Derrick James is confident that he will get to a satisfactory point with his new charge Anthony Joshua.
The well-regarded trainer from Dallas, Texas, linked up with the former heavyweight champion from England earlier this year ahead of Joshua’s fight against Michigan’s Jermaine Franklin on April 1 at The O2 Arena in London. Joshua wound up defeating Franklin by unanimous decision, but there was a loud chorus of criticism in some sectors of the boxing world insisting Joshua looked timid and hesitant.
In a recent interview, James responded to the notion that Joshua has regressed, saying that Joshua simply fought according to James’ strategy. James, who also trains unified welterweight champion Errol Spence Jr. and undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo, said the key will be to continue honing Joshua’s skill in the gym.
“I don’t quit until my guys get it,” James said of his work ethic in an interview with ES News. “If there’s something that I think is significant, then I’m gonna keep pushing, keep working until they get it. If they don’t get it, I gotta keep on pushing. If they don’t get it, I take all the fault.
“People talk about Anthony Joshua [not looking good in the Franklin fight]—he fought the fight that I wanted him to fight. I know you may think something else, but he fought the fight that I wanted him to be prepared to fight. The more time you get together, you’ll see a different guy. I want to make sure we get everything down."
Added James, “He won every round [in the Franklin fight].”
Joshua, 33, is in talks to face former titlist Deontay Wilder in December in the Middle East. Depending on how negotiations fare for that fight, Joshua could return for an interim bout in the summer.
Sean Nam is the author of the forthcoming book Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing