Right now Joshua is mentally broken - Mahmoud Charr Says About Joshua vs Wilder
Anthony Joshua has been facing challenges in returning to his top form since his loss to Oleksandr Usyk, and one fellow heavyweight has suggested that this is due to him being “mentally broken.”
Joshua engaged in two grueling fights with the Ukrainian southpaw across 2021 and 2022, spanning a total of 24 rounds. In the aftermath of the second fight, Joshua displayed signs of emotional distress, seemingly overwhelmed that his best efforts had not been enough to defeat the technically skilled and elusive Usyk.
Subsequently, Joshua had a cautious points victory over Jermaine Franklyn in April and took his time to secure a knockout against late replacement Robert Helenius in August.
Part of the reason for Joshua’s struggles could be attributed to his adjustment to a new coach, Derrick James, based in Texas. James became his third coach in as many years following his previous splits with long-time trainer Rob McCracken and Robert Garcia, who oversaw the Usyk rematch defeat.
Mahmoud Charr, the recently reinstated WBA regular heavyweight champion, drew a comparison between Joshua’s situation and that of Wladimir Klitschko, who took years to rebuild after his first knockout loss. Charr noted that Klitschko altered his fighting style and struggled mentally after his loss to Corey Sanders.
“When [Klitschko] lost to Corey Sanders, he changed his style, he was not mentally strong, he was broken, and he waited many years to fight people from the Top 20, Top 10, to get back to where he was at the beginning. He was fighting only bums for three or four years.”
Charr expressed his belief that Joshua’s mental game is currently lacking and suggested that facing Deontay Wilder next would be detrimental to Joshua’s career. Charr stated:
“Right now Joshua is mentally broken, you can see that.
Against Andy Ruiz Jr when he got first KO’d, two losses against Usyk, he looks broken. He needs time. He is not ready for Fury. He needs five or six easy fights to get back to himself.
If he fights Wilder next he can stop boxing after that. He is not ready for Wilder or Fury and not ready for me.”
It is worth noting that Joshua is on a path toward a highly anticipated, but widely regarded as a dangerous fight, against American knockout specialist Deontay Wilder in early 2024 in Saudi Arabia. Joshua’s perspective on his readiness for this challenge may differ from Charr’s assessment.