Anthony Joshua Changing coaches after just 12 weeks from his must-win Alexander Usik rematch is a “huge risk”, admits promoter Eddie Hearn.
The 32-year-old Watford hero lost his WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight titles to Master of Ukraine in September, and a rematch was booked for April.
The original gameplan, devised with Team GB boss Rob McCracken – to try to outbox the Southeastern talent – was banned after a unanimous point loss.
And AJ is on tour in the US and Dubai to audition for new trainers like Eddie Reynoso, Virgil Hunter and Floyd Mayweather, with McCracken slated for fall.
But Hearn acknowledges such a seismic change, so close to the battle, can have huge consequences, adding: “It’s a big risk but if you think you need a change and you move in a particular way.” Can’t go, the option is too risky.
“If AJ didn’t make any changes and wasn’t comfortable with his approach going into the rematch, then I think we shouldn’t have that rematch.
“But the fact that he has been very proactive and positive and whatever path he goes, I know he will be comfortable with that decision.
“I’m a lot more comfortable than the flip side, which is to leave it. He needs something new, he’s excited.
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“The main thing for him in this fight is to be mentally comfortable with his preparation.”
After more than a decade as Joshua’s mentor, there has been no official announcement on McCracken’s exit.
But Hearn insists that AJ, regarded as the Sir Alex Ferguson of his team’s success, is not left in the lurch.
“These conversations have been with Rob and AJ,” he said. “AJ clarified when he said ‘I will work with a new trainer’.
“Will he be in conjunction with Rob? I think that will be announced in the coming weeks.”
Hearn expects the rematch to be announced soon after the training shake-up is revealed, with London again expected to host the race.
Joshua gave conflicting interviews late last year about his interest in stepping in to crown Usick and WBC champion Tyson Fury an undisputed king.
And Hearn says Dillian White’s overdue shot at Fury is finally being mandated, which plays a part in the kiboshing of a potential money-spinning scheme.
Matchroom’s boss said: “Because of the desire to stage an undeniable fight, the conversation about the whole move-aside maneuver keeps happening every now and then.
“But, with the Dillian White position, those conversations become very difficult, because you have another pawn in the conversation.
“We got to the stage where it was almost like, ‘Let’s crack with the original plan’ and that’s where we are.
“We have had two or three proposals from different countries to stage Joshua vs Usyk, but for me, after the success of the Spurs fight, apart from the outcome, I would love to have that fight back in the UK, possibly at Spurs again. Se or at Wembley, because I think it’s a must for AJ.
“If we had the opportunity to stage a fight in the UK we should do it, and if he could win that fight on that soil it would be very special.”
I Joshua vs Usyk: All the TV, streams and undercard info ahead of Saturday’s heavyweight match