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How Anthony Joshua should react to the loss

Anthony Joshua
Dan Mullan/Getty Images
John Scully considers what a fighter like Anthony Joshua can take from defeat

THE best way for a fighter to react to a loss is to realise: it only means you have more work to do to get better as a team. Sometimes you lose simply because the other guy was the better man that night. It’s not always someone’s fault, sometimes it’s just the way the fights go. Someone has to win and someone has to lose and the loss doesn’t always happen because someone messed up. It happens because the guy was just better and even with Angelo Dundee, Emanuel Steward and Eddie Futch all working your corner you still wouldn’t have beaten him.

The best time to maybe begin looking for a new trainer would either be after you feel that your current trainer has shown you all that he can, or when you feel that you have lost the necessary connection and bond with him. Sometimes a relationship simply runs its course, the connection is lost, and it’s time to move on.

But sometimes boxers look for new trainers as a way to alleviate some of the pressure of a bad performance. Without verbalising it, getting a new trainer is a way of saying, ‘Hey, everyone, it couldn’t have been me or anything I did. I lost because my trainer wasn’t able to show me the way to victory.’

It used to be a thing where boxers and trainers won and lost as a team and a loss was nothing but a signal to go back to the drawing board together and give it all another go. The bond and camaraderie was solid as a rock and a loss was never an indication that a parting of the ways was required.

Nowadays, though, many trainers, with good reason, feel as though they are one loss away from the unemployment line.

With Anthony Joshua visiting different gyms in America it may or may not be a case of the grass appearing to be greener on the other side. It stands to reason that there is a much deeper pool of talented and capable trainers in America than anywhere else in the world but by the same token it also stands to reason that Anthony’s trainer must have been pretty darned good already to have brought him to the places he did.

Although a new coach may be just what the doctor ordered, at the same time sometimes fighters need to realise that they need to look more at changing things internally than externally.

There is certainly no one particular American style of boxing so anyone coming here from abroad should be very specific when looking for a new trainer because they all are following vastly different playbooks. I also believe that in cases of highly accomplished boxers who are looking for new trainers to lead them into battle, without even realising it, they may be looking for a new mentality more than they are looking for a new skill set. A change of scenery, a change of approach from a psychological standpoint and having some new life injected into the boxer’s mentality is often more important and necessary than learning how to throw a better jab. 

There are some boxers who don’t allow themselves to get too emotionally attached to a coach so when a break up occurs it isn’t that big of a deal. Others require an emotional bond and attachment to their coach, though, and that’s where it can get tricky when trying out someone new.

Going somewhere new and getting different sparring in different surroundings, getting out of your usual comfort zone can be very beneficial to a boxer’s development. Whether or not they need a new trainer as well will always remain to be seen. Because the fact of the matter is that sometimes the fighter needs to change himself more than he needs to change the man in his corner.

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