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Anthony Joshua’s training partner Frazer Clarke has backed up George Groves recent comments as he gave his thoughts on the Oleksandr Usyk rematch. Groves branded suggestions that ‘AJ’ has been ‘gun shy’ ever since sustaining the first defeat of his career against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 as a massive overreaction.
Joshua (24-2) lost his undefeated record to Ruiz Jr (34-2) at Madison Square Garden, New York City where he was stopped in the seventh round. In the rematch six months later Joshua adopted a more conservative approach as he jabbed and moved his way to victory.
Joshua would go on to lose to Usyk (19-0) two fights later and was ridiculed for being ‘too timid’ during the bout. Many critics of Joshua point toward these two displays in suggesting that the Watford Powerhouse is ‘gun shy’ but Clarke begs to differ.
In a recent article written by the British heavyweight for Sky Sports, he responded to the criticisms.
“I’ve sparred hundreds of rounds with him [Joshua]. I think of this thing of ‘he’s gun shy’ – he wasn’t gun shy when I’ve seen him in sparring, believe me. I feel like he’s a nice guy.
“I think someone had to pull the bad guy out of him. I think Robert Garcia was good to do that. He pulled out the not give a [stuff] about anyone apart from winning this fight. He’s brought it out of him.
“This could be Britain’s greatest night of heavyweight boxing. I feel like everyone’s putting him as a massive underdog and he might just get outboxed for 12 rounds. But you’d be daft to bet against him.”
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These comments come after Groves shared a similar message during a recent interview.
“I feel like people do an injustice when they’re like, ‘Oh, he needs to get back to his old ways,’” Groves told Seconds Out. “He was never just raggedy, come out swinging and just using his power. He was never that. He was always pretty metaphorical in the way he would try and approach a fight, just with a bit more experience.
“And then people have been assuming he’s just a little more gun-shy now since the Ruiz fight, but I don’t think that’s necessarily the case. I think he needs to use his jab [with authority] and whack Usyk hard. You know, you’ve got to punch with this guy [Usyk], because you can’t try punch after him; he’s too quick and he takes great angles.”
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