boxing

McCracken on his future: “I’m the head coach whilst Joshua wants me to be head coach”

McCracken on his future: “I’m the head coach whilst Joshua wants me to be head coach”
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TheSportsman.com have been speaking to Anthony Joshua’s head coach Rob McCracken ahead of AJ’s rematch with Andy Ruiz.

A defiant McCracken has rejected rumours that AJ is looking to replace him.

On whether an interim bout was a possibility before the rematch

“It’s easy for people to say ‘Oh he should have two or three warm up fights’, but that’s not realistic.

“He’s a World Heavyweight Champion and he’s lost his title to Andy Ruiz, who is obviously a great fighter, but he doesn’t work to the level that AJ’s been boxing and the magnitude, the preparation and the time that goes into that.

“To go away and have two or three warm ups is probably not realistic and that’s why you go back into the rematch. All heavyweights who have lost their titles have gone back into rematches to try and get the win.

“At this level, with all the preparation, you get a couple of fights a year, it would be difficult to have a few warm up fights.

“Anthony needs to take the rematch, he needs to be 100% prepared and I think it’s a fight he can win. Anthony has been a champion since 2016, now he’s lost the titles and he wants to get them back.

“That’s what happens in the sport at this level. A heavyweight champion will take the option to get his titles back and redeem himself.”

On speculation about Joshua getting a new trainer after his defeat to Ruiz

“I think those comments are predictable. You have people in the sport who look at the negatives and you have those who try to make it better and make it work going forward.

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“It’s nothing I care too much about. Me and Anthony have a great relationship, he doesn’t just train with me, he trains with a variety of people over the years, but I’m the head coach whilst he wants me to be head coach. He’s a great guy, we get on very well and I believe he can achieve other great things in the sport.”

On new faces in camp

“There’s always new faces but the reality is that I’m Anthony’s lead coach, I have been since he turned professional. There are new faces as well and they’ll become more obvious as we go on.

“We have a big team of people and we’ve always had that.”

On AJ’s weight heading into the rematch

“His weights not the be all and end all. He will come into the fight a bit leaner with a bit less muscle, but not a lot, it’s not a big deal.

“He’s a big guy anyway, he’s a huge guy, he will come in slightly leaner, but Ruiz will also. They both plan to come into this fight leaner.”

On what AJ needs to do to win the rematch

“I think the key factor is that Anthony stays calm, doesn’t rush and uses his reach to control Ruiz.

“In the first fight, he rushed it when he knocked Ruiz down, it’s very clear what he did wrong and he got caught. It’s a lesson learnt and I hope he can put it right in the rematch.”

On what AJ is going to do differently ahead of his rematch with Andy Ruiz

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“He’s just going to learn from the fight and prepare diligently. Listen Ruiz is a great fighter, he’s a heavyweight champion and Anthony has got to be at his very best to beat Ruiz and win those titles back and he’s aware of that and that’s what he plans to do.”

On AJ’s comments about being disillusioned with boxing

“He’s been boxing for a while now, he’s had eight heavyweight title fights and this will be his ninth.

“For AJ to have won the title and made six defenses and in the seventh one losing the title is very disappointing. However, you look at the history of the sport, lots of heavyweights have lost their titles and in some cases they’ve come and won those titles back and that’s what AJ fully intends to do.”

On whether he wanted the fight to take place in Saudi Arabia

“The opportunity came up. The neutral option was viable and I don’t think Ruiz was comfortable with coming over to Wales and we weren’t over keen on going to the States.

“The Saudi’s have come in with a spectacular offer to stage it. It will be fantastic, it will be a fantastic fight, it’s a heavyweight title fight and it’ll be fascinating.”

How preparations will differ in Saudi compared to a fight staged in the UK

“Well you need to head out 14 days earlier, that’s what changes. It’s cooler in December, so it will suit both fighters and I think we will get a great fight.”