EXCLUSIVE: Joshua trainer talks Klitschko tactics, next opponent shortlist
Angel Fernandez has explained the decision for Anthony Joshua to use tactics made famous by former opponent Wladimir Klitschko.
Joshua adopted the controversial ‘jab and grab’ style in order to defeat Andy Ruiz Jr. in their rematch. Quickly getting in and out to rack up the points and make it impossible for Ruiz to land any telling blows.
It was a far cry from the first bout when Joshua was dropped four times and humbled in New York City.
This time around was always going to be different. AJ had every intention of becoming a two-time world title-holder. Ruiz, on the other hand, ballooned in weight and gave himself little opportunity to retain his status.
With the help of a new coaching team in Fernandez and Joby Clayton, Joshua dominated the fight from start to finish.
Fernandez was rightly delighted with the end result.
Asked about those similarities to Klitschko and whether losing weight was crucial, Fernandez exclusively told World Boxing News: “Big time. He’s just a person who learns very quick.
“We couldn’t go and engage with Ruiz because he’s got very fast hands. Some people just try to take the credit away from Joshua but if you just watch the first fight and then the second fight, Joshua didn’t allow Ruiz to do what he did to him in the first fight.
“He took those strengths away from him.”
On what’s next for Joshua amidst talk of a possible undisputed unification with Deontay Wilder, Fernandez revealed those names involved on the shortlist.
“To be honest, they mentioned Pulev and they mentioned Usyk. Also a Ruiz third fight,” he revealed. “They’ve even said the likes of Wilder and Fury.
“But Joshua will go on holiday as he needs the rest. He’ll probably sit down with Eddie Hearn, his managerial team and then see what the next step is for him.
“My job is not in negotiations. My job, Rob’s job, and Joby’s job will be to sit down and put a plan in place.
“We have to put the training together and try to do the best as we can in order to beat the man that is in front of him,” Fernandez concluded.
Pulev or Usyk stands out as the most likely of the opponents due to mandatory stipulations handed down by the IBF and WBO.
As for a venue, Tottenham Hotspurs’ impressive new stadium seems a top candidate to host next spring.