Anthony Joshua reunited with Rob McCracken: 'He can put on a great performance in his next heavyweight title fight'

Anthony Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken will re-join the preparations to fight Oleksandr Usyk after his commitments at the Olympics and has vowed to “get the sparring right”.

Joshua has spent the past two weeks without his lead trainer McCracken, who is also Team GB’s Performance Director and has been in Tokyo with the Olympians.

The IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight champion puts his belts on the line against mandatory challenger Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London on September 25, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

“He is doing fine, he’s where he needs to be,” McCracken told Sky Sports from Tokyo about Joshua.

“I’ll get back and there will still be seven weeks [before his fight], which is a long time in a 36-minute fight.


“He’s in the position he needs to be in.

“We’ll get back, me and the team, the others [at Tokyo 2020] who work with AJ, so we can put the work together, get the sparring right, get the prep right.

“So he can put on a great performance in his next heavyweight title fight.”

Joshua must recruit southpaw sparring partners to mimic Usyk’s slippery stance.

Irish prospect Thomas Carty and Germany-based Shokran Parwani, who also aided Derek Chisora’s preparation to fight Usyk, have already been used.

Carty previously told Sky Sports: “I am left-handed and I’m light on my feet, I utilise a lot of movement, so I naturally emulate Usyk.

“It’s a tactical advantage but only if utilised properly. I don’t have an extra arm or leg. But I do see the benefits.

“So many orthodox guys have only boxed orthodox fighters.

“It makes me stand out. I’m a young, Irish, southpaw heavyweight – there are no others!”

Parwani told Sky Sports: “I have a little bit of the same style [as Usyk]. “I work more with my feet. I am a slick guy with a lot of movement.

“Usyk is also a slick guy, he isn’t a puncher.

“He doesn’t have power. In rounds nine, 10 or 11? He won’t have the power to fight, and AJ will break him down.”

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Joshua, speaking about his training without McCracken present, compared it to Usyk’s training camp.

“Usyk will bring in Vasiliy Lomachenko’s dad. He works with Russ Anber,” Joshua said.

“I have a list of different nutritionists and strength and conditioning coaches that he will bring in for this fight.

“He is changing his team because people have a wealth of knowledge.

“It’s been good having a wider team and working collectively.”

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn added: “Rob is a massive part of AJ’s corner and his life.”

Promoter Bob Arum previously revealed the crucial change in Usyk’s team: “Egis Klimas, who is the manager of [Lomachenko and Usyk], I talk with him and he has talked with the father of Lomachenko, who he calls ‘Papachenko’ who was the trainer of all these Ukrainian Olympians and he’s agreed to properly train Usyk for this fight.

“I’m telling you, ‘Don’t think that Joshua is in a cake walk. He has a really tough fight with Usyk, who is a terrific boxer.’

“His father wouldn’t train anyone else, but he will train Usyk, because Usyk is like family.”

Lomachenko told Sky Sports: “He has a very big chance but it won’t be easy because Joshua also knows what he must do in the ring.

“Joshua also knows boxing, he has also had amateur experience.

“It will be an interesting fight, very interesting.”

Asked about Joshua’s considerably bigger and heavier frame, Lomachenko replied: “But Oleksandr is much faster.

“It will be a fight between styles.”

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