a way it worked out well because we have got a good team.
“I always look at old-school training – Manny Pacquiao had Freddie Roach. Kevin Rooney, Teddy Atlas and Cus D’Amato [with Mike Tyson].
“Certain athletes move to different trainers.
“But we kept it all in-house. We are able to perform and train, even when one person is away, we are still able to construct a good training camp.”
Joshua added Angel Fernandez and Joby Clayton to his training set-up after his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr but, all the while, doubled down on his faith in McCracken.
Tyson Fury, by contrast, has won major fights with his uncle Peter Fury, Ben Davison and Sugarhill Steward as his trainers. Deontay Wilder has appointed Malik Scott as his new trainer before fighting Fury again on October 9.
Usyk has reunited with Anatoly Lomachenko, the father of pound-for-pound star Vasiliy and the man who coached him to an Olympic gold medal.
But Joshua has remained steadfast in his commitment to McCracken after taking lessons from boxing history.
“There are so many great old-school trainers,” he said. “I like to look at not only the athlete, but who trained them.
“Angelo Dundee, for Muhammad Ali, was a motivational person who realised that giving him positive affirmations spurred him on. “He let him be ‘I’m the greatest!’
“Then Cus D’Amato was his [Tyson’s] psychologist. You look at different systems and what works for different athletes.
“The Ingle system? You know that if you walk into the Ingle gym you become part of a system. If you buy into the system you are probably ticking your name off as a champion.
“A coach can train the same system but has to understand what makes individuals tick.
“I might need motivation: ‘Come on champ, do it for your kids!’ You might need: ‘More work, we’re doing 20 rounds!’
Joshua said of McCracken: “I’ve got to win a fight for Rob. I’ve got to want to fight for Rob.
“When I go onto the battlefield. If you don’t get along with your coach and believe in him wholeheartedly?”
Sky Sports Boxing schedule
September 25 – Sky Sports Box Office
Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk – IBF, WBA, WBO heavyweight titles
Lawrence Okolie vs Dilan Prasovic – WBO cruiserweight title
Chris Eubank Jr vs Sven Elbir
David Avanesyan vs Liam Taylor – European welterweight title
Richard Riakpohre vs Krzysztof Twardowski
Mikael Lawal vs Steven Ward
Savannah Marshall vs Lolita Muzeya – WBO middleweight title
Hughie Fury vs Christian Hammer
Jamel Herring vs Shakur Stevenson – WBO super-featherweight title
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight title