Anthony Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken has confessed he was aware that the British heavyweight had suffered a concussion in round three of his defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1.
McCracken made the startling admission as he prepares to make amends for Joshua’s only ever professional defeat when the two heavyweights meet again in Saudi Arabia on December 7.
Joshua was sent to the canvas in the third round by the underdog Mexican Ruiz Jr and McCracken has stated he was desperate to get his fighter through a few more rounds despite being aware of his concussion.
The British heavyweight was floored twice more in the seventh round, when referee Mike Griffin finally called a halt to the brutally one sided contest.
Brain injury charity Headway have slammed McCracken for failing to protect his fighter after it was abundantly clear that AJ had suffered a serious injury early in the fight.
- AJ thinks that KSI and Logan Paul's fight will be 'sick'
- AJ shows off new physique ahead of Andy Ruiz rematch
- Check out our new GIVEMESPORT homepage
Deputy chief executive Luke Griggs revealed, per SunSport: “It’s a shocking admission but it’s highly unlikely that this is an isolated incident.
“Trainers have a duty of care to their boxers and it seems clear that Anthony Joshua’s trainer’s sole priority was winning that fight, not protecting the fighter from a potentially fatal injury.
We know once you’ve had a concussion, any subsequent blow can exacerbate the damage. You are most at risk of having a particularly serious brain injury if the brain has already been damaged and a concussion has already been sustained.
“In that moment, he was particularly vulnerable to a more serious injury. One wonders how many deaths in the ring over the years have resulted from win-at-all-costs mentality.”
McCracken came under fire for Joshua’s sub-par performance in the wake of his first pro defeat, but hit back at critics who labelled the trainer ‘naive’ and ‘reckless’.
“I know him better than all these experts who virtually don’t know him or have met him once or twice so I knew he was concussed and I’m trying to get him through a few more rounds, one round at a time, and see where he’s at,” McCracken told BBC’s 5Live boxing podcast.
“Can he recover? Can he get back into this? But he was glaze-eyed from when he got caught with that initial shot in round three and he carried that with him up until the end.
“I’ve worked with him for nine years and I knew he wasn’t quite where he needed to be. He was asking me why he was feeling this way and stuff.”
Earlier this week, McCracken rubbished suggestions Joshua had started to look for alternative trainers that could give the 29-year-old a competitive edge heading into the blockbuster rematch in December where the WBA, IBF and WBO titles will all be on the line.
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.
“It’s nothing I care too much about. Me and Anthony have a great relationship, he doesn’t just train with me, he’s trained 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.”News Now - Sport News