Anthony Joshua has “big decisions to make” but can regain his world titles with a “great coach” in Rob McCracken, says friend and sparring partner Frazer Clarke.
Joshua has visited a number of trainers in America as he considers adding a new face to his coaching team after losing his world heavyweight titles in last month’s points defeat to Oleksandr Usyk.
But the British star expects to continue working with McCracken, who helped him reclaim his WBA, IBF and WBO belts in a rematch with Andy Ruiz Jr.
“They are both grown men. They have both been in boxing for a long time,” says Clarke, who received expert coaching from McCracken in the Team GB set-up and has sparred numerous rounds with Joshua.
“Rob, for me, is one of the best people I’ve ever met in the sport. He’s done more for me and various fighters up and down the country, that people might not know about. He’s helped everyone.
“A great coach and just a great person.
“Anthony, he’s at the level he’s at now. He’s got big decisions to make.
“I just think he’s in that position where he needs to do what’s best for him. If he feels he needs to make changes then he will go ahead and do that. If he feels he’s maybe got to change something himself, he’ll do that also.
“I’ve not spoken too much to him, but as far as I know at the minute, the situation is exactly the same and I would like to see him return to Sheffield and work with Rob and get it right next time.”
Clarke is set to join Joshua in the heavyweight division after securing a bronze medal at this summer’s Olympic Games.
His eagerly awaited arrival in the pro ranks has been pushed back slightly, with Clarke finalising plans for his first fight.
“I was kidding myself and telling myself I would box in December,” Clarke told Sky Sports.
“I didn’t realise how much goes into sorting out a training team, a managerial team, a lawyer, and just knowing where you’re going to box.
“These are all new things to me, so it’s taken a bit longer than I would have liked.
“But I have got time. People who are getting on my case, because I’m 30 and rushing me to turn pro. I’ve got time, I feel good.
“Realistically it will be the New Year, early New Year. Probably February.”
Clarke had previously defeated many of the world’s top amateurs, including Olympic gold medallist Bakhodir Jalolov, but he will refine his aggressive approach after being hampered by cuts at the Games.
“It’s definitely a new style,” said Clarke. “I’m stripping it back. I’m sort of going back to basics. I’m here to learn, I want to be a sponge.
“For me, probably putting a bit more purchase on the shots. I have fast hands for a heavyweight. Maybe a few less punches, a bit more purchase on them.
“Better defence. I can’t be coming out with more cuts like the Olympics. I’ve got to look after my face a bit more, scaring my kids.
“The defence has got to improve and a little bit more purchase on the shots. Just being clever.”
October 31 – Top Rank in New York
Jose Zepeda vs Josue Vargas
November 6 – Top Rank in Las Vegas
Mikaela Mayer vs Maiva Hamadouche – IBF and WBO super-featherweight titles
November 6 – BOXXER in Liverpool
November 20 – BOXXER in London
Richard Riakporhe vs Olanrewaju Durodola
Caroline Dubois professional debut
Hosea Burton vs Dan Azziz – British light-heavyweight title
November 20 – Top Rank in Las Vegas
Terence Crawford vs Shawn Porter – WBO welterweight title
December 11 – BOXXER
December 11 – Top Rank in Las Vegas
Vasiliy Lomachenko vs Richard Commey
December 17 – Top Rank in Montreal
Artur Beterbiev vs Marcus Browne – IBF and WBC light-heavyweight titles
February 26 – Top Rank in Glasgow
Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall – undisputed super-lightweight title