ANTHONY JOSHUA has only now accepted his decision to try and outbox Oleksandr Usyk was baffling.
The tactics AJ deployed last September saw him comfortably outclassed by Usyk, who inherited the WBA, IBF and WBO belts.
But for his revenge mission, set for Saudi Arabia on August 20, Joshua is ready to flip the script.
And after hiring esteemed US coach Robert Garcia, the heavyweight star has seen the error of his ways as he gets back to his bullish best.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said: “He’s as confident as I’ve ever seen him, Anthony Joshua.
“And we all truly believe he will beat Oleksandr Usyk and Robert Garcia is a great addition to the team.”
Joshua, 32, suffered his first defeat in June 2019, after getting too involved in a firefight with Andy Ruiz Jr, 32, and coming off second best.
For the rematch six months later in the Saudi desert, AJ slimmed down and boxed his way to redemption over 12 rounds.
Finding himself in a repeat situation again, with a rematch booked for the Middle East, Joshua may need to do yet another 180.
And with his confidence building back, Hearn teased a similar performance to that of his 2017 thriller with Wladimir Klitschko, 46.
He said: “The ability is there, it’s more the mindset and belief.
“I was talking to him the other night and I think finally it’s baffled him why he fought like that.
“For a long time, he still felt even when he lost that he could still beat Usyk like that. But why when you don’t need to fight like that?
“He could fight in your old style and have a much better chance of beating him. Klitschko-style but Usyk is a tremendous fighter, a great counterpuncher.
“So for the people that tell me, ‘Just tell AJ to stick it on him’ it’s not that easy.
“ But, of course he needs to be a lot more aggressive in this fight, which he will be.”
Hearn is set to officially announce Joshua’s rematch with Usyk this week.
And he does so believing if AJ continues to roll back the clock and rediscover his ruthlessness, it will lead him back to the heavyweight top.
Hearn said: “It’s not that I can’t see him losing, but if he does what he knows he needs to do now – and it’s not that he didn’t know what to do in the first fight – but he second guessed himself a lot.
He tried to adapt a style to beat Oleksandr Usyk which was ultimately a terrible idea.
“Now it’s just like, be you in that ring and you will win that fight.”