Eddie Hearn has given an update on Anthony Joshua’s hunt for a new trainer ahead of the Brit’s heavyweight rematch with Oleksandr Usyk and says that AJ wants to “bash Usyk up” this time around.
The two-time heavyweight champion was believed to be on the hunt for a potential new trainer following his defeat to the Ukrainian last month and met with at least four US-based coaches whilst on a trip in America.
The 24-2 star met with Canelo’s coach Eddy Reynoso in San Diego, former Amir Khan and Andre Ward tutor Virgil Hunter in Hayward, Jermall Charlo’s chief Ronnie Shields in Texas and Robert Garcia, older brother of four-weight world champion Mikey Garcia, in Oxnard.
Questions were raised over Joshua’s trainer Rob McCracken, who has guided the Watford native throughout his professional career, following the loss to Usyk. While Hearn put no blame at the feet of McCracken, he does feel that a change of scenery would ultimately be a good thing for Joshua.
“Robert McCracken is more than just a trainer to AJ. He’s a friend, he’s a mentor, he’s an advisor. I feel like with AJ, I think a change of scenery is sometimes good,” he told The Sportsman.
“When he went over to America recently, it was quite refreshing for him not to be mobbed literally wherever he is. I think it’s quite draining - not saying people don’t know him in America but it's different to literally not being able to walk, getting photographed everywhere, and the thing with AJ is he’s got time for everyone and that can be extra draining.
“If someone stopped him, he’ll have a photo, and so will another one, and another one. Before you know it, he’s spent half an hour doing that before he’s got to training. The fine margins between success and failure are those little percentages of rest and stuff like that.
“He’s got to have a challenger mentality in this fight and he’s got it. Everything I’m hearing from him tells me he wants to win badly and bash Usyk up, which I didn’t hear any of going into the first fight. He’s angry, which is good but no decision’s been made yet. I do think a change of scenery would be good for him in terms of where his training camp is based.”
Hearn was talking ahead of the stacked card at the Manchester Arena on December 18th, headlined by the heavyweight rematch between Dereck Chisora and Joseph Parker. At Tuesday’s press conference, ‘Del Boy’ was in classic form.
“I am going to tell my management team that we will get an American referee and good judges for the fight as so many times I have been robbed,” Chisora said.
“I am going to say this honestly to you the public and Eddie, I want a good American referee so I need one that isn’t from the British Boxing Board of Control.
"I am upset after the first fight, I don’t believe the fight stats so it shows you how crooked this sport is sometimes, all I want to see is you [Parker] in the ring.
"The only way you win is if Eddie pays the judges and referee for you."
It was a scathing tirade and while he isn’t surprised by Chisora’s often erratic behaviour, having worked with him on numerous occasions over the years, Hearn believes that the 37-year-old isn’t the terrifying figure he once was.
“He’s definitely calmed down a little bit,” he added. “There was a time where he was incredibly violent and you would worry about him picking stuff up. But back then he was scarier than he is now because he’s very temperamental. He’s matured.
“One point I made in the press conference was he really loves boxing. This guy is in the gym not just training, but he’s around young fighters, he spent a lot of time in AJ’s camp around the Usyk fight - he loves it and a lot of people say ‘What’s on the line for these fighters?’
“Don’t worry about what’s on the line for Chisora because he just loves to fight. I think if he had seven losses on the spin, he’d still be going.“