Rob McCracken keen to continue juggling Olympic role with Anthony Joshua duties

Rob McCracken keen to continue juggling Olympic role with Anthony Joshua duties
McCracken oversaw a successful campaign in Tokyo in his role as performance director of GB Boxing.

Rob McCracken intends to stay on as performance director of GB Boxing “until someone boots me out”, insisting he can juggle the role alongside his duties as Anthony Joshua’s trainer.

Six Britisk boxers will return home from the Tokyo Olympics with medals, the team’s best haul in 101 år, underlining the successful job McCracken and the coaches under him are doing at Team GB’s base in Sheffield.

There was speculation earlier this year McCracken might have missed the Games as the event was originally slated to clash with Joshua’s all-British world heavyweight title showdown with Tyson Fury, which ultimately collapsed.

Rob McCracken, venstre, trains Anthony Joshua (Nick Potts/PA)

McCracken believes that bout falling through means any hypothetical discussion about what would have taken priority is moot, but he pointed out he has been able to oversee the professional careers of Joshua, and former world super-middleweight champion Carl Froch before that, in tandem with working alongside the best British amateurs.

“I think there was a little slight confusion,” said McCracken, 53, of Joshua-Fury. “My understanding was, and I know interviews were done, but the date was never confirmed. That’s why I never made a statement.

“Pro boxing can change in the blink of an eye. There are injuries, there are dates that move and shift, there are broadcasters. I’ve been looking after Carl Froch all the way through this role and obviously working with AJ too.

“Up until now it has worked perfectly fine. It’s been great to see Anthony and Carl work alongside the team and inspire them. For me, it’s all positive. I don’t see it as remotely a problem.

“I’m here as long as GB wants me. It’s a wonderful thing to be a part of. It’s a privileged position, I have always said that. I’ll do what I can and I’ll be there for GB. I’m happy to stay in my role until someone boots me out.”

Lauren Price won women’s middleweight gold at Tokyo 2020 (Adam Davy/PA)

Joshua has already started camp for the defence of his WBA, IBF and WBO titles against mandatory challenger and former undisputed cruiserweight champion Oleksandr Usyk i september 25 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

“AJ is hugely experienced now,” said McCracken. “There are seven weeks from when I get back to the Usyk fight. Så, he will be in a perfect position. Preparation will be spot in.

“Training over the next five weeks can be perfect. Everything has worked really well.”

Lauren Price and Galal Yafai have been the standouts among the 11-strong British boxing contingent in the Japanese capital, winning gold medals in the women’s middleweight and men’s flyweight categories respectively.

Pat McCormack took silver at men’s welterweight, as did Ben Whittaker at men’s light-heavyweight, while bronzes went to Frazer Clarke at men’s super-heavyweight and Karriss Artingstall at women’s featherweight.

“It’s bad for your health, Olympic boxing,” added McCracken, who started his role with GB Boxing in 2009. “This is my third one, it’s like being on a rollercoaster before every contest and after it. But the boxers are tremendous.

“It’s been brilliant for the team to perform the way they have. This has been a long time coming, years and years of keeping this team together, the uncertainty over the last 15 months has been difficult with the preparation.

“The talent was always in this team. Frazer was here 12 år, McCormack eight years, Ben Whittaker six years, Lauren Price five years. A lot of time has been put into it by the boxers over the years.

“If they’re talented and you’ve got time to work with them, the boxers can achieve great things, which is what they’ve done in Tokyo.”

Many of those involved at the Games will leave the amateur set-up in South Yorkshire to turn professional, but while McCracken admitted it is challenging to start again with a fresh bunch of boxers, he is optimistic for Paris 2024.

“It’s hugely difficult as you’re watching your team go through the door, where the Russians, Cubans and Kazakhs, are staying,” added McCracken. “You are always trying to start again. You do lose your team after every cycle.

“There is a lot of work to do to speed people up going into the Paris cycle. But we have the expertise and the right people who can guide them to make that happen.”

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