Anthony Joshua’s coach, Robert Garcia, believes that AJ lost the mental battle before losing the fight to Usyk.
On August 22nd, Anthony Joshua was given a chance to reclaim his glory, after Usyk got the best of him in their first match last September. Although this fight was closer than the original, Usyk would take home a split decision victory, where he won 116-112, 115-113, and 113-115.
Robert Garcia believes round 10 was the turning point in the fight.
“Joshua was mentally defeated since round 10 or 11. Round 10 was a big one for Usyk. That changed the whole fight, and mentally we were defeated.” (H/T IZQUIERDAZO).
Robert Garcia believed ‘One Big Shot’ was all AJ had left in him
In the first fight, Usyk dominated from the get-go, causing AJ to play catch up, which he managed to do in the middle rounds before Usyk regained control of the fight. In order to avoid this repeat situation, Joshua changed camps, hiring the famed boxing coach, Robert Garcia, as his new head trainer.
This move seemed for the better as Joshua came into the fight in the best shape of his life and was competitive with Usyk right away. However, despite Garcia’s urging, AJ didn’t firmly establish control until about round 9, which was a big round for Joshua. However, in the very next round, Usyk showed his champion heart, rallying back and taking back control of the fight from AJ, who seemed to be getting tired.
From that point on, Robert Garcia believed that all AJ had left in him was a big power strike.
“At that point, we were relying on a good shot or something like that, because Anthony is a hard puncher, and one shot can change a fight.”
Perhaps Garcia is on to something when he says that Usyk defeated him mentally, despite how harsh that sounds. As after the fight results were announced, AJ had one of the most bizarre post-fight speeches, where it looked as if he was on the verge of a breakdown while attempting to save face and give Usyk his props.