Anthony Joshua will work with Tyson Fury’s old trainer Ben Davison for his Saudi showdown with Otto Wallin.
But it is a one-off change of trainer and head coach Derrick James is fully aware of the plan.
Joshua, 34, is not making a permanent switch to Davison but the decision is based on logistics as the British heavyweight plans to continue to work with the US trainer after his next outing.
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AJ is set to face Swedish southpaw Wallin on December 23 in Saudi Arabia. But James also trains American star Ryan Garcia who has a December 2 date in Houston.
So a decision has been made to prepare for the fight in Riyadh in the UK, rather than Joshua travelling to Dallas for camp or James having to come to England.
Joshua teamed up with James last year for his wins over Jermaine Franklin and Robert Helenius. The Watford warrior split with long-time coach Robert McCracken after his first defeat by Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and then left Robert Garcia and Angel Fernandez following his defeat in the rematch a year later.
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Former WBA, IBF and WBO world champion Joshua has been working with Davison recently at his Essex-based gym. This was believed to be a ticking over exercise while he waited to team up with James again.
Joshua’s promoter Eddie Hearn told Boxing Social last week: “AJ is with Derrick James, 100 per cent. But Ben is a fantastic coach, and I think that has the kind of mind that AJ would tick with.
“AJ is the kind of guy who doesn’t like to be out of camp for too long, and there is a chance he fights in December. So if that’s the case, he wanted these couple of weeks just to sharpen his tools before he heads into camp in Dallas with Derrick.”
But now it is understood that Davison will take charge of the Wallin fight.
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Davison was in Fury’s corner when he beat the Swedish fighter back in 2019 but that was the last time the pair worked together formally. The Harlow-based coach was hailed for his work in bringing Fury back to shape to resume his career and the pair almost won the WBC title together when the Gypsy King drew with Deontay Wilder in 2018.
Davison has worked with some other big names in British boxing including Josh Taylor and Billy Joe Saunders.
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Joshua’s clash with Wallin in Riyadh is set to be confirmed this week with Wilder taking on Joseph Parker on the same card. The event is being backed by Turki Alalshikh, of Saudi Arabia’s General Entertainment Authority in Saudi Arabia, while Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions are also involved.
Warren and Joshua’s promoter Hearn are set to meet for the first time when they stage the press conference this week. The promotional rivals have never met in person and only briefly spoken on the phone in the past after a 2020 meet up was binned when Hearn contracted Covid-19.
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