Angel Fernandez believes Anthony Joshua can beat Tyson Fury, if and when the time comes for them to fight.
With Fury seeking a lucrative WBC heavyweight title defence following the collapse of his proposed undisputed title fight with Oleksandr Usyk, speculation persists that Fury-Joshua could yet be agreed.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn favours the rematch between Joshua and Dillian Whyte, after Joshua laboured to victory over Jermaine Franklin, but also recognises that Fury-Joshua would be considerably higher-profile and generate significantly more money.
His leading fighter was so unconvincing against Franklin that Hearn also said that the priority should be for him to spend more time under his new trainer Derrick James, but Fernandez, who assisted first Rob McCracken and then Robert Garcia across four of Joshua’s fights, believes that the 33-year-old retains the potential to win.
“One hundred per cent,” he told ProBox TV when asked if Joshua is a tougher fight for Fury than Usyk. “I’ve always believed AJ will beat Fury, and I know there’s going to be a lot of comments saying, ‘This man is crazy, and he likes Anthony Joshua’, or whatever, but I do believe I’ve seen it.
“I know what AJ can do, and I do believe, with Derrick James next to him, he will 100 per cent beat Tyson Fury.”
Fernandez, who continues to train, among others, Richard Riakporhe and Frazer Clarke out of Loughborough University, contributed to the selection of the Dallas-based James as McCracken’s long-term successor.
The Spaniard was heavily influenced by Ismael Salas and Jorge Rubio, both of Cuba, before working with Joshua, and in the process of Joshua trialling different coaches got to work alongside more of the leading trainers in the US.
“[Salas is] very good with rhythm; upper body; hand positioning,” he said. “Jorge Rubio’s amazing with footwork, and positioning; angles; combination punching. That’s something I’ve picked from him. I always speak to him, and I’ll always be grateful to the man. I am who I am because of him.
“With Eddy [Reynoso] I had the opportunity to watch Canelo [Saul Alvarez], 12 rounds of sparring, and I’ve got to say, that was probably one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. I have never seen anything like it in my life in sparring. The communication that fighter and trainer had.
“Just, 30 seconds’ rest [between] rounds; one little sign with the hand [to communicate]; ‘No problem’. The defence on that guy. He was talking me through it. Everything Canelo was doing, he had a reason for it.
“Ronnie Shields, I spent a week in London with him. He’s one of these old-school fighters. I wouldn’t say technical, but he gets the best out of his fighters. It’s more the mental side – he gets that connection with his fighters. I’m a huge believer in connection. This game is mental – the technical is, pretty much, four or five rounds. After that it’s all upstairs.
“Robert Garcia. Great trainer. A is A. B is B. Hard work. He’s very good in terms of preparation; he’s very straightforward. He’s very passionate about what he does; he’s always watching boxing.
“Rob McCracken. Another great trainer. He knows boxing inside out. I learned a lot on the politics of the sport; which fights at what time. ‘This is the plan; this is how we’re going to train.’”