Anthony Joshua’s new coach has been confirmed in American Derrick James for his April 1st get-back fight against Jermaine Franklin, live on DAZN at the O2 Arena in London.
James is well-known in the U.S. as the coach for superstars Errol Spence Jr and Jermell Charlo, and he’s excellent at working with big punchers with aggressive styles.
Joshua should do well with James, and it’s the ideal trainer for his old fighting style that he veered away from after his shock loss to Andy Ruiz Jr in June 2019.
James will likely return Joshua to the aggressive fighting style that he had before his loss to Ruiz because that’s one that he can transition to in two months.
Joshua’s last trainer Robert Garcia had him trying to become a boxer, and that didn’t work well, as he lost his rematch with Oleksandr Usyk.
There’s not a lot of time for Derrick to tinker with Joshua’s game, so hopefully, he’s returning him back to his old style of fighting rather than continuing the work that Robert Garcia had begun by trying to turn him into a boxer/puncher.
The choice of Jermaine Franklin as Joshua’s opponent was done because the training felt that he was the perfect opponent for him to try out the new things that were being taught to him.
“This is honestly the most exciting stage of his career for me. I know a lot of people is hype, but it is because, in many corners, he’s been written off. It’s unbelievable,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing, discussing Anthony Joshua’s career.
“The resume and the rung of fights that he’s had. On the one hand, ‘He’s finished,’ and on the one hand, ‘The AJ train is over,’ and then on the other hand, Jermaine Franklin is supposedly an easy fight.
“On one hand, ‘Jermaine Franklin beat Dillian Whyte,’ and on the other hand, ‘AJ will knock him out early.’ This is a really difficult fight to come back to. Jermaine Franklin is full of confidence coming off the Dillian Whyte performance.
“He does have the style that is notoriously, a big stand-up type of heavyweight finds difficult with a shorter frame and quick hands and good movement. This is a really good fight for AJ to come back to,” Hearn continued.
“For me, this is a really exciting run for AJ’s career, a new training team out in Texas. He’s in a great place. He’s ready to launch his attack on the heavyweight division all over again, but he had a very tough night’s work on April 1st.
“We had a lot of fighters in the mix. Dempsey Mckean, Otto Wallin. Really, it came down to the style. AJ is coming off the back of two fights against a southpaw, the best southpaw in boxing in Oleksandr Usyk, and wanted an orthodox fighter in the training team.
“The training team said, ‘Look, if we’re going to fight Wilder, Dillian Whyte & Tyson Fury, there’s really no point in us going back and fight a southpaw. So we want you to showcase everything you’ve been working on with us, and we feel you should do that against an orthodox fighter.’
“Obviously the fight Jermaine had with Dillian Whyte was a great maker for us to see where we’re at. We know he’s a world class heavyweight. There’s no dispute in that, and he got the nod. He’s very relevant.
“He’s been active off the back of the Dillian Whyte fight. The UK fans know who he is, and he’s a talented fighter. One of the reasons why I’m so excited about this new chapter for AJ is that new fresh look, and I think he’s going to come back with plenty of energy, really excited and super sharp,” said Hearn.