Anthony Joshua advised to "play the game" by heavyweight boxing legend

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Anthony Joshua advised to "play the game" by heavyweight boxing legend
Anthony Joshua advised to "play the game" by heavyweight boxing legend

Heavyweight legend Evander Holyfield has urged Anthony Joshua to be more aggressive in his future fights.

Joshua fought just once last year, losing in his heavyweight revenge bid against unified champion Oleksandr Usyk in August, and will now be looking to rebuild in 2023. A number of potential tests have been lined up for 'AJ' who is expected to return in spring, including British rival Dillian Whyte and Swedish contender Otto Wallin.

The former two-time champion is expected to again link up with a new coach in a bid to rekindle his previous powerful style, which he has faced heavy criticism for not employing in his two defeats to Usyk. And former heavyweight champion Holyfield has suggested he needs to "play the game" and take the fight to his upcoming opponents.

“ Anthony Joshua is a good fighter, but if you don’t throw enough punches, you don’t use your size to your advantage," he said during an interview with iFL TV when giving advice to Joshua ahead of his return. "He is a big guy, he’s got to use the jab, everybody knew [Adonis] Stevenson had a great jab and that’s pretty much what he is throwing.

"Every time he catches you asleep with the jab, then you get hit with a right hand and you are out of there. Anthony Joshua can pretty much do the same thing, he is big and large and a good fighter. He actually can box, but he has to be a bit more aggressive you have to use your size to your advantage.

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"Sometimes he gets with a guy, he won’t overbear him, he won’t push you down but they are trying to push him down. You have to play the game out right to not let somebody out-hustle you.”

Anthony Joshua advised to "play the game" by heavyweight boxing legendAnthony Joshua will return to the ring this year (Getty Images)

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Joshua looked to turn around his fortunes and bring back his knockout power when linking up with experienced trainer Robert Garcia, but despite showing improvement he was unable to reverse the loss. Now 'AJ' has flown out to America and is set to appoint a new corner for his next outing in a bid to reignite a heavyweight title charge.

Another loss for the British heavyweight could be extremely damaging for his future at world level having now lost three times in the blue-riband division. And boxing trainer Shane McGuigan has warned Joshua that he needs to arrest his potential crisis or he could find himself sliding below the rising heavyweight stars.

"The fact is he's been around a few different trainers and that automatically makes you think he is blaming the trainer for not performing. The bottom line is it is with you," McGuigan told Boxing King Media. "You are responsible for your performance. I think Joshua is going through a crisis, he needs to stop questioning himself. He's got to knuckle down and get on with it. Whoever he goes with he has to concentrate on fighting aggressively whether he fights Usyk again or fights Tyson Fury."

Ben Davies

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