Anthony Joshua has been working with Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield’s former trainer Ronnie Shields as he carefully considers the appointment of a new corner team. The two-time heavyweight world champion looks set to follow in the footsteps of British rival Tyson Fury, who made the cut-throat decision to part company with Ben Davison to join forces with SugarHill Steward ahead of the rematch with Deontay Wilder in February 2020, in a bid to win back his WBA, WBO, IBF and IBO straps.
The Gypsy King has been a whole different animal since fighting under the Kronk banner and now Joshua can take inspiration from the switch of approach as he begins his road to redemption.
AJ’s current trainer Rob McCracken was heavily scrutinised in the aftermath of Joshua’s second career defeat to Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last month, as the slick Ukrainian southpaw cruised to victory with a boxing masterclass.
While McCracken made it clear after the fight that Joshua has the tools to correct his performance, it now looks like Joshua is ready to go in a different direction and potentially part company with the Team GB trainer.
The 32-year-old has been in the United States this week, touring a whole host of iconic boxing gyms in a bid to gain some inspiration ahead of his next move.
He visited Eddy Reynoso’s Julian Magdaleno gym in San Diego, currently home to the likes of Canelo Alvarez, Ryan Garcia, Frank Sanchez and Oscar Valdez.
Joshua also popped in to visit Andre Ward and Amir Khan’s former trainer Virgil Hunter, who is currently working with his close friend Joshua Buatsi.
But Shields, who has previously worked with heavyweight icons Tyson and Holyfield plus two-weight world champion Arturo Gatti, now looks to be the frontrunner for the job after confirming AJ is on the hunt for a new trainer.
He told Thaboxingvoice: “They reached out to me and they asked if I would be interested in taking a look at AJ and that he wanted to come down to Texas and see if things would work out between him and I.
“I said, ‘No problem, I would love to see if we had a connection together’.”
Joshua has been hitting the pads with Shields as they look to strike a bond with the 63-year-old and if the link-up is made official, AJ will be trading Sheffield for Texas.
Shields would be keen on keeping coach Angel Fernandez as part of Joshua’s team though, as he provided further clarity on their chemistry following a small number of sessions this week.
He added: “It would be great to get him to reclaim the world titles he lost to Usyk and I think I’ve got the capabilities to help him do that.
“For the last two days, everything seemed to go well. The first day we talked fro about three or four hours and when he came back today we did some light pad work to show him everything we talked about.
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“You have to be able to show a fighter what you really mean and how he should do thinks. We did some light work and I put him through some drills to help him understand what I’d told him the day before.
“For me it’s about the game plan. We talked about a lot of stuff and we watched a few rounds of the Usyk fight together. I pointed out a few things that he should have done but he didn’t do.
“I think our chemistry was really good but I’m not going to lose sleep over [whether he chooses me].”
Eddie Hearn has confirmed the Usyk rematch clause has now been triggered with the fight set to land in Spring 2022.