Anthony Joshua has been advised to spend more time working with his new trainer before fighting Deontay Wilder.
Joshua, 33, teamed up with coach Derrick James before his recent win against Jermaine Franklin after splitting with two coaches in the space of two years. ‘AJ’ parted ways with longtime trainer Robert McCracken after losing his unified heavyweight titles to Oleksandr Usyk in September 2021 and the Brit split with Robert Garcia after just one fight when he lost to Usyk in their rematch last August.
Talks of a showdown between former champions Joshua and Wilder are in the works for December but boxing legend Roy Jones Jr thinks ‘AJ’ shouldn’t take the fight. Jones has told Joshua to spend more time working with James before facing a knockout artist such as Wilder, who hasn’t fought since knocking out Robert Helenius in one round last October.
“It’s a very tough fight for him. I love AJ to death and I think he’s a great fighter. But his issue right now is dealing with punches coming back at him, so you don’t want to fight Wilder,” Jones told Boxing News. Those punches that will be coming at you from him are different to anybody else in the division, so he’s got to go get that taken care of before he goes in front of Wilder.”
Joshua confirmed his plans to fight Wilder when bumping into a fan, as the former two-time heavyweight champion said: “It’s public news, we’re getting it on and throwing it down in December.” Wilder has publicly stated his plans to face Joshua by promising fans they will get their “dream fight”.
Jones thinks the relationship between a fighter and coach takes a while to gel, which is why he thinks Joshua should delay fighting Wilder.
The ring legend added: “Sometimes it takes time for a fighter and trainer to get their whole aspect together. Apparently, that hasn’t happened straight away, but if they stay together, then maybe they’ll finally get some continuity.
“They definitely didn’t get any in that first fight. Hopefully they get better as they go, it sometimes takes bit of time for things to kick in for a fighter and they get on the same page. So hopefully in the next couple of fights they’ll get better and start to gel, because in that fight they didn’t gel much at all.”