Robert Garcia: Anthony Joshua Made Right Choice with Derrick James

Robert Garcia will not be Anthony Joshua’s trainer for AJ's upcoming rematch with Dillian Whyte, but he believes that the 2012 Olympic gold medalist has done the right thing as he seeks to regain his confidence, form, and world title.

Garcia worked Joshua’s corner for the Briton’s second defeat to Oleksandr Usyk; after the fight, he told ProBox TV, he had just one piece for his advice for the boxer’s team.

“I told them, ‘Look, he needs to get out of the UK to do his training,’” said Garcia. “So, he did one thing that I recommended, which was come to the States.” 

He didn’t, however, move to Garcia’s gym in southern California, electing instead to work with Houston-based Derrick James, who also trains Errol Spence and Jermell Charlo, among others. James was in Joshua’s corner for the former heavyweight champion’s April win over Jermaine Franklin – Joshua's first victory since December 2020 - and will be again for the Whyte clash.

“Obviously, I would have loved him to be in my camp, but he decided to go to Derrick James, which is a great choice,” Garcia continued. 

Not only is James an excellent trainer, Garcia continued, but the high caliber of other boxers he works with means that Joshua will have to be on top of his game around the gym.

“Derrick James has fighters that are going to push Anthony,” he explained. “They're going to compete against Anthony also. And then he's going to see guys like Spence like Charlo work out and he’ll think, ‘I can't be less than them. I have to be as good as them.’”

Training in England, Garcia revealed, allowed Joshua to stay within his comfort zone, in which his every whim was catered to. 

“He's on his own. He trains in his gym by himself, there's nobody else training around him. So, the whole team, like I was, was there for him. If he was an hour late, if he was two hours late, we were OK with it because that’s all we were doing. Derrick has a schedule; he has to train Charlo, he has to train Spence, now he's got to train Ryan Garcia also. And he also has to train Anthony, so I'm pretty sure with Derrick he has a time where he has to show up to the gym. That's a big difference.”

Although disappointed that Joshua chose not to extend their relationship beyond one fight, Garcia is happy to see his former charge take what he considers to be the best possible steps forward for his career.

“He chose the best trainer,” Garcia acknowledged. "Derrick James is great. You know, he's, he's a great, great, great person in the sport because he knows he knows how to create a game plan. He also works with different styles; he doesn't train everybody the same. I wish Anthony was with me, of course. But did he do the right thing? Yes.”