Anthony Joshua could deliver Britain’s biggest heavyweight boxing night against Oleksandr Usyk, and in his own words, British Olympic captain Frazer Clarke explains why.
I attended most of the training sessions that took place in the UK.
I’m just a fighter in the gym but I have this kind of captain personality where I want to see everyone in the gym doing well. So there were times when I asked the coaches if it was okay if I shared my opinion and said a strange word here and there.
I think the one thing you look for in a fighter you still want is dedication and will to the cause. I think Joshua went to Loughborough 12 weeks before going to Jeddah, maybe 14. Loughborough is a lovely place but there is not much to do. He didn’t go back to London and I think that in itself is a statement of intent. He’s been away for so long. That’s long for a camp. It’s mentally tough, physically tough.
In a six week camp there are ups and downs, so you can imagine what it is like in a 14, 16, 18 week camp as such. There have been good days, there have been bad days, there have been ups and downs. If you can have more good days than bad days, you’re on the right track.
The team he employed is good for the fight. You have the youth of Angel Fernandez, the enthusiasm of Angel Fernandez and the expertise of Angel Fernandez with the experience of Robert Garcia. He participated in many title fights.
Good fight – no exact fight as trying to replicate Oleksandr Usyk is near impossible. You have good fighters but there are not many people with this quality. You can’t find the experience like it has. They have good fighters, cutting and changing different people. They did a fantastic job, I think.
There are no illusions. He’ll have to be the best he’s ever been to beat Usyk. I think he’s going to have to be better than he’s ever been. Better than the Wladimir Klitschko evening. I feel like it must be Klitschko-esque. That night there were ups and downs and he had to come back. He might just have to.
He has every chance. From what I’ve seen him do daily and weekly, he gave himself every chance and that’s all you can ask of a fighter in a camp. If you give everything you have to give, with the experience and skills he already has, he has given himself every chance.
There are many people saying that Usyk is so good and this and that. He is very good. There is no doubt. He’s a great fighter. But he’s a human. If AJ hits him more than once in the chin, he’s only human, he’s falling, he’s probably not getting up.
If Joshua gets a sustained combination on anyone in the world, boxer or non-boxer, maybe even an animal or a tree, he runs through them.
I did hundreds of rounds with him. I think about that ‘he’s gun shy’ thing – he wasn’t gun shy when I saw him in combat, trust me.
I feel like he’s a nice guy. I think someone had to take the bad guy out of him. I think Robert Garcia was good at doing that. He took out the no give a [stuff] about anyone outside of winning this fight. He took it out of him.
It could be Britain’s biggest heavyweight boxing night. I feel like everyone views him as a huge underdog and he could well be dispatched for 12 rounds. But you’d be crazy to still bet on him.
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