Iron sharpens iron, as the kids say.
According to trainer Robert Garcia, former heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua will benefit from having a full camp training alongside elite fighters such as Errol Spence Jr., the three-belt welterweight champion, and Jermell Charlo, the undisputed junior middleweight champion.
England’s Joshua linked up with Derrick James of Texas, the trainer of Spence and Charlo, earlier this year ahead of Joshua’s April 1 showdown against Jermaine Franklin of Michigan at the O2 Arena in London. Unlike in previous training camps, Joshua is conducting his current away from home, at James’ Dallas gym.
Joshua hired Garcia to train him ahead of his last fight, a rematch against WBO, WBA, IBF champion Oleksandr Usyk, last August in Saudi Arabia. Joshua lost on points, his second in a row to the Ukrainian southpaw. Many onlookers felt, however, that Joshua had improved under Garcia’s stewardship, although Garcia did not hold back on what he felt were his then-charge’s flaws during the fight.
Now, with the news that Joshua is not only working with James but working out of James’ own gym, Garcia feels like he has been heard.
“The big difference is coming to the United States,” Garcia said of Joshua in an interview with iD Boxing. “Now he’s in a gym where there are times, there are rules, there are schedules. Derrick James has a schedule all day long with three other great fighters, world champions, guys that need their own time, guys that need to be there at a certain time.
“So that already itself is what’s going to make the difference. Derrick James is already a great trainer, just like I am. Just like Freddie Roach is. Derrick James is also one of the best at this moment.”
In addition to Spence and Charlo, James also handles top lightweight contender Frank Martin.
Garcia, who previously insisted that Joshua needed to get away from his base in England to a world-class gym, is optimistic that his former charge will quickly reap the benefits of his new situation.
“Just the fact that he came to the states and did what I asked for, that’s already a big difference,” Garcia said. “That is going to make the difference. Him training in the gym where Errol Spence could be training with him and he might feel like today, ‘Oh, I want to take an easy day, today instead of 10 rounds I’ll just do six, when you have the champion right there next to you training, pushing you to do those extra four rounds you don’t want to do, that makes a big f------ difference honestly.
“That’s why here in my gym I have guys like Raymond Muratalla who is probably going to fight his first 10-round fight, but he sees Jose Ramirez, he sees Bam [Rodriguez] sparring 10, 12 rounds, he wants to be the same. He wants to be able to do the same. He can’t say ‘Oh, today I don’t want to do it.’ He’s gonna feel embarrassed that the other ones are doing it and you want to be a champion and you’re not doing it?
“If you want to be a champion you have to do what the champions are doing.”
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