Anthony Joshua’s trainer Robert Garcia believes the 32-year-old “mentally defeated himself” during his defeat to Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia last weekend after being outclassed in the final three rounds.
Joshua lost by way of split decision to Usyk, who successfully defended his IBF, WBO and WBA heavyweight belts.
This was after staging a late surge against the British challenger.
Garcia claims his fighter was his own worst enemy as Usyk lifted himself from the 10th round, which entirely changed the complexion of the bout.
According to Garcia, Joshua’s team told themselves the fight was theirs to lose in the ninth round, and the American trainer has since questioned the Brit’s mental strength at the highest level.
“During that ninth round, in the corner [we] were telling ourselves we had the fight,” he told IZQUIERDAZO. “Oleksandr Usyk came back stronger.
“I’ve even thought in these last few days that it was Joshua who mentally defeated himself.
“Joshua was mentally defeated since round 10 or 11.
“Round 10 was a big one for Usyk.
“That changed the whole fight, and mentally we were defeated.”
The 47-year-old trainer also admitted that his team were hoping for a knockout from Joshua – or at least a significant blow – during the final stages of the fight, as Usyk was clearly in the ascendency.
He said: “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.”