Anthony Joshua on Derrick James: 'He’s more than just a trainer'

Former unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua (26-3, 23 KOs) is set to face Otto Wallin (26-1, 14 KOs) on December 23 in an event called “Day of Reckoning” live on DAZN PPV. This training camp was noticeably different as Joshua isn’t working with trainer Derrick James in Dallas, TX. He’s decided to use Ben Davison, based in the U.K., for this fight against Wallin.

It was a head-scratcher as it seemed Joshua and James had solid chemistry, and improvements had occurred during their tenure. Joshua quickly shut down any rumors of differences between himself and James. The situation was more about location and time. Joshua lives in the U.K. and after fighting Robert Helenius in August, he stayed at home and was seen doing workouts with Davison to keep in shape. Joshua felt that traveling back and forth to Dallas, TX, wouldn’t have been good for this fight due to the short notice of the event.

“Training in Dallas (TX) was really good,” said the 34-year-old Joshua. “Obviously, I had fought in London, so while I was here, Ben Davison took over the training. Ben Davison is a phenomenal teacher & coach in general, so I continued that progression when I found out about this fight. It was a late-notice fight.”

While the situation resulted in Joshua working with Davison for the Wallin fight, he still stays in contact with James and updates him on what’s going on with training camp. “Derrick (James) messaged me today. I just finished sparring, so I’m going to get back to him. Derrick is cool, and we stay in touch. He’s (James) more than just a trainer. He’s just a cool guy in general.”

While Joshua was immediately asked about the ESPN report that a fight between him and Wilder is agreed upon for March 9, he downplayed any conversation concerning the Wilder fight. He said he was unsure about the deal being done and that his management takes care of those types of things, leaving his focus solely on fighting. Joshua was candid about what it would mean to win and lose this fight, so he has his sights set only on Wallin. Joshua ended the call confidently by saying, “I’m from the U.K.; I stand on my business.” Let’s see if Wilder and Joshua win next weekend so 2024 can begin with conversations about the mega fight between those two heavyweight titans.

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