By Kristyna Ramirez
Riverside resident, Robert Garcia, is officially going to be training Anthony Joshua for his heavyweight title rematch against undefeated Oleksandr Usyk on July 23 in Saudi Arabia.
Usyk defeated Joshua via unanimous decision back in September of 2021 when Joshua was still training under former head coach, Robert McCracken. Joshua made the mistake of trying to outbox Usyk under the guidance of McCracken, which was no match for the talented Olympic gold medalist.
Garcia, a former International Boxing Federation (IBF) title holder from 1998 to 1999 and the boxing writers’ 2012 Trainer of the Year, usually trains his fighters out of the Robert Garcia Boxing Academy located in Riverside, California. However, he will be flying overseas for this training camp in England, where Joshua resides.
The change of trainers can benefit Joshua in his championship fight because Garcia is known for the solid gameplans he has for each of his fighters. Garcia will use Joshua’s size advantage and implement some roughhouse tactics to use on Usyk instead of attempting to outbox him.
Being the underdog is nothing new to Garcia as he has led multiple boxers to victory after boxing experts and fans doubted him and his fighters. Among them are his younger brother, Mikey Garcia, Brandon Rios, Abner Mares, and Marcos Maidana, to name a few. They all became world champions under Garcia’s wing.
One of the most thrilling underdog fights that Garcia had was when Maidana of Argentina challenged Adrien Broner for the World Boxing Association (WBA) Welterweight title in December 2013. From the moment the bell rang to commence the fight, Maidana came out swinging and applying intense pressure at Broner. The Argentinian slugger knocked Broner down in the second and eighth round as he amazed the boxing world following Garcia’s ferocious instructions. Maidana pulled the upset by winning via unanimous decision to crown himself the WBA World Welterweight Champion and handing Broner his first career loss.
Another honorable fight to mention under Garcia’s guidance is the first brawl between Maidana and Floyd Mayweather Jr., back in May 2014. Although Maidana did not get the victory, many boxing enthusiasts and experts believed that Maidana won the fight. Mayweather won the match via majority decision.
It was a complete controversy that Mayweather granted Maidana and Garcia a rematch. Mayweather has only agreed to one rematch before when there was also a huge controversy when he defeated Jose Luis Castillo in April 2002. Mayweather won that rematch via unanimous decision. The rematch with Maidana concluded in the same way. Fans and boxing specialists gave Garcia and Maidana their respects and credit where they were due for giving the boxing world two electrifying fights between top fighters.
Garcia has a great eye and knowledge of the sport and likes his fighters to apply a non-stop pressure style when fighting undefeated guys like Broner, Usyk, and Mayweather. Under Garcia, Joshua may gain the confidence of using his significant height, power, weight, and reach advantage over Usyk. Garcia will lead Joshua to emerge with three titles making him his 15th world champion, and the possibility of facing Tyson Fury for the undisputed heavyweight championship if he wins.