Anthony Joshua had little choice but to shake up his coaching team before heading into a crucial rematch with Oleksandr Usyk this summer. And eight months after surrendering his unified heavyweight titles he finally appears set on the trainer who will navigate him through it.
According to ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, Joshua has parted company with Rob McCracken on a definitive basis and turned to Robert Garcia, the highly-decorated Mexican-American coach with a catalogue of world champions on his CV.
In the wake of his conclusive defeat against Usyk, who proved far too slick and skilled over 12 rounds last September, AJ embarked on a Stateside tour to hunt down a new lead voice for his corner. Virgil Hunter, Ronnie Shields and Eddy Reynoso were all sounded out, but ultimately it was Garcia who impressed most.
His reported decision has earned widespread applause in the boxing world, and rightly so.
Over the best part of two decades Garcia has established himself as the creme de la creme of coaches, working with countless elite names, masterminding 14 world title wins and amassing a lofty reputation as a result.
The 47-year-old is best known for his work with brother and prize student Mikey, a former four-weight world champion whose career only recently derailed after an ambitious-but-costly shot at welterweight chief Errol Spence Jr clearly left a lasting effect.
Before that, under the tutelage of his older sibling, as well as father Eduardo, Mikey had racked up 39 straight victories, claimed world honours at featherweight, super-featherweight, lightweight and super-lightweight, and also emerged as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world.
While his own fighting IQ and mean power is of course what makes him special, Mikey could not have reached those heights without his brother’s wisdom behind him. It is something he has acknowledged in the past.
‘When my dad started feeling the age, getting tired with the laborious work, my brother stepped in for the world-title fights and with his experience as a champion fighter while relying on my dad’s training principles, we make a better team,’ he told the LA Times in 2018.