Anthony Joshua may have to go into the biggest fight of his life without the man who has done more than most to get him to the pinnacle of boxing – long-time trainer Robert McCracken.
As well as heading up AJ’s corner, McCracken is performance director for the Great Britain boxing team. And as such he is expected to be in Tokyo in late July for the rescheduled Olympic Games.
The Games begin on Friday July 23 and end on August 8. In a cruel twist of fate, the massive Fury vs Joshua showdown is now tentatively pencilled in for Saturday July 24. Likely in the Middle East.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn, speaking to BoxingScene, said McCracken and Joshua are discussing the situation. But he did not rule out the possibility of AJ being without his head trainer for the eagerly-awaited Fury match.
Joshua and McCracken talking
He explained: “There are too many people and things to fit around already with the fighters, trainers, countries, time zones, the Olympics. Whatever date we are given by the site is the date that we will go with. I know AJ and Rob have been talking, so I am sure they will work it out.
“It will depend on timings, the date we get given is when the fight takes place and the guys know it will be around the Olympics, it could be inappropriate but it is the biggest fight in boxing and the biggest moment in AJ’s career so we have to work it out.
“I know Rob takes his position very seriously, he loves the job and the kids so it’s not ideal, but we can’t move it a couple of weeks either side. Someone is spending a lot of money, so we have to go whenever they say.
Hearn on Olympics clash
Hearn said it is possible that July 24 date may slip into August, but claims he is unconcerned by a potential clash with the Olympics and the publicity it receives globally.
“I know the Olympics is a huge event but I see them very differently. I know a lot of people won’t agree with me but I personally see this bigger than the Olympics,” Hearn reasoned.
“I just feel it is bigger than the Olympics, for Britain, because the world will stop to watch and it’s between two Brits. It’s impossible to schedule anything without clashing with something, it’s impossible so we will go on the date we are told to go on.”
Fury and Joshua have signed contracts for a two-fight deal. It is hoped an immediate rematch will be held before the end of 2021, assuming the first fight does happen in the summer.
If the first bout does take place in the Middle East, it will be indoors, likely in Saudi Arabia. Both men are expected to earn around $100million for their night’s work.