Barry: Joshua has added skills to KO power

As Anthony Joshua approaches another defining fight in his career, we sought analysis of his improving skills from the former boxer, boxing trainer and manager Kevin Barry, who tried to plot his downfall…

The unbeaten 28-year-old holds three world heavyweight belts and talks are ongoing for a future fight with WBC champion Deontay Wilder, the last remaining major title holder in the top division, or a WBA mandatory title defence against Alexander Povetkin.

Joshua resisted the temptation to pursue his 21st straight knockout in a points win over Joseph Parker in March, which added the WBO belt to his WBA and IBF titles.

His developing ring craft will be on show against his next opponent, along with destructive power, and we asked Parker’s trainer Kevin Barry to offer insight into why AJ is becoming a more dominant force.

What did you make of Joshua’s tactics against Parker?

Anthony Joshua fought a terrific fight. I thought his discipline was the best I have ever seen in his career. I thought he had a very good gameplan.

We know Joshua is an aggressive guy, he backs his power, he backs himself to knock guys out, and yet he fought a very respectful, a very cautious fight against Joe.

Why do you think AJ did not go straight for the knockout?

Whether it was the movement or the fact Parker wasn’t afraid of him, he wasn’t intimidated by him.

We had made big statements about Joe’s chin. He was never in danger throughout the fight, but I think because of that, we saw a different Anthony Joshua, one who was content to try and win rounds and not go for the knockout.

Were you impressed by Joshua’s ring skills?

Yes, 100 per cent. We all know the Klitschko fight was a great fight for him – it was a career-defining fight. But his skills on display in the fight against Joe were the best I have seen from him.

He used a big man’s style, stepping forward and stepping back, keeping that left hand out there. It was really hard for Joe to get in.

We took that as a huge compliment. There were a couple of compliments in that fight. The fact he really focused hard on his skills, his hands were very high. He used a big man’s style, stepping forward and stepping back, keeping that left hand out there. It was really hard for Joe to get in.

What did you make of Joshua’s weight for that fight?

Coming in at 242 [pounds], compared to 254 in the fight before that, it showed dropping 12 pounds, he took this fight seriously. He had respect for Joe. It was a real challenge for him.

Will both Joseph and Anthony continue to improve?

I expect Joe at the age of 26 to keep developing to keep improving, and I think we saw in that last fight with Joshua, his skill level has turned.

I remember saying before the fight that I believe both guys are far from the finished product. I think both guys will get better and it will be a great fight for the boxing world when that fight does happen again.

Do you want to test Joshua’s abilities again in a rematch?

We do, but it comes down to – I need Joe to show me the real hunger and light a fire in his body to get back to the top.

It’s not a given that we’ll be in the ring with Joshua. We have to keep performing. We have to get in big fights, we have to get victories, and we have to prove that we are the top dog to challenge him.

Dillian Whyte will face Joseph Parker is at The O2 on Saturday, July 28.