All In The Mind – Can Robert Garcia Give Anthony Joshua A Psychological Edge Over Oleksandr Usyk?

Posted 08/15/2022

Looking back at Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk’s first meeting last September, it becomes immediately apparent that Usyk was in control of the time. From the opening bell onwards, the Ukrainian employed an extremely fast and jerky style, effectively jolting Joshua’s pace from the start. In this, Joshua was not alone. Dempsey-Tunney 1, Clay-Liston 1, Douglas-Tyson, the heavyweight title scene has long known fighters who have been kicked out of their game stylistically by opponents determined to have a mental edge in the ring.

All In The Mind - Can Robert Garcia Give Anthony Joshua A Psychological Edge Over Oleksandr Usyk? 2

With a rematch between him and Usyk just days away, the question for Joshua now is whether or not he, not Usyk, will be the psychologically dominant fighter once the opening bell rings in Saudi Arabia on Saturday. Under the leadership of new manager Robert Garcia, Joshua may have a chance to be. After all, it was Californian Garcia who led the rugged Marcos Maidana to victory over Adrien Broner and almost to victory over the seemingly invincible Floyd Mayweather. Both Broner and Mayweather, to a much greater extent, knew the importance of mental dominance. Maidana, however, demonstrated just how psychologically dominant himself could be when he fought the colorful duo in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

“I don’t need the trust,” Joshua said recently The sun. “I have a lot of respect for Garcia, that’s why his name was initially on the list, due to his name, credentials and experience of him.” According to Joshua, Garcia does more than just practice and give pep talks. A Garcia camp, he claims, is about the details. “I could hear myself say ‘in this round, perfect that fucking jab,” says Joshua. “’The goal in this round is to pop that jab. The next goal is to lean more when throwing the right hand ‘… It’s more tactical that way, so there’s a reasoning behind the method. “

There are those who believe Garcia was not the best choice for Joshua after the imposing Englishman split from longtime manager Robert McCraken in the aftermath of Usyk’s defeat. “Robert Garcia is an excellent coach,” promoter Bob Arum said recently Fight Hub, “but what experience do you really have in training a heavyweight?” For Arum, heavyweights were never known as Garcia’s specialty. Garcia is, however, a respected coach with a pretty impressive track record for himself (here’s a man who has led more than his fair share of fighters to title victory). Even if the results of Saturday’s fight will end up on the fighters’ shoulders, it will be interesting to see if Garcia helped Joshua hone his mental warfare skills.


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