Home Boxing News Robert Garcia says Anthony Joshua mentally defeated himself against Oleksandr Usyk

Robert Garcia says Anthony Joshua mentally defeated himself against Oleksandr Usyk

Anthony Joshua and trainer Robert Garcia. Photo credit: Getty Images

Trainer Robert Garcia has delivered a brutal assessment of his boxer Anthony Joshua’s loss to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia last Saturday night.

Britain’s Joshua, 32, had his moments in the fight, including in the ninth round when he appeared to hurt Usyk. But the 35-year-old Ukrainian southpaw put his foot on the gas to sweep the last three rounds to retain his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles by split decision.

“Joshua was mentally defeated since round ten or eleven,” Garcia said to Izquierdazo. “Round ten was a big one for Usyk. That changed the whole fight and mentally we were defeated. At that point, we were relying on a good shot or something like that, because Anthony is a hard puncher, and one shot can change a fight. That is what we were hoping for, one shot, because he was dominated at that point of the fight.”

Garcia continued: “The fight was going well for us, but the tenth round changed everything. The last three rounds of the fight were the ones that changed the fight. In the ninth round we were close to winning, perhaps even by knockout. Through round nine, we were winning the fight on the judges scorecards, but it was decided in the last rounds. Usyk is a great fighter, with a tremendous heart, who knows how to finish strong, like champions do.

“During that ninth round, me and the guys in the corner were telling ourselves that we had the fight. But nothing is secured until the final bell. Usyk came back stronger in the tenth round and that changed the fight.

“I have even thought in these last few days that it was Anthony Joshua who mentally defeated himself. In the ninth, Joshua threw a lot of punches and almost put Usyk out. Maybe he emptied [his tank], but maybe it was just that Usyk came stronger and more motivated to the tenth round, we don’t know.

“In this fight, I think that Usyk was mentally stronger. I think he was stronger, to the point that after being close to a knockout, instead of giving up, he came back stronger. His will and his desire to demonstrate to his country that he couldn’t let himself lose the fight, made him come back.

“He wanted to give a message to his country, for everything that is happening there. He is a big inspiration for them [Ukrainians]. His mind was what made him turn the tide in the fight and get him to victory. And I think that Anthony’s mind is a bit weaker than Usyk’s, because instead of going out stronger, his mind and exhaustion played games with him.

“Because of my own experience, I can notice when a fighter is mentally defeated. In such a situation, instructions don’t work, because the fighter is not listening anymore, his mind collapses. What we did with Anthony was trying to motivate him and not giving instructions on how to win the fight. You have to instill images, like his family, to switch him on, but that didn’t work either.”