The man who breathed new life into Anthony Joshua’s redemption training camp has explained to WBN how the link-up came about.
Angel Fernandez, an up and coming young trainer, was drafted in as Joshua prepared for a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr.
The London-based coach, who previously worked with other fighters including Sandy Ryan and Isaac Chamberlain, has since been credited with huge input into Joshua’s victory.
Joshua was down following his initial defeat to Ruiz Jr. on June 1st at Madison Square Garden. Dropped four times, his future was uncertain despite only suffering the first loss of his career.
Calls to give his surrounding team a huge shake-up were largely ignored by Joshua. The 30 year-old decided to stay loyal and simply add more fire to his squad.
Revealing how Joshua kept tabs on him for some time, Fernandez initially thought ‘AJ’ headhunting his social media was a joke.
“It was not long after the Ruiz loss. He approached me after that,” Fernandez exclusively told World Boxing News.
“He followed me (on social media) way before the Ruiz fight, but I was like sitting on the sofa and my girlfriend was with me – I’m like, ‘oh s***, Anthony Joshua has just followed me!
“I thought, that’s not right. He’s going to probably unfollow me in two or three days’.”
Continuing on how Joshua ramped up his interest, Fernandez stated: “Normally Sandy sends me her sparring. She records it and he was recording her sparring. Joshua goes behind and goes ‘who did you send that to’? Sandy goes, to my trainer and Joshua says, ‘hello Angel’.
“Sandy turned around and said, do you know him? – Joshua went yeah I follow him on Instagram. She said oh, you should go and do a session with him. It kind of just went from there.
“After the loss he contacted me. Then his team contacted me, that’s where the conversation started. We just went from there really.”
Back on top of the world, Joshua produced a solid boxing performance under the Fernandez/McCracken dynamic.
It was also revealed that Wladimir Klitschko had offered Joshua some mentoring after suffering similar knockout losses in the past.
Klitschko and Joshua have massive respect for each after trading blows in 2017, something which has since culminated in an unlikely revenge partnership.
Now a two-time world heavyweight champion, Joshua is back in control of the division ahead of a string of mandatory defenses.
Kubrat Pulev is likely next in the UK.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News and an Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay (article transcribed by Assistant Editor).