Feature | Jun 27 2017

EXCLUSIVE Rob McCracken on Anthony Joshua vs Wladimir Klitschko rematch

The trainer tells John Dennen how Anthony Joshua was learning even as the Klitschko fight progressed, and why he'll be better second time around
Anthony Joshua
Anthony Joshua during the media session  |  Action Images/Lee Smith

ROB McCRACKEN always knew the fight would be hard. Wladimir Klitschko was a 68 fight veteran with a tremendous track record. Anthony Joshua is talented and an Olympic gold medallist, but was only going into the 19th bout of his professional career.

“It was three or four fights early, in my opinion, because he’s been a pro three and a half years, Anthony. Klitschko had been arguably the best heavyweight for the last 15 years or whatever. He’s been the number one for the last decade until he got beat by Fury. So it was always a risk. It was worth the risk though, I looked at it and thought if Anthony didn’t make too many mistakes,” McCracken told Boxing News. “He obviously made some mistakes but you’re going to against someone of that experience and that ability and obviously very heavy-handed Klitschko as well.”

But Joshua proved himself in the toughest of tests against Klitschko. “So looking at it he hurt Klitschko in the fifth I think it was, then he got over-excited and then obviously he got caught with some big shots and allowed Klitschko right back into it and kind of loaded up too much. Needed to try to find a bit of time to recover in the sixth, then obviously he got caught with a right hand while he was trying to recover as well. But I thought he did fantastically well to come through that, to keep calm. Clearly he’d been hurt, especially with the right hand, the knockdown shot, but that’s what professional boxing is. If you don’t fight the best, then you don’t have to come through adversity and you don’t have to come through difficult spells in a fight, how do you ever become a genuine champion?” Rob said.