It’s Joshua’s career and he needs to do what works for him – Derrick James

Dallas trainer Derrick James has said his priority is getting his new fighter, Anthony Joshua, to improve as an all-round boxer rather than prepare him simply for the big tests that might lie ahead.

Joshua meets American contender Jermaine Franklin in London on Saturday at the O2 Arena and it’s the first bout James will have been in the Joshua corner for. There is, as always, talk of future fights with the likes of Tyson Fury and Dillian Whyte, but James believes the job is making the former Olympic gold medallist a better fighter.

“I’m working towards him [Joshua] being the best fighter he can be,” James said, when asked about the big nights that might lie ahead. “If he’s developing and getting better and better and better, that’s what I want for him.”.

When asked what his first impressions of Joshua were in the gym, James told IFL TV: “I thought he was good, very fast, very athletic and very strong. I noticed his athleticism, how mobile how he is and his strength.”

James is Joshua’s third trainer in three fights, having left Robert McCracken for Robert Garcia and having only the Usyk rematch with Garcia in the corner.

“It’s his career and it’s all about what fits for him and what he thinks works best for him and being with somebody who he can take him where he wants to go,” James said of the trainer situation in team AJ. “All I tell fighters is if you feel like you’re not getting what you need from me, then you should go find somebody who is going to help you.”

James said he and Joshua get on well together and that even if they were not involved in boxing as a trainer and fighter, they could still have a good relationship. James also believes Joshua has improved in their time together.

“That guy who fought Usyk is a different guy than I believe he is today,” said James.

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