Anthony Joshua to go into Oleksandr Usyk rematch ‘very, very aggressive’ with fresh tactics taught by new training team


ANTHONY JOSHUA will go into his high-stakes rematch with Oleksandr Usyk with a “very, very aggressive” mindset.

The Watford warrior will bid to reclaim the unified heavyweight titles from the undefeated Ukrainian in a potentially career-defining Saudi showdown later this month.

AJ, 32, unwisely tried to outbox the slick southpaw in their Tottenham tussle last September and didn’t make the most of the opportunities that presented themselves.

But training partner Richard Riakporhe insists he won’t be gun shy second time around thanks to the addition of new coach Robert Garcia.

He told Sky Sports: “Both of them [Garcia and Angel Fernandez] have a similar type of mentality – very, very aggressive.

“Very aggressive coaches, that’s their tactics. They don’t mind going in.

“All they care about is going into war, going to war but with intelligence. But we’re going to have to impose our will on our opponent. That’s the philosophy and it’s all about knockouts.

“That’s all they care about, honestly, knock them out and then it’s about how they get knocked out.

“Because you can’t go in there just throwing bombs and not expect things back. You obviously have to be really strategic. It’s all about the results and that’s all they care about.

“Garcia, one thing that I’ve learned about him, he does bring that mentality, that Mexican style mentality – it’s OK to take one, to give them two.”

Joshua has vowed to “get back to basics” for his desert dust-up with the former undisputed cruiserweight champion, who put on a boxing clinic in their first clash.

And Riakporhe is adamant we’re “going to see that old school fighter” in the Jeddah jostle.

He said: “I’ve been seeing how he’s been performing in training and he’s definitely not going to be trying to do that boxing stuff that he did last year.

“You’re going to see that old-school fighter. I know because he’s been training like that.

“That’s the type of mentality that they have. Kill or be killed. That’s what I’ve adopted and it’s just changed everything. You can feel the aura, you can see it.

“You can see that guy’s a dangerous man. I think this is what you’re going to see from Joshua on August 20, you’re going to see something different.”

Slick southpaw Usyk, 35, has yet to taste defeat as a professional and will be more motivated than ever due to the ongoing atrocities in his homeland of Ukraine.

And Riakporhe reckons that combination could prove to be incredibly dangerous for AJ.

He continued: “Don’t get me wrong, it’s a tough test. I believe that Usyk is the most technically gifted fighter in the world and not just only technically gifted but mentally ready for war. That’s the worst combination.

“It’s the worst combination because you get some that just don’t have the other but he’s got both, which makes it double trouble so AJ knows he has to be on his A-game.

“In AJ’s situation, coming back as a three-time world champion, that’s special.

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