Rob McCracken brushes off AJ replacement talk ahead of Ruiz Jr rematch

‘I’m the head coach whilst he wants me’: Rob McCracken brushes off talk that Anthony Joshua is looking to REPLACE him as trainer calls for British heavyweight to ‘redeem himself’ in Andy Ruiz Jnr rematch

  • Anthony Joshua lost his heavyweight titles in a shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jnr
  • After the defeat, calls were made for Joshua to replace coach Rob McCracken
  • Rumours circulated that Joshua approached Ismael Salas to be his new coach
  • McCracken has spoken about the rumours and has backed AJ to reclaim his belts

Anthony Joshua’s coach Rob McCracken has rubbished talk that the former heavyweight champion of the world was scouting out a new coach following his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jnr earlier this year. 

Joshua lost his heavyweight crown in June to Ruiz Jnr in New York in what many labelled one of the sport’s biggest upsets. The Briton was knocked down four times before the fight was called to a halt in the seventh round. 

And the nature of the 29-year-old’s defeat left many questions raised as to the people surrounding the star, with calls being made for Joshua to part ways with his long-time trainer and seek out a new coach – a suggestion McCracken rubbished in conversation with TheSportsman.com.

Rob McCracken has responded to speculation that Anthony Joshua needs a new head coach 

Questions were raised about Joshua’s preparation following his shock defeat to Andy Ruiz Jnr

Rumours circulated that Joshua had approached David Haye’s former trainer Ismael Salas to take the reins from McCracken, but that the veteran coach turned him down.

McCracken has responded to the talk, saying he will remain the head coach until circumstances change.

Speaking to TheSportsman.com, he said: ‘I think those comments are predictable. 

‘You have people in the sport who look at the negatives and you have those who try to make it better and make it work going forward.

Ismael Salas, David Haye’s former trainer, was one man mooted to take McCracken’s position

McCracken (left) rubbished suggestions that the heavyweight was looking to replace him

‘It’s nothing I care too much about. Me and Anthony have a great relationship, he doesn’t just train with me, he trains with a variety of people over the years, but I’m the head coach whilst he wants me to be head coach. 

‘He’s a great guy, we get on very well and I believe he can achieve other great things in the sport.’

The 51-year-old, who trained former world champion Carl Froch, moved on from talk of an exit and instead looked ahead to Joshua’s highly-anticipated rematch with Ruiz Jnr, scheduled to take place in Saudi Arabia later this year.

‘I think the key factor is that Anthony stays calm, doesn’t rush and uses his reach to control Ruiz,’ he said.

‘In the first fight, he rushed it when he knocked Ruiz down, it’s very clear what he did wrong and he got caught. 

‘It’s a lesson learnt and I hope he can put it right in the rematch.’

‘He’s just going to learn from the fight and prepare diligently. Listen Ruiz is a great fighter, he’s a heavyweight champion and Anthony has got to be at his very best to beat Ruiz and win those titles back and he’s aware of that and that’s what he plans to do.’ 

Anthony Joshua 

Joshua most commonly known as AJ

Nationality: UK

Age: 29

Division: Heavyweight 

Stance: Orthodox 

Height: 6ft 6in (198cm)

Reach: 82in (208cm)

Bouts: 22

Pro Rounds: 84

Wins: 22

Wins by KO: 21 

Losses: 1

Draws: 0 

Andy Ruiz Jr 

Andy Ruiz Jr aka The Destroyer

Nationality: USA

Age: 29

Division: Heavyweight

Stance: Orthodox 

Height: 6ft 2in (188cm)

Reach: 74in (188cm)

Bouts: 33

Pro Rounds: 144 

Wins: 33

Wins by KO: 22

Losses: 1

Draws: 0 

McCracken remains head coach, despite rumours that Joshua had looked for other options

‘A heavyweight champion will take the option to get his titles back and redeem himself.’

Fans and pundits have also noticed that Joshua has trimmed down in size since the loss at Madison Square Garden, and McCracken has said that AJ will be leaner when he hits the scales ahead of the December 7 rematch.

‘His weights not the be all and end all,’ he said. ‘He will come into the fight a bit leaner with a bit less muscle, but not a lot, it’s not a big deal.

‘He’s a big guy anyway, he’s a huge guy, he will come in slightly leaner, but Ruiz will also. They both plan to come into this fight leaner.’




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