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Anthony Joshua: I Am Different Animal Now! – In less than a week, the Rage On The Red Sea will explode at the King Abdullah Sports City Arena in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The big two of The Ring, Anthony ‘AJ’ Joshua (24-2, 22 KOs) and Oleksandr ‘The Cat’ Usyk (19-0, 13 KOs) will face each other in their rematch this Saturday night.

The fight is the chance for AJ to become a three-time world heavyweight champion and reclaim the WBA (Super)/WBO/IBF/IBO titles from The Cat since lost by unanimous decision in their first bout last September in London. At that time, Joshua was comfortably outclassed as the Ukrainian took his WBA, WBO and IBF world titles in front of 65,000 fans at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. But Usyk stunned Joshua on a number of occasions and was simply too fast for the Brit, landing some impressive hits to win unanimously on points.

Oleksandr Usyk Is Going To War
Many observers said AJ will face a killing machine in Jeddah, especially after Usyk was reported about his ‘war mentality’ during his training camp. Moreover, some of them think Joshua should retire if he loses again to Usyk in the rematch. But, Anthony Joshua is a changed man.

Anthony Joshua has a big mission to accomplish this Saturday night.

His mentality, Joshua insists he is a very different animal now to the one that succumbed so meekly at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September. And it is no exaggeration to say that his hopes of winning back his three world title belts in Saudi Arabia depend on him being good to his word.

The Mexican-American Robert Garcia, 46, has been in charge of Joshua for eight months, having replaced his previous coach Robert McCracken, who had guided him since his amateur days, and is making his presence felt, certainly in terms of his fighter’s approach.

“We have to let Anthony Joshua off the leash for this fight – we have to,” Garcia, a former world champion himself, told Telegraph Sport. “This fight is all about mindset. This is the hurt business. Usyk is a very smart fighter, and Anthony has shown us that he has great power, size and strength and we have been instilling his belief in his ability to go out there and hurt opponents.

“We want him to go out there and impose himself. We know that he got the plan wrong the first time, and this time he has to be more aggressive.”

Joshua sparred hard in Loughborough against four southpaws he flew in to prepare him for the unbeaten Usyk, before leaving to acclimatize to the 40-degree heat of Jeddah three weeks ago. Garcia was happy with what he witnessed.

Joshua has explained that he “respects Garcia highly, because of his name and credentials and experience” but added that he “can only get my confidence from my preparation and sparring. A coach can tell a fighter a million good things but if he doesn’t do them then it’s pointless.”

“Me and Rob (McCracken) would walk in and do skipping, shadow boxing, pads and the bag. He would obviously say things like ‘hands up’ or ‘slip there’.”

“Angel and Robert Garcia break things down more. I might get told, ‘In this round, perfect that f—— jab. The goal in this round is to get that jab popping. The next goal is to tilt more when you throw the right hand.’

“It’s more tactical like that, so there is reasoning behind the method. It’s a lot to remember, and it can be a bit brain fatiguing, but nothing will fatigue me more than being in that ring and going through it for 12 rounds, for real…so I have to go through it.

“This time around, rather than taking control I learnt that what I want is not as important as what the coach wants. I am a sponge, I will learn from anyone so I let them control the environment.”

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“I was in the gym every day with him – I don’t think I missed a session of his. I’ve been brutally honest with him the whole time. He’s very motivated for this fight but it’s good to be in there around Robert Garcia, around his other trainer Angel Fernandez, and mentally he seemed really good.

“I think Robert and Angel are a good combination, they’ve filled him with confidence, and the message is: ‘Just go out there and be AJ, don’t try and do anything that’s not AJ. Be educated, pressure and just give it your all. Be a destroyer’. If he can do that, however awkward Usyk is, AJ can swing the contest his way.

“Usyk is a southpaw, and he’s very clever, but he has two arms, two legs and he’s got a jaw like everyone else, and if Anthony Joshua hits you on the jaw once, he’s going to hurt you. But if he lets the flurries go, and he pins you on the ropes, and holds you there, let me tell you now, you’ve got to be superhuman to withstand it.”

Joshua has already proved his inner warrior spirit once in his career, winning back his belts from Andy Ruiz after suffering one of the biggest shocks in heavyweight boxing history in June 2019. Can he do it again, and become a three-time world champion against the masterful, tricky Usyk? The answer to that question lies in his head, as much as his hands.

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