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Anthony Joshua takes two-hour naps on the day of a fight and caffeinates before entering the ring

Anthony Joshua’s training secrets: Two-hour naps on the day of a fight and a sound-proof bedroom to sleep in as AJ’s physio reveals preparation ahead of Oleksandr Usyk showdown

  • Physio Rob Madden gives an insight into Anthony Joshua’s fight preparations 
  • Joshua acclimatises to late training with Rob McCracken and goes to bed at 1am
  • He takes a long nap on the day of a fight before energising system with caffeine 
  • Madden gave the inside track on aftermath of Tyson Fury bout falling through 

After mixing power and patience to oust mandatory challenger Kubrat Pulev, Anthony Joshua now has his eyes firmly fixed on undefeated Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk.

Rob Madden, who has been Joshua’s physio and a major part of the team since he turned professional in 2013, gave Sportsmail an insight into his preparations ahead of Saturday’s bout.

‘There are four main pillars of Joshua’s performance. His boxing and mental preparation, nutrition, physical preparation and then sleep and recovery,’ said Madden.

Anthony Joshua tends to train late at night and goes to bed at 1am on the eve of a fight

Joshua's team ensure his room is well sound-proofed so that he sleeps well before a fight

Joshua’s team ensure his room is well sound-proofed so that he sleeps well before a fight

‘Joshua has acclimatised to late training with Rob McCracken as that’s when he’s sharp and charged, so he goes to bed at 1am and naps in the day.

‘The nutrition is on point, working with the chefs to make sure all the right nutrients are coming in to make his immune system robust. The food is also part of that joy and culture of being around him. It’s very relaxed.

‘My realm is with the physical preparation. He is also very good at doing things independently. Before and after sessions he gets on the floor, does his foam rolling, rotations and yoga. 

‘For me, the biggest priority is his sleep. He’s getting in the ring, he’s got the media and all the spotlight, so to switch off in fight week must be a real challenge. 

‘We ensure his room is well sound-proofed, with the best possible bedding, low temperatures and blackout blinds. We do everything we can to make his room a cold cave. That’s of massive importance.

‘On the day of the fight, he will nap for two hours and caffeinate a few hours before he enters the ring to energise his system. Mind, body, nutrition and sleep. It’s like tyres on a car. They all have to be inflated.’

After a sudden arbitration ruled he would not be fighting 6ft 9in Tyson Fury, Joshua had to adapt to the totally different proposition of talented southpaw Usyk, who has fought predominantly at cruiserweight.

Madden said: ‘The team have worked hard to find the right sparring partners, looking closely at southpaws and lighter weights. Joshua has adjusted, too. He’s coming in a lot leaner for this fight. Usyk has a great skillset and everyone knows what a great fighter he is.’

Joshua should be no stranger to a change of opponent. He fought Carlos Takam with two weeks notice in 2017 and was stunned by Andy Ruiz Jnr, who replaced the banned Jarrell Miller two years ago.

Joshua had to adapt to a different proposition of Usyk after his Tyson Fury bout fell through

Joshua had to adapt to a different proposition of Usyk after his Tyson Fury bout fell through

‘Joshua’s preparations for Ruiz were phenomenal,’ said Madden of his surprise loss. ‘He certainly did not get knocked out in training, despite the rumours. Ultimately, he paid the price for a mistake at close range.’

Madden also gave the inside track on the aftermath of the Fury bout falling through — when the contracts for a unification blockbuster were seemingly written and signed.

‘We were on track. For all we knew, it was going to happen. We were having team meetings about when to start camp, discussing stadiums and then suddenly we heard it was off,’ explained Madden.

‘It was a shock and hugely disappointing.

‘Joshua desperately wanted the fight and was ready mentally, but he doesn’t live in the past.

‘Once we knew the fight was dead, for now, Joshua was straight on to Eddie Hearn to find another opponent and he is now totally focused on Usyk.’

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