ANTHONY JOSHUA, a month after losing his three heavyweight titles, is now in California attempting to find out how he can beat Oleksandr Usyk in their return fight next year.
Joshua has been on a tour of selected gyms picking the brains of some of America’s top trainers and fighters in the hope they can advise him on how he can win back his WBA, IBF and WBO belts from the outstandingly brilliant Usyk.
He has already visited Canelo Alvarez and his trainer Eddy Reynoso, as well as Virgil Hunter, who masterminded double world champion Andre Ward’s immaculate unbeaten career.
And if those exceptionally talented guys cannot work out the best strategy for him on how to get the better of Usyk, nobody can.
Boxing trainers are rather like Premier League football managers — they are constantly under pressure and face the sack as soon as things start to go wrong.
Robert McCracken, who has trained Joshua from day one, has quite rightly been fiercely criticised for not having a Plan B when Usyk took control in the early rounds.
At the moment there is no suggestion that Joshua is about to part-company from the man who helped him win Olympic gold and turned a novice into a multi-millionaire champion of the world.
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But there is a distinct possibility of major changes to the personnel who will be working in his corner.
Eddie Hearn does not try to hide that Joshua’s performance last month was woeful and said: “The tactics weren’t right and he underperformed — but why?
“AJ will always look at his preparation and see how he can improve. If that means bringing people in he will do it.”
Joshua is 32 and not even the legendary Eddie Futch, who trained five world heavyweight champions — Smokin’ Joe Frazier, Ken Norton, Larry Holmes, Riddick Bowe and Trevor Berbick — would have been able to significantly change his style before he clashes again with Usyk in March or April.
Malik Scott tried to turn Deontay Wilder into a smooth fighting machine before his trilogy battle with Tyson Fury.
Wilder worked beautifully behind his jab for the first two rounds but as soon as Fury floored him in the third he reverted to type — swinging and missing wildly with his dynamite right and leaving himself wide open.
You do not have to be a Futch or a Manny Steward to know exactly what it would take for Joshua to restore his reputation and gain revenge over Usyk.
He simply has to fight ugly and jump on the Ukrainian from the start — grab him, rough him up, push and shove him around to eliminate his superior skills and tire him out.
Ray Arcel, the New Yorker considered the greatest trainer of all time, coached a total of 20 world champions, including Roberto Duran.
He died at 94, 27 years ago — but his philosophy lives on.
Arcel once said: “The secret of being a boxing trainer is to know and understand the individual you are working with.
“I don’t care how much ability you’ve got as a fighter, if you can’t think you are just another bum in the park.”
I have no idea what Joshua was thinking on September 25, but his mind seemed to be many miles away from White Hart Lane.