This weekend, Anthony Joshua tries to regain his heavyweight titles in rematch with Oleksandr Usyk on one of the biggest games of the year in boxing.
Fan favorite Buddy McGirt is in Jeddah and is getting ready for a ‘first’ in boxing. It makes sense for the man, the boxer and the coach who has most of did it all. He has won world titles on his own as a boxer, trained some of the best boxers of the millennium, and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2019. However, despite traveling the world through boxing, McGirt has never set foot in Saudi Arabia.
McGirt said Social boxing:
“Honestly, I’m so excited
It’s something different, you know? I think that’s wonderful; it’s good to be a part of history, it’s a great show, main event [Usyk v Joshua II] It’s a rematch that everyone wants, you know.
It will be a great boxing night. The fans, that’s going to be fun – I don’t know what to expect. But that’s what makes it more fun.”
He was speaking from the Smith Brothers base in Liverpool before flying out earlier this week and had two fighters at two of their career ends appear on the bill. Callum Smith, former super-middleweight champion, is trying to go on a new crusade at 175lbs, while Ziyad ‘Zizo’ Almaayouf is returning to his homeland to begin his own journey, preparing for his long-awaited professional debut. And it was the young Almaayouf who stole the headlines in the Middle East, assigned the green, spending time with WWE superstar Braun Strowman.
Talking about his latest charge, McGirt explained:
“He is getting good. It’s different for him because a lot of this is new.
It’s hard work but he’s achieving it; I told him today that I’ll get him a shirt that says School of Hard Knocksbecause of this camp, he’s never been through anything like this. He’s the boxers, these guys are working, they’re attacking him and making him work. It’s either damn it or there’s no pot…”
Almaayouf said Social boxing that the link with McGirt was by chance, the stars arranged. The Brentwood, New York man agreed:
“Well, that’s funny, you know. He was in the gym with his trainer and he came up to me and said, ‘Can you help me, I want to learn more?’ I said, ‘I have to talk to your coach first.’ I said I wanted to talk to both of you together; I didn’t want the coach to think I was going behind his back or anything.
We sat down, talked, I told his coach I would help him, but he would still be the head coach – I don’t want anyone’s job. I told them I was going to help them as much as I could, and then one day the head coach said, ‘I’m out of here.’ The child says, ‘Friend, I need your help.’ I can’t just say, ‘No’, I can’t turn my back and let him down. That wouldn’t be true. “
And about Callum Smith, McGirt was succinct, reiterating what many boxing fans were thinking in the days of the 168lbs Liverpool boxer:
“He is very big. I don’t know how he gained weight before but he is doing very well, everything is good. We’re just finalizing what we’re going to do and we’re ready for the 20sorder. “
While encountering in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia was a new experience for the 58-year-old, being part of a big battle week was nothing new.
He’s seen the pressure, feels the tension and enjoys watching it bubble and spill into teamfights. McGirt spoke of Anthony Joshua’s chances and his advice for Londoners on Saturday night:
“I will focus on controlling the tempo and keeping it at the beginning. You cannot lose it because you will let Usyk take control, and then you will face an uphill battle. In the first fight, I think Joshua waited too long to show up – you can’t do that with a guy like Usyk, he’ll pick you apart. Everyone expected him to be more aggressive with Robert Garcia – that’s what I think, but you never know.”
So, who is the winner? Oleksandr Usyk or Anthony Joshua? McGirt is, as always, classy, keeping his cards close to his chest:
“I will not choose the winner for the second; I just want to sit back and watch. “
Before that opening bell rang to settle heavyweight superiority, the New York native and his two fighters had work to do – and that was the only thing on his mind.