Anthony Joshua is training with Mike Tyson’s former coach ahead of his rematch with Alexander Usyk.
And it’s the biggest sign so far that Britain may be getting a new trainer instead of Rob McCracken the next time they face Ukraine.
AJ has been in the USA since losing his heavyweight world title to Usyk at Tottenham last month and has been spotted at several different gyms.
Joshua’s training team, led by McCracken, has been questioned several times after Usyak had dropped him and there was speculation that the coach and the boxer might part ways.
The star has already posted a Snapchat of him meeting his mentor, Joshua Buatsi, at Virgil Hunter’s gym in Hayward, California.
And another clip surfaced, showing Joshua hanging out with Canelo Alvarez at Eddie Reynoso’s gym in San Diego, California, over the weekend.
The veteran trainer has previously worked with the likes of Iron Mike and Evander Holyfield and says he is training with the Englishman to see if they ‘mesh’ before a permanent appointment for the Usyk rematch.
Shields told wasboxingvoice: “They reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in taking a look at AJ and he wanted to come to Texas and see if things would be okay between him and me.
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“I said: ‘Never mind, I’d love to see if we had a relationship together’.
“He said: ‘European boxing is different from boxing in America.’ He felt he had to come to America to do something different… I guess he didn’t think it was right [game plan vs Usyk] So he wanted to make a change.
“He told me: ‘Listen, I know people don’t think I’m a dog. I’m going to be a dog in this next fight.’
“And that’s his words. He told me: ‘I just need to show you how you can teach me how to be the best dog ever.'”
Joshua officially called for his right to an immediate rematch, Eddie Hearn confirmed, with a target date of March or April.
And the promoter didn’t rule out new faces in the training team to be the first to find out Usyk Riddle, who is unbeaten in 19 fights.
Hearn told Boxing Social: “I think what AJ wants to do is analyze why he did such a performance.
“Yeah, the strategy wasn’t perfect, he underperformed, but why?
“It’s hard to say, ‘He didn’t get the right strategy and did poorly,’ because let’s talk about Usyak’s talent as well.
“But AJ will always look at his preparation and see how he can improve.
“If he’s turning things around, considering bringing people in, or whatever he has to do, he’ll do it.”
Shields was asked about McCracken’s work with AJ prior to the rematch, and he said the former champion would only like to see one of his current coaches move on – Angel Fernandez.
She continued: “I talked to her about another guy who came with her.
“He explained to me that he really wanted this guy out there, I told him it wasn’t a problem with me.
“Angel. He told me he wanted Angel to be with him and I told him, ‘Yeah, that’s not a problem.'”