By Barry Holbrook: Eddie Hearn says Anthony Joshua is going through a significant change in his training environment since enlisting U.S. coach Derrick James as his new guy in his corner.
Instead of Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) being the boss, telling his trainer what to do, as he’s done in the past, he’s now being “told” what to do by James, says Hearn.
That’s a big change from how things have been for the pampered 2012 Olympic gold medalist during his nine-year professional career, and Hearn is anxious, as everyone is, to see the ‘new’ Joshua when he tangles with American Jermaine Franklin on April 1st at the O2 Arena in London.
Unfortunately, things about Joshua are impossible for Derrick James or any coach to change. For example, Joshua’s punch resistance will always be weak, and that’s not something Derrick can improve, no matter what he tries. Likewise, Joshua’s poor cardio will continue to be a problem.
The best way for James to deal with Joshua’s horrible stamina is for him to fight all out from the opening bell, looking to score quick knockouts like he’d been doing earlier in his career when he would jump on his opponents right away, mowing them down with power shots.
“I see a guy that has worked really hard. He was very tired yesterday after a long camp out there,” said Eddie Hearn to K.O. Artist Sports when asked if he’s seen any changes in Anthony Joshua with him now trained by Derrick James in Texas.
“It’s hard for me to explain to you the difference in the camps that I saw. On the one side, he [Joshua] was at the Institute of Sport in England with lots of people and ten rings and the Olympic setup and scientists.
“Then I went to Derrick James’ gym, which is extremely humble, and all you need, and that’s the thing. I think what made AJ realize. Errol Spence was in here yesterday, and he was here the other day and sparred, I think, 11 rounds. He doesn’t even have a fight. It’s just hard work.
“I feel like the problem with back home in England in that setup was, he was almost like God,” Hearn said about Joshua. “He didn’t want it to be that way, but he would walk in, and he’d be in a situation where everyone would say, ‘What do you want to do, AJ?’
“Now, he’s just being told. He’s worked really hard, and he’s ready to fight on April 1st,” Hearn said about Joshua.