Ronnie Shields is confident he can get Anthony Joshua a win over Oleksandr Usyk
When Anthony “AJ” Joshua (24-2, 22 KO’s) traveled to America to fight for the first time, he faced the challenge of Andy Ruiz. In that bout, AJ was severely belted, dropped several times, discombobulated and ultimately stopped. Even still, in the wake of the embarrassing first loss of his career, Joshua maintained his team. After suffering the second professional defeat of his career however, AJ is thinking about his next fight with a Hollywood sequel frame of mind. This essentially means that Joshua is aiming to have a bigger budget, change of location and a new cast.
As a result, the affable fighter traveled back to America on something of mini-tour of potential chief seconds. During his miniature odyssey, Joshua had the occasion to visit with Eddie Reynoso, Virgil Hunter and Ronnie Shields. Out of this trio of top-notch trainers, there seems to be the feeling that Shields is leading the pack. If he does turn out to be the coach selected to take the helm of Joshua’s training and preparation regimen, he would be pleased to do it. As he shared with ThaBoxingVoice, their initial talks have been very encouraging.
“We had a great talk the other day, today was even greater. The talks were really, really good! I like to explain myself to a fighter, I just like to let him know what I think is going to help him and what’s going to be good for him. And he really liked that.”
WRONG PLAN EQUALS WRONG RESULT
In his last at-bat, AJ was convincingly and consistently out-boxed by former undisputed champion Oleksandr Usyk. Not only did he suffer the second defeat of his career, Joshua was denuded of his quartet of titles. Each and every one of his WBO, WBA, IBF and IBO belts were absorbed by Usyk. Unsurprisingly, Joshua has elected to exercise his right to an immediate rematch.
So clearly, if chosen, Shields would come in as a high-priced hired gun to train Joshua specifically for the Usyk rematch. The two have already had a time to talk shop, review stratagem and begin devising a rudimentary plan of attack. So, provided that he gets the assignment, Shield is optimistic that he and AJ would be able to topple Usyk.
“I expected him to fight that way, to fight like a bully, but he didn’t. Again I didn’t ask what their game plan was, I didn’t want to put him through that because obviously it wasn’t the right game plan and I told him he didn’t fight like himself. I just think he is a much better fighter than he showed in that Usyk fight. Like I said, I watched a few rounds with him and his team, I pointed out certain things…so this is why he wants to make a change.”
THE AMERICAN EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM
There are a bevy of reasons why Shields believes that a partnership with Joshua would yield lush fruit. One of the biggest though, is the fact that the legendary chief second has so much knowledge to transmute to him. Shields has trained boxing standouts: Evander Holyfield, Arturo Gatti, Kassim Ouma, Jesse James Leija, Pernell Whitiker and Mike Tyson, among many more.
Not only does he have all this experience to pull from, there is the stark difference between UK and US boxing. In just the few sessions that Shields has put in with AJ, he’s already been able to open his eyes up to a whole new world of possibilities, tricks and tactics. Therefore it really does tease the imagination to wonder: Just what could Anthony Joshua become if being instructed by Ronnie Shields? If all continues along the current path, it appears we just might get that answer sooner rather than later!
“It was something that I should him that he said, ‘man, I was never taught to do this,’ and it surprises me that a guy who’s heavyweight champion of the world doing those certain things. But like he said, European boxing is different than boxing over here in the United States. And he realized that he had to come to the United States to get something different and he feel, and I feel, that I can show him something different that’s going to really help him in that rematch.”
By: Bakari Simpson