David Haye predicts Anthony Joshua will RETIRE if he doesn’t beat Oleksandr Usyk in August, but says AJ ‘can’t be worse’ than he was in the first fight as he backs the decision to appoint Robert Garcia as trainer
- Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk fight in a crucial rematch on August 20
- Usyk dethroned Joshua with a one-sided points win in September last year
- David Haye believes Joshua could retire if he loses to the Ukrainian once again
- The 41-year-old insists Joshua can’t perform as badly this time, however
Anthony Joshua could hang up his gloves and walk away from boxing should he lose his eagerly-anticipated rematch against Oleksandr Usyk, predicts David Haye.
The 32-year-old was outclassed as he lost his WBA, WBO and IBF titles to the Ukrainian mastermind in September last year, but on August 20 he has the opportunity to gain revenge as the pair do battle once more, this time in Saudi Arabia.
The bout will be Joshua’s 12th consecutive world title fight, having claimed the IBF strap with victory over Charles Martin back in 2016, in what was just his 16th professional outing.
Anthony Joshua (right) takes on Oleksandr Usyk (left) in an all-important rematch on August 20
David Haye (pictured) believes Joshua could hang up his gloves and retire if he loses again
Haye believes the Briton may not want to participate in a sport where he’s not the top dog, but insists the heavyweight has the attributes to overcome Usyk.
‘If he doesn’t win, I am not sure AJ wants to be in a sport where he knows he is not the best,’ Haye said.
‘He got out-hustled by someone he knows he can beat; he just got it wrong. If he brings a great game plan, and does everything he’s supposed to do to beat Usyk, and Usyk still beats him, then what more is there to do?
‘He’s then not number one. He is such a winner… does he regroup? I’m not sure.
‘At the moment he believes he has all capabilities to beat Usyk, and I think physically he has. All he needs to do is tactically get it right and he should be able to beat Usyk.
‘Hopefully his team give him the right instructions, and he can go out there and fulfil what most of us believe is his destiny.’
Joshua is preparing for his 12th consecutive world title fight, having won the IBF belt with victory over Charles Martin back in 2016
Joshua would fall down the heavyweight pecking order with another defeat to the Ukrainian
Haye believes Joshua may not want to compete in a sport where he knows he’s not he best
Joshua has made significant changes to his team ahead of the rematch, bringing the accomplished Robert Garcia in place of his former long-term mentor Robert McCracken.
He embarked on a Stateside tour in search of a new guiding voice following the damaging defeat, visiting Virgil Hunter, Ronnie Shields and Eddy Reynoso. But ultimately it was Garcia – who has masterminded 14 world title wins during his time as a trainer – who stood out.
Garcia’s ruthless presence will be a key factor going into the rematch, with Joshua – who has been heavily criticised after attempting to box the boxer, neglecting his clear physical advantages – recently claiming he wasn’t at any stage told by his corner that he was losing the fight.
Haye believes Joshua can’t perform as badly in the rematch, insisting he has made the right decision in turning to Garcia.
Joshua has appointed Robert Garcia (right) as his head trainer ahead of the crucial rematch
Haye insists the widely-respected Garcia won’t lead Joshua down the same path again
‘I think his performance this time around can’t be worse than it was last time.’ he said.
‘In terms of tactics and game plan, it can’t get any worse. That was the worst possible game plan to fight Usyk.
‘I am sure Robert Garcia won’t lead him down the same path. He’s going to have a different game plan. Sometimes change is good: different methods, different face, different voice.
‘I don’t know whoever it was that constructed the game plan in the first fight, but it’s irrelevant.
‘He just has to win this fight to get back on top of the world, which he was at one stage. Then you can have that undisputed fight [against Tyson Fury] that he really wants.’
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