Anthony Joshua was mentally defeated by round 10, according to Robert García, when Oleksandr Usyk came back strong after a big ninth round for AJ in which the trainer thought that they would win the fight.
“Joshua was mentally defeated since round 10 or 11”, Robert García told IZQUIERDAZO. “Round 10 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 (AJ) was dominated at that point of the fight”.
Garcia thinks that in the ninth round they were very close to winning the fight, even by knockout. But Usyk survived, and the tenth round was the exact moment that defined the fight in Usyk’s favor.
“The fight was going well for us, but the tenth round changed everything”, García said. “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 9, 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”.
In that ninth round, when Anthony Joshua put pressure and could land several strong blows to Usyk’s body, Robert García and his corner thought that they would win the fight.
“During that ninth round, me and the guys in the corner were telling to ourselves that we had the fight”, Garcia said. “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”.
When Robert Garcia recollects what happened in that ninth round, he thinks that Joshua emptied his tank trying to finish Usyk.
“In the ninth, Joshua threw a lot of punches, and almost put Usyk out”, Garcia explained. “Maybe, he emptied out, but maybe it was just that Usyk came stronger and more motivated to the tenth round, we don’t know”.
Garcia thinks that, psychologically, Usyk was in a better position in the fight.
“In this fight, I think that Usyk was mentally stronger”, Garcia explains. “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 play games with him”.
For the last rounds of the fight, Robert Garcia thinks that there was not much that he could advise Joshua, from a tactical standpoint. His last resource was to turn his switch on by motivating him.
“Because of my own experience, I can notice when a fighter is mentally defeated”, Garcia explained. “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”.