Frazer Clarke says fellow British heavyweight Anthony Joshua has made changes that can help him regain his world titles in an expected rematch against Oleksandr Usyk.
Two-time world champion Joshua lost by unanimous decision to Usyk in September last year, but appears likely to face the Ukrainian in a rematch for the WBA, IBF and WBO heavyweight belts later this summer.
The most notable change in the Joshua camp appears to be the promotion of Angel Fernandez from coach to head trainer in place of Rob McCracken, who had guided Joshua since his amateur days.
Clarke, who is also trained by Fernandez, believes his stable mate will pose a different proposition for Usyk the second time around.
“I think the loss has made him better,” Clarke told Sky Sports News. “He’s opened his eyes a bit.
“It’s made him mentally better. I think he knows what he needs to do.
“I think he’s changed his situation, which he thinks will help him. He’s got a team of people that are dedicated for one thing, and that’s AJ getting the result.”
“You can’t write Usyk off, he’s an unbelievable fighter. But I’d like to think AJ’s in a place where he can go on and get this win.”
Clarke: Injury has made me a better fighter
Clarke, who won bronze at the Tokyo Olympics last summer, made a dominant professional debut in February but saw his progress halted by an injury to his right hand.
The Burton fighter is targeting a return to the ring in July and is confident that training under Fernandez’s guidance without the aid of his biggest weapon – his right hand – will aid him in the long term.
“We’ve just adapted everything really,” Clarke said. “Angel has really changed things for me. He’s gone beyond, he does sessions where it’s just the lead hand, footwork sessions, really specific stuff. We’ve improved what we can improve, a lot of strength stuff.
“Even though the right hand is out of use, there’s so much more to boxing than this right hand. We’ve gone full circle. I feel strong and I feel fit.
“I think I’ve become a better fighter in the last eight weeks with this injury. I really do. I think I’ve become a lot better fighter mentally and physically.
“Getting back to full fitness is the first thing, then after that it’s all about building momentum again, which would have happened after the debut. So I think we’re going to get back in July hopefully and then the end of the year is going to be a busy one.”