Roy Jones Jr. believes he has the ability to get Anthony Joshua back to his winning ways.
The Hall of Fame boxer and current trainer recently revealed that he will have a serious discussion with the former heavyweight champion from London about becoming his coach. Joshua is coming off a second consecutive loss to WBA, WBO, IBF champion Oleksandr Usyk in August in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Jones said he will meet with Joshua soon in Brighton, the British seaside town where Jones’ top client, Chris Eubank Jr. lives and trains. Jones will be preparing Eubank for a potential clash with countryman Liam Smith in December. Eubank was originally supposed to take on Conor Benn in a 157-pound catchweight bout in October, but Benn was revealed to have tested positive for a banned substance a few days out from the fight, which was eventually nixed.
Jones, who also trains lightweight Ikram Kerwat, spoke glowingly of Joshua but also insisted that there is plenty of room for improvement — and Jones is confident he is the personage who can get the fallen heavyweight back to his lofty heights.
“I spoke to him at the fight last weekend,” Jones said of his meeting with Joshua in Abu Dhabi for the light heavyweight title bout between Dmitry Bivol and Gilberto Ramirez during an interview with SecondsOut.com “And my opinion he still has everything necessary to become champ again. I’ll get him in the gym and look at him, assess his game, and I think he'll be back to the top in six to eight months. I got a good long-term plan for him. If he agrees on a plan, which I haven’t told him, but I do have a plan for him, because I feel like you know in boxing I kind of know how to go for a guy most of the time.
“I kind of know the best route for him to take because I’ve been watching his whole career. I definitely have a good plan in mind for him. When he comes to see me in Brighton when I go train Chris, we’ll speak about it, I’ll assess him in the gym, then I’ll tell him what my plan is. If he likes the plan, we’ll get him the plan. If he don’t like the plan, then he’ll go find someone that suits him.”
Joshua parted ways with his longtime coach Robert McCracken after his points loss to Usyk in their first fight. Joshua elevated assistant trainer Angel Fernandez and went out and hired veteran Robert Garcia ahead of the Usyk rematch.
It is not clear if Joshua will continue to work with either Fernandez or Garcia. After the fight, Garcia caused some controversy after remarks he made to a Spanish-language website were construed as critical of Joshua.
Jones said his “plan” for Joshua is as much mental as anything else. Joshua was roundly lambasted by the boxing world for acting poorly shortly after Usyk was declared the winner of their rematch.
Initially, it appeared Joshua was going to get back into the ring as soon as December, against WBC titlist Tyson Fury, no less, but talks for those fights never got over the finish line. Jones said he told Joshua that he was “glad” he did not rush back into the ring, saying he needs some time to recover.
“His mindset really don’t need correcting, but it’s a lot of way to nurture that mindset, and that’s what my point is,” Jones said. “The whole plan I got is really built on mindset. So it’s like I’m glad – I told him – I’m glad you’re not fighting again right away because I would like to see you change a few things, reset your mind first, then go back out.
“Because if you go back out with the same game that you had yourself and everybody knows what changed. Like when he fought Usyk. What changed? Nothing. We gotta change things to expect a different outcome. So if I can get him for four or five months, change a few things then it’s possible to get some different outcomes. That’s my plan.”
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn has stated that the winner of the Dillian Whyte vs. Jermaine Franklin heavyweight bout on Nov. 26 at Wembley Arena in London could become the frontrunner to face Joshua in the first quarter of 2023. Other opponents that have been floated as possibilities for Joshua include southpaw Swede Otto Wallin and Croatia’s Filip Hrgovic.