Anthony Joshua confirms Angel Fernandez as new trainer ahead of Oleksandr Usyk rematch

  • Tom Ward
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Anthony Joshua has announced he has promoted Angel Fernandez to the role of head trainer ahead of his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.

The Spaniard, who also corners Frazer Clarke, Kieran Molloy and Richard Riakporhe, is stepping into Rob McCracken’s role and will work alongside AJ’s physio Ian Gatt.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn revealed at the start of January that Joshua will make an announcement regarding his team in the coming weeks having faced criticism for his tentative approach to the second defeat of his career.

The Watford warrior was convincingly beaten by the Ukrainian in September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, leading to calls for him to sack McCracken.

However, McCracken is still expected to be involved in some capacity, as he remains an integral part of his training set-up.

AJ has spent the past few months training with a selection of coaches across the United States and United Arab Emirates, including Eddy Reynoso, Virgil Hunter and Floyd Mayweather, since his September loss to the Ukraine great.

But it seems the search is finally over as Joshua confirmed that he has promoted Fernandez to lead the quest to win back his heavyweight titles from Usyk.

Fernandez, who was also in his corner for his fight against Kubrat Pulev, also served as assistant coach for his rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr in Saudi Arabia in 2019.

Boxing – WBA, IBF & WBO Heavyweight Titles – Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain – September 25, 2021 Anthony Joshua reacts after losing his fight against Oleksandr Usyk Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

Joshua told Behind The Gloves: “I’m working with Angel Fernandez right now.

“He’s been in my camp for the last three years anyway.

“He’s been in the last three world championships.”

Asked if that means Fernandez is now his official ‘main’ trainer, Joshua replied: “Yeah, man.”

Hearn recently admitted that he felt it was time for a change as he suggested that Joshua had got too comfortable in his surroundings.

He previously said: “Rob McCracken is more than just a trainer to AJ.

Boxing – WBA, IBF & WBO Heavyweight Titles – Anthony Joshua v Oleksandr Usyk – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain – September 25, 2021 Anthony Joshua in action against Oleksandr Usyk Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge

“He’s a friend. He’s a mentor. He’s an advisor.

“I think a change of scenery for AJ is sometimes good. I think it was refreshing for him when he went over to America recently. Going from getting mobbed wherever he is in the UK to that not happening.

“I’m not saying people don’t know him in America, but it’s different to not being able to walk around here. You’re getting photographed everywhere and the thing with AJ is that he’s got time for everybody.

“That can be extra draining. Sometimes he’s taken half an hour’s worth of photographs before he’s even got into training.

“There are fine margins between success and failure and those little percentages of rest relate to that.

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Where was Anthony Joshua born?

“He’s had 14 years in Sheffield now. It’s an incredible facility, but he is God there. The amateurs look up to him and his picture is everywhere.

“I say we have to go rough and rugged but he’s got to have that challenger mentality in this fight and he’s got it.

“Everything I hear from him tells me that he wants to win badly and bash Usyk up, which I didn’t hear any of going into the first fight. He’s angry, which is good.

“No decision has been made yet but I do think a change of scenery would be good for him in terms of where his training camp’s based.”

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