Tarver says Anthony Joshua’s team failed him

By Boxing News - 07/04/2019 - Comments

Image: Tarver says Anthony Joshua's team failed him

By Charles Brun: Former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver says Anthony Joshua’s training team and management failed him completely in getting him prepared for his title defense last month against Andy Ruiz Jr. on June 1. Tarver believes that Joshua “needs a teacher” to train him, and he feels he’s the perfect guy to do it. Tarver is just the latest of the former world champions that recommend Joshua get a new trainer, but he’s thus far been ignoring their advice. The chances are Joshua will ignore Tarver’s advice, and continue to stick with his trainer until the bitter end.

Joshua is still being trained by Rob McCracken, and he’s stubbornly resisted dumping him following his recent seventh round knockout loss to Ruiz Jr. (33-1, 22 KOs) in New York. Ruiz had Joshua looking like a yo-yo inside the ring in knocking him down four times in the fight before the fight was finally stopped after round seven.

Tarver says Joshua looked like he hadn’t trained at all, and he says he thinks he was at  265 pounds. He was just too big to compete.

Tarver: Joshua’s loss to Ruiz was good for boxing

“That was great for boxing,” said Antonio Tarver to Fighthub about Ruiz’s upset win of Joshua. “It lets those guys know that with hard work and determination, you can beat anybody. It was the underdog Andy Ruiz’s dream come true. He can beat Joshua in the rematch, because you saw the fight. The skills are right on the same level. Anthony Joshua couldn’t outclass Andy Ruiz. I don’t think on fight night or on any day. What does that mean? It means Anthony Joshua is going to have to go to work to be deliberate about what he’s training, and how he’s training and preparing,” said Tarver.

The way that Joshua looked in his toughest fights, he was going to get beaten sooner or later. Joshua looked flawed and beatable in his fights against Wladimir Klitschko, Dillian Whyte, Carlos Takam, Alexander Povetkin and Joseph Parker. When Joshua lost to Ruiz Jr. last month, the boxing public was surprised at the defeat, because many of them felt he was invincible. However, the knowledgeable fans weren’t surprised in the last at seeing Joshua lose, because he’s shown vulnerabilities with his stamina and chin in the past. The way that Joshua gassed against Whyte and 40-year-old Klitschko was a red flag that he lacked the cardiovascular system to fight hard. It was still surprising that the 268 pound Ruiz Jr. was the one to beat Joshua, because the challenger looked unfit, and fans felt that he wouldn’t be able to get the better of AJ.

Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn selected Ruiz Jr. from the #15 spot in the heavyweight rankings in replacing Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller after he was pulled from the card following several positive tests for banned substances during training camp.

Tarver wants to train Joshua

“He needs a teacher in his corner. He needs someone to lay down a game plan and map out a game plan and break Ruiz down and give him a best chance to win,” said Tarver. “I know what that game plan is. I can institute that with Anthony Joshua, and put my name on a short list,” said Tarver.

It might prove to be impossible for Tarver to take over as Joshua’s trainer right now when he fails to admit there’s a problem with the way he’s being trained by Rob McCracken. Joshua is fine with the way he’s being trained right now, and he blames his loss to Ruiz on himself rather than his trainer. That’s the way Joshua is thinking right now, but he might feel the need for a helping hand if he loses to Ruiz in the rematch. When things looked completely dire, we might see Joshua finally admit that he needs help. Until then, you can expect him to stay loyal to McCracken, and continue to have the same problems that he’s shown in the past.

It’s obvious what Joshua needs to do for him to have a chance at winning the rematch with Ruiz. He needs to use movement, stay on the outside, and keep Ruiz Jr. from getting near enough to him to land his shots. Joshua doesn’t move well enough to keep Ruiz on the outside, and he tires from throwing even a handful of simple jabs. AJ has packed on so much mass that he gasses out from throwing only a handful of punches. That’s probably not going to change in the next four to five months when Joshua faces Ruiz in the rematch. Joshua’s stamina is now comparable to domestic level heavyweight David Price. The two are one in the same in terms of their poor stamina.

AJ needs to lose muscle mass

Joshua needs to lose some of the muscle mass that he’s put on since turning pro seven years ago, but he probably won’t lose it. He started his pro career close to 225, and he’s bulked up to 250 for no real reason. Since Joshua won’t lose muscle, he needs a referee like the one that worked his fight against Joseph Parker last year in Giuseppe Quartarone. This referee prevented inside fighting, and that greatly helped Joshua. The only way Quartarone would have a shot at working Joshua’s rematch with Ruiz is if the fight is held in the UK. He’s not going to be brought over from the UK specifically to work Joshua’s rematch with Ruiz in the United States.

Tarver says “everybody failed” Joshua

“I’m not saying his trainer failed him. I’m saying everybody failed him,” said Tarver about Team Joshua. “His manager and his promoter, because if they were on Team AJ, they should have cared enough to pull his coat if he wasn’t taking care of small details. That’s what a trainer’s responsibility is to make sure the camp is paying attention to small details when it comes to the fighter, and I think that message got lost in the whole scheme of things. A trainer that’s been there isn’t going to get excited because they’re going to New York, and they’re on pay-per-view,” said Tarver.

Joshua’s problems go beyond him having a trainer that hasn’t been involved in pay-per-view fights in the U.S. His issues are related to his poor stamina, all the muscle weight he’s been allowed to put on, and his overall defensive and offensive flaws. Joshua wasn’t jabbing or moving his head against Ruiz, and of course he was too big to fight hard without gassing.

Tarver talks up his experience for the job to train Joshua

“He’s been there, and he’s done that. He’s going to stay focused on the task at hand,” said Tarver about Joshua needing an experienced trainer. “And a lot of times these guys get their heads caught up in the clouds too, because they’re going to places they’ve never been. How are you going to know how to act? How are you going to know how to react? You’re going somewhere where you’ve never been. I’ve been to that mountain top time and time again. It’s familiar to me. That’s the difference,” said Tarver.

Obviously, Tarver could train Joshua and likely do a much more credible job than his current trainer McCracken, but he’s not going to be given a chance. Joshua isn’t like a normal fighter that hasn’t made any money in the sport. He’s made his millions, so it’s not the end of the world if he doesn’t improve, and he continues to lose. His promoter Eddie Hearn will likely go back to the way he matched him in the past by putting him in winnable situations against guys that he can bowl over with ease. That probably mean that Joshua and Hearn will give up on the idea of winning over the American boxing fans. Joshua wanted to conquer America and become the biggest heavyweight star in that country, but he’ll need to pull back on that goal. If Joshua can’t beat Ruiz, then he’ll need to retreat back to the UK, and fight at home to save his career.

Joshua looked like he didn’t train says Tarver

“He looked like he didn’t train, and didn’t prepare mentally or physically completely,” said Tarver about Joshua. “He wasn’t ready to fight a real fight. Anybody could have beat him that night. He wasn’t mentally ready and prepared for a real tough fight. 246 pounds on the scale,” said Tarver when asked what made him think Joshua wasn’t prepared for the Ruiz Jr. fight. “If you had a real training camp and you’re 246 pounds, how much weight did you lose in training camp? Were you 265? There’s a good chance he was. He was too bloated. All that water in his muscles. When that lactic acid get in there, you can’t fight, and fatigue makes cowards out of all of us. He didn’t put the work in,” said Tarver.

Joshua obviously trained for the Ruiz fight, but it probably involved him hitting the weight room for two or three hours a day followed by nice sauna and massage. He was doing a lot of interviews with the news media during the build up to the Ruiz fight, and talking about how he wanted to fight WBC champion Deontay Wilder. It’s now painfully obvious Joshua needs to forget about Wilder, and stop lifting weights already and focus on actual old school training. He’s big enough without needing to lift weights 24/7.

It wouldn’t be at all surprising if Joshua started training camp at a muscular 265 pounds, and then trimmed off 20 pounds of bodybuilding muscle to get down to 246 lbs for the Ruiz fight.  Joshua is carrying too much muscle for him to be effective at the elite levels of the heavyweight division. AJ used to get away with looking like a bodybuilder, but that was when his promoter Eddie Hearn was matching him against beatable opposition that couldn’t expose his poor stamina. Now that Joshua is fighting better guys, he can no longer afford to look like he’s ready to enter a Mr. Universe bodybuilding contest. He’s got to take his career more seriously, and that means losing 25 to 30 pounds of useless muscle, and changing out his entire training team. It’s not too late for Joshua to turn his career around if he’s willing to make the right moves. But judging by Joshua’s resistance to getting a new trainer, we’ll soon see his career flounder.

Tarver: Joshua thought he could get Ruiz out of there

“He thought he could turn it on at any time and get Ruiz out of there,” Tarver said. “A big mistake. I made that mistake before against Eric Harding the first time. You’re human, but get back to the drawing board again. Don’t make the same mistake twice. If you do the same thing you did, expect the same results. It’s time for change,” said Tarver in letting Joshua know he needs a new trainer.

Moments before the start of the Ruiz fight, Joshua looked like he was getting ready to take a sauna bath. He was getting neck message in his corner, and he had a look on his face like he was about to for a nice stroll in the park. It looked odd. Joshua didn’t look at all prepared for what he was about to deal with inside the ring.

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