By Adam Baskin: Anthony Joshua’s normally musclebound physique has seemingly been transformed under the training regimen of his new coach Derrick James in Texas, and he’s now starting to resemble a normal heavyweight for a change ahead of his April 1st fight against Jermaine Franklin at the O2 Areen in London.
James may have gotten Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) to back off from his weightlifting and having him focusing more on old school training methods.
There was a photo of Joshua chopping wood, looking very Rocky-ish, which is a good thing because he’s been looking previously like he was preparing for a Mr. Olympian bodybuilding competition at the kickoff press conference for the Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs).
It will be interesting to see if Joshua performs better under Derrick’s coaching methods than he did under his previous trainers because he’s lost three out of his last five fights, and he can’t afford to lose a fourth contest.
Joshua has taken muscle off before, and it hasn’t done much to improve his stamina and, more importantly, his punch resistance. Taking muscle off has got to be a small part in making Joshua a better fighter because he’s looked lost since his seventh round TKO defeat against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019.
A heavy wait ⏳
— Anthony Joshua (@anthonyjoshua) March 12, 2023
Derrick James is known for coaching aggressive fighters like Errol Spence Jr, Jermell Charlo, and Frank Martin. You’ve got to imagine that Derrick will train Joshua in a similar manner, making him the seek & destroy fighter that he was earlier in his career before Ruiz wrecked him.
“He’s being absolutely beasted with Derrick James,” said Eddie Hearn to iFL TV about Anthony Joshua.
“AJ posted a photo on his Instagram chopping down a tree, saying, ‘Back to basics.’ That fight is fast approaching. April 1st, we don’t have to wait too long for AJ vs. Jermaine Franklin,” said Ade Oladipo.
“A few people Tweeted a few things about ticket sales, about it not being sold out as of yet. I guess that’s a reflection of where he is right now. Back-to-back defeats [against Oleksandr Usyk], but maybe the opponent is what they [boxing fans] wanted.
“I always thought that AJ was the type of fighter that could fight me and sell out Wembley. He has that kind of pull, and maybe he doesn’t have that yet, which is why this fight is so important.
“He’s got to look explosive, he’s got to look destructive, and let’s see what happens. I do think it’ll be a sellout by the time it rolls around, but I’m like you guys. I am surprised that all the tickets haven’t sold. This is a guy that does stadiums, and he’s now come back to an arena.
“I do think by the time it rolls around, fight week; it will be sold out. I hope there are some behind-the-scenes things about AJ with Derrick at camp because I would like to see that interaction with Jermell Charlo and Errol Spence.
“I’ve been fortunate to see AJ in camp and see him in that setup. I wonder if he means ‘back to basics’ about how sometimes boxers like to overcomplicate things. I think maybe AJ has gone too far on the technical and scientific side of things.
“There are so many different elements that maybe you don’t need to it. So maybe it’s a case of peeling away things and doing what he done when he first got into the sport.
“Don’t get me wrong. AJ has taken it to another level in terms of strength & conditioning and the science side of stuff. Maybe it’s a case of getting rid of those things and going back to basics,” said Oladipo.