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Eddie Hearn insists that ‘angry’ Anthony Joshua ‘badly wants to bash up Oleksandr Usyk’ in their rematch as the promoter called on the former heavyweight champion to train somewhere ‘rough and rugged’.

 

 

 

Joshua, 32, is reeling from his unanimous points decision loss to the wily and Ukrainian in September, with the 34-year-old putting in a boxing masterclass to win the WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO belts in London.

 

 

 

The Briton has triggered his rematch clause but many fans and pundits are doubtful as to whether AJ can reclaim his belts, given the dominant manner of Usyk’s victory.

 

 

 

 

 

Yet Joshua’s promoter, Hearn, has insisted that the former heavyweight king is determined to return to the summit of the heavyweight divisions and has bad intentions going into the rematch.

 

 

‘Everything I hear from him tells me that he wants to win badly and bash Usyk up, which I didn’t hear any of going into the first fight,’ Hearn told Betfred TV. ‘He’s angry, which is good.’

 

 

Plenty of questions have been raised surrounding AJ’s preparations heading into his clash with Usyk, with suggestions that the Briton may need to separate from long-term trainer Rob McCracken for a fresh voice in his camp.

 

 

Speculation regarding Joshua’s coaching plans intensified last month when the 32-year-old was seen visiting US-based trainers including Eddy Reynoso, Virgil Hunter, Ronnie Shields and Robert Garcia.

 

 

 

 

Hearn – who labelled McCracken a ‘friend, mentor and advisor’ of AJ – admitted that a ‘change of scenery’ from his Sheffield base where he is treated like a ‘God’ would be to the former heavyweight champion’s benefit, particularly somewhere ‘rough and rugged’.

 

 

 

‘Robert McCracken is more than just a trainer to AJ. He’s a friend. He’s a mentor. He’s an advisor,’ Hearn continued. ‘I think a change of scenery for AJ is sometimes good. I think it was refreshing for him when he went over to America recently.

 

 

 

‘Going from getting mobbed wherever he is in the UK to that not happening. I’m not saying people don’t know him in America, but it’s different to not being able to walk around here.

 

 

 

‘You’re getting photographed everywhere and the thing with AJ is that he’s got time for everybody. That can be extra draining. Sometimes he’s taken half an hour’s worth of photographs before he’s even got into training.

‘There are fine margins between success and failure and those little percentages of rest relate to that. He’s had 14 years in Sheffield now. It’s an incredible facility, but he is God there. The amateurs look up to him and his picture is everywhere.

‘I say we have to go rough and rugged but he’s got to have that challenger mentality in this fight and he’s got it. No decision has been made yet but I do think a change of scenery would be good for him in terms of where his training camp’s based.’

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