Robert Garcia was all in for training one of boxing’s biggest heavyweight stars in Anthony Joshua ahead of the Londoner’s upcoming rematch against Oleksandr Usyk, on August 20 in Saudi Arabia.
There was just one stipulation that he required before he signed on to be part of Team Joshua.
The Riverside, California-based veteran trainer wanted complete assurance that he would be able to take time off to be in the corner on fight night for any of his world champions.
One of Garcia’s titleholders includes Jesse “Bam” Rodriguez, the 22-year-old super flyweight champion from San Antonio, Texas, who will be defending his WBC 115-pound belt against former Thai champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai June 25 at Tech Port Arena in San Antonio. Rodriguez (15-0, 10 KOs) put himself on the boxing map earlier this year when he moved up a division to handily defeat longtime super flyweight stalwart Carlos Cuadras by unanimous decision at Footprint Center in Phoenix.
Garcia, who is currently in England working alongside Joshua’s longtime assistant trainer Angel Fernandez, will be in Rodriguez’s corner come fight night.
“For Bam’s fight I’m travelling from England to San Antonio Thursday, get there Friday,” Garcia told Little Giant Boxing. “Stay for the fight and Sunday morning I fly back to London. That was a condition.”
Garcia says he may also be in the corner of Rodriguez’s brother, fellow 115-pound titlist (WBA “World”) Joshua Franco. There is talk that Franco (18-1-2, 8 KOs) could face Mexican champion (WBA “Super”) Juan Francisco Estrada this summer. In that scenario, Garcia would also be able to take off from training Joshua to be with Franco on fight night.
“In that same time if I get Josh to fight ‘Gallo’ Estrada in the same time, I’ll be able to fly to Josh’s fight, too,” Garcia said. “That was the deal. With that condition that if I get one of my champions to fight, I’m gonna be able to travel. And they said ‘yes.’ I’m glad they were okay with it, too.”
Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) himself has expressed fondness for Garcia and the world-class training experience he will presumably bring to the team. His rematch with the southpaw Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs), is expected to land at Jeddah Super Dome.
“We’re just working on a few things,” Joshua said of Garcia in an interview with IFL TV. “It’s not about changing style as such, in my opinion. Garcia’s style might be crouch down and bob and weave, but I’m a six-foot-six heavyweight. It’s not about changing style, it’s about his experience and what he knows at the championship level, etc. Adding that to the camp is priceless in my opinion.”