Unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua 23-1 (21) was able to outbox Andy Ruiz Jr 33-2 (22) in their rematch because he felt no pressure, according to co-trainer Angel Fernandez.
After his shock knockout loss to Ruiz Jr in New York on June 1, Joshua delivering a boxing masterclass to regain the IBF, WBA and WBO heavyweight titles in Saudi Arabia on December 7 by wide unanimous decision.
Spaniard Fernandez was added to Joshua’s coaching staff for the rematch, working alongside Rob McCracken and Joby Clayton.
“He was very, very relaxed. I never saw a man thinking ‘everyone’s eyes are on me’. Nah, nah, nah, nah. I don’t think he actually felt that pressure,” Fernandez said to Starsport.
“Very, very, very relaxed. Very relaxed. And the sparring is exactly the same, exactly the same, as he did in the fight.
“Me watching the fight was [the same as] me watching him in the sparring sessions. It’s just like, wow.
“I said that to him after the fight. ‘Watching you there is what you’ve done in the past x amount of sparring sessions.’
“And we kind of made him keep thinking that way as well. I said ‘listen, it’s gonna be a sparring session, but a different opponent. Just keep doing what you have been doing. You have been learning, you have been studying and now it’s down to you to do the fight yourself. You know you have been well prepared, you’ve been studying everything, and it’s just taking it as it is.’
“And he nailed it. He absolutely nailed it.”
Fernandez said the 30-year-old Brit still has room for improvement and how he fights in the future will depend on his opponent.
“Whoever comes next, we analyse it and then you adjust the way that you prepare, the way that we want him to fight, if he’s going to be at long range or on his toes. You have to just adapt to each opponent,” he said.
“You might have the basics, but then you have to put the adaptations for whoever is going to be in front of you.
“Whatever we have to do in order to beat that other man that’s in front, we just have to go with that really.
“But I think he improved overall technically and there is more room for improvement.
“I’m sure that in the next fight, in six months or whatever amount of time he fights after Saturday, I’m sure we will see a different Joshua or even a more improved boxer, because he learns quick.
“He is guy that learns quick. He wants to learn as well and he wants to do other things.
“I’ve got so much respect for him, not just as a boxer but also as a person, because what you see from the outside is actually what you get. What you see is what you get from him.”
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