NEW YORK – Anthony Joshua never considered changing trainers after Andy Ruiz Jr. upset him.
Trainers often are used as scapegoats when boxers lose fights they’re supposed to win. Loyalty to longtime trainer Rob McCracken and admitting that his seventh-round, technical-knockout loss to Ruiz was his own fault prevented the British superstar from hiring a new chief second.
Joshua, 29, realizes he made many tactical mistakes June 1 at Madison Square Garden, both on offense and defense. The former IBF/IBO/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion explained why he feels solely responsible for losing a fight he was heavily favored to win while he and Ruiz were promoting their immediate rematch during a three-day, three-country press junket that concluded Friday in London.
“The style was wrong,” Joshua said. “The style was wrong. Looking from the outside, if I’m looking at it from Rob’s point of view, I’ve gotta put myself in Rob’s shoes, thinking, ‘What is he doing, man?’ Do you know what I mean? Take myself out of that body and look at what I’ve done, everything wrong.”
Joshua credits McCracken, one of his amateur coaches, for not only guiding him to the top of the heavyweight division, but also for turning around his life outside the ring. That’s why Joshua ignored skeptics that insist he needs to replace McCracken.
“That’s why I say it’s my own fault,” Joshua replied when asked if he abandoned their game plan versus Ruiz. “That’s why people talk about, ‘Oh, change trainer,’ or, ‘Give me advice. Give me this advice’ – I’ve got the best man beside me, that’s taken me there, that’s gonna take me all the way. You know? So, it was me. I blame myself. I look myself in the mirror, and I blame myself. So, I’ll get it right. I’ll get it right.”
Now that their press tour has ended, Joshua (22-1, 21 KOs), of Watford, England, and Ruiz (33-1, 22 KOs), of Imperial, California, can begin training for their rematch, scheduled for December 7 in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia. Even though Ruiz knocked him down four times, stopped him and ruined Joshua’s debut in the United States, most handicappers have installed Joshua as a 3-1 favorite in their rematch.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.