Anthony Joshua has bought all the way into the teachings of his newest head trainer.
The former two-time unified heavyweight titlist even had a fitting assessment of Derrick James.
“He’s the truth,” Joshua told BoxingScene.com, offering an unintentional play on the ring moniker of Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr., a career-long pupil of James. “He is good.”
Joshua set up shop in James’ training facility in the Oak Cliff section of Dallas, Texas well before he officially confirmed his union with the 2022 BoxingScene.com Trainer of the Year. The move marked the first time that England’s Joshua (24-3, 22KOs) has exclusively trained in the U.S., which comes ahead of his scheduled April 1 heavyweight clash versus Jermaine Franklin at The O2 In London.
James represents Joshua’s third head trainer in as many fights.
The 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and former heavyweight ruler spent most of his career under the guidance of Rob McCracken. A change was made following his September 2021 defeat to Oleksandr Usyk (20-0, 13KOs) to end his second tour as the unified WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight champ. Joshua brough in noted cornerman and former IBF junior lightweight titlist Robert Garcia to assist Angel Fernandez ahead of his rematch with Usyk, though he still suffered a split decision defeat at the end of their August 20 unified title fight in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
This past camp has seen Joshua go completely out of his comfort zone, where he has put his faith in the capable hands of one of the sport’s most brilliant boxing minds.
James has trained Spence since 2009, guiding the unbeaten Texan to the 2012 London Olympics and to his current unified WBA, WBC and IBF welterweight title reign. He has also played an integral role in transforming Jermell Charlo into a gifted closer as the Houston-based boxer has emerged as the undisputed junior middleweight champion.
Also emerging under the guidance of James is fast-rising lightweight contender Frank Martin. The addition of Joshua provides James with four completely different styles to work with, though the varying degrees of success from his stable only underlines the level of expertise he brings to any fighter’s career.
“I don’t want to put him under any pressure, I’ve got to fight at the end of the day,” noted Joshua. “But with or without me, the right fighter who stumbles across Derrick is probably going to end up becoming a world champion because he is a really good coach.
“I rate him highly and I trust what he says.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
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