Carl Froch has hit back at Anthony Joshua and defended his career-long trainer, Robert McCracken, following Joshua’s comments regarding his former trainer following his switch to Derrick James.
McCracken trained Joshua from his days on the Team GB amateur set-up to achieve Olympic success in 2012 and was followed up with becoming a two-time unified heavyweight world champion as a professional.
Joshua & McCracken would part ways in 2022 before Joshua’s rematch with Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia following defeat to the former undisputed cruiserweight world champion in 2021. Joshua would first employ Robert Garcia for the 2022 rematch with Usyk before relocating to Texas to work alongside Derrick James, with the pairing’s first fight came against Jermaine Franklin on April 1st, a successful yet conservative performance.
When speaking to boxing news, Joshua did praise McCracken but criticised his coaching regarding a lack of emphasis on defence and coaching professional fighters in general. Joshua feels that he now has to dig deep to rediscover his best years, insisting that he gave his former trainer his best years boxing, the 33-year-old Joshua added.
“Rob McCracken’s a really good coach; the only thing I’d say is look at Carl Froch’s nose. He just didn’t teach me defence,” Joshua told Boxing News.
“And in heavyweight boxing, the level of competition I was facing at that stage of my career, I was getting hit way too much with clean shots. I was sparring Solomon Dacres... the tall six foot five guy, in Miami for [Andy] Ruiz, who’s five foot. Rob was in Japan for the Olympics. He only came back seven weeks before it. I just know it’s not good enough for where I’m at.
“Derrick reminds me of Rob but a lot more invested… Rob was too committed to the Olympic team, not the pros. I gave Rob my best years; now I’ve got to dig deep to get them back.”
Froch responded venomously to Joshua’s comments and lept to the defence of McKracken, with the pair recently celebrating Froch’s induction into the Internation Boxing Hall of Fame in recent weeks.
Froch felt that Joshua had lost focus and was not listening to McKracken in his training capacity and that Rob walked away following the mutual agreement to part ways.
“People say Carl Froch doesn’t have nice things to say about AJ because AJ left Rob McCracken. I’ve got two things to say to that 1) I couldn’t give us a toss who trains him 2) AJ did not leave Rob McCracken; for all you know, Rob McCracken left him. It was a mutual agreement, put it that way. AJ did not sack McCracken. He’s the boss. Maybe things happened, and Rob didn’t want to work with AJ. That’s why that came about. In the build-up to the first Usyk fight, there were many people around AJ, telling him different things, and I think Rob had had enough, if I’m honest. I know the situation, and I know for a fact that AJ did not get rid of Rob,” Froch told Genting Casino.
“He wasn’t listening to Rob before they split. If you’re not going to listen and have that respect, then the relationship will break down. Rob knew that Usyk would be their last together. Rob’s happy not working with AJ any more because he doesn’t want to work with someone who’s not going to listen. Rob’s not just going to stick around for the money.”
“I think Simon’s Jordan’s right when he says criticism comes with the territory. You’re the former two-time heavyweight champion, and we expect you to be in big fights and to perform. You’re the big bad heavyweight who has a massive name; you’re getting a fortune every time you fight, and you have a duty to the fans and to sport to 1) fight credible opponents and 2) put in a shift when you’re in that ring. Get in there, believe in yourself and do the business. So criticism comes with the territory, Simon Jordan (radio personality) is right. All of it isn’t negative though; it’s constructive.”