Clarke backs Joshua after regime changes

Usyk Anthony Joshua AJ

British heavyweight Frazer Clarke believes Anthony Joshua is in better shape to defeat Oleksandr Usyk (Bout Betting – Usyk 2/5, Joshua 2/1, draw 20/1) in their proposed rematch, expected to take place at some point during the summer.

Joshua was beaten by the Ukrainian fighter by unanimous decision in September at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

It was just the second defeat of the Briton’s professional career after his stunning loss to Andy Ruiz Jr back in 2019 and now he is hoping to reclaim the WBA, IBF and WBO belts.

The loss put a dent in the hopes of a future bout with Tyson Fury – something now looking extremely unlikely after the Gypsy King announced his retirement following his win over Dillian Whyte.

Since his first fight with Usyk, Joshua has made changes to his training camp.

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Long-time coach Rob McCracken, who has mentored the 32-year-old since his amateur days, has parted ways with Joshua with Angel Fernandez now the man in place.

It comes after several questions were raised about Joshua’s ability to perform at the very top level after he was outboxed by Usyk in the autumn.

However, Clarke, who is also trained by Fernandez, thinks Joshua now has the tools at his disposal to defeat his challenger but has warned him not to take Usyk lightly.

“I think the loss has made him better,” Clarke told Sky Sports News. “He’s opened his eyes a bit.

“It’s made him mentally better. I think he knows what he needs to do.

“I think he’s changed his situation, which he thinks will help him. He’s got a team of people that are dedicated for one thing, and that’s AJ getting the result.

“You can’t write Usyk off, he’s an unbelievable fighter. But I’d like to think AJ’s in a place where he can go on and get this win.”

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Author: Paula Allen