Oleksandr Usyk defeated Anthony Joshua mentally, admits Garcia

By Oviri Kelvin, Sports Editor

In the build-up for the heavyweight rematch between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Brit changed his long-time trainer Robert McCracken with Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandes.

He was eager to reclaim his belt and did everything he could to outclass the Ukrainian, who has maintained an undefeated boxing record.

Despite the push and resilience exhibited with more improved performance in the heavyweight bout compared to their first meeting in September 2021, Joshua was unable to stop Usyk, who outpointed him to retain the WBO WBA and IBF heavyweight belts.

However, one of Joshua’s trainers, Garcia, has admitted that the British-born Nigerian was defeated mentally before the result was announced.

According to Garcia, during a media chat with Izquierdazo, if Joshua had sustained the pressure to the last round, there was every likelihood that he could have won the fight.

He noted that in the 10th round, Joshua, who was practically doling out all he was trained in the build-up to the fight, was unable to dish out tenacious jabs.

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“In round 9, we tightened up, and almost closed the fight, when he got stronger by hitting the body and putting a little more pressure. (If he had) two or three rounds earlier than that, maybe it would have been a different result,” Garcia explained.

“(Regarding) the work we did in the gym, and because of how the fight was going, I think that Joshua was doing what we trained for,” he continued.

“He used his distant punches well like the jab, the reach. I would have liked him to throw the jab a little more solidly. Sometimes he just used it to keep him at a distance.

“But there were a lot of opportunities where the jab would have been a little bit more solid, it wasn’t that way, but I think we were still doing well until round 10 when everything changed.

“The fight was going well, but in round 10 he changed the fight.

“The last three are the ones that change, until the 9th we were about to win even by knockout,” he added.

Garcia reiterated that the mental defeat of Joshua and the great heart of the Ukrainian was the decider of the bout.

He, however, praised Usyk for being a formidable fighter, who possesses the grit of a true champion.

“It was decided in the last rounds,” he underlined.

“Usyk is a great champion, a fighter with a tremendous heart, he knows how to finish strong as champions do,” he acknowledged.

Garcia also took responsibility for Joshua’s outing adding that he could have expected his fighter to throw more solid jabs.

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