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Robert Garcia knew Anthony Joshua was “special” seven years ago and saw AJ as a “superstar” long before winning his first title.

ROBERT GARCIA knew Anthony Joshua was destined for greatness long before the Brit won his first heavyweight title.

The 47-year-old American has been signed to help set up AJ for their summer high-stakes rematch with Oleksandr Usyk, replacing the axed Robert McCracken.

Anthony Joshua has teamed up with Robert Garcia ahead of his rematch against Oleksandr Usyk

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Anthony Joshua has teamed up with Robert Garcia ahead of his rematch against Oleksandr UsykPhoto credit: Snapchat
Garcia got his first look at AJ in 2015, before Brit punched Kevin Johnson

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Garcia got his first look at AJ in 2015, before Brit punched Kevin JohnsonCredit: REUTERS
Garcia knew Joshua was destined to be a

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Garcia knew Joshua was destined to be a “superstar” the first time he saw himPhoto credit: THE SUN

The couple already have two secret training stints in the UK – both confirming Garcia’s thoughts when he first saw AJ in London seven years ago.

He told Little Giant Boxing: “Ever since I first met him I knew who he was because he won a gold medal [at the Olympics].

“But [Evgeny] Gradovich fought in London and Anthony Joshua fought on the same map.

“I think Anthony Joshua was like 8-0 or 9-0. So he was just a beginner.

“Obviously he was already a superstar to walk away with the gold medal, but I didn’t know who he was.

“But when I saw him come to the weigh-in – that’s what he looked like.

“I said, ‘I don’t know who that is, but that fighter right there, I know he’s special.'”

Joshua’s demeanor and demeanor before his two-round thump at Kevin Jonshon left a lasting impression on the soft-spoken but stern Garcia.

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He said of AJ: “The way he walked, the way he looked, the way he smiled. He smiled at everyone and shook hands with everyone.

“And I said, ‘This boy is special. Whoever he is, he is special.’

“Then I was there, saw him fight and he took care of business. I’ve always believed in him because he has so much talent.”

Garcia has coached a whopping 14 fighters to world titles but has yet to lead a heavyweight to championship gold.

But the challenge of ending his personal heavyweight drought and overcoming Usyk’s first professional defeat is one the Californian enjoys.

He said: “It’s a big challenge for me because it’s my first time fighting a heavyweight for a world title. So it’s like a dream come true.

“I’ve had champions in just about every weight class from 105-108 to 112-115, 118, 122, 126 and 135 pounds.

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“I think I’m just missing cruiserweight, light heavyweight and super middleweight. That’s the three I’m missing, plus heavyweight.

“But having a heavyweight champion is the best thing. I’m excited.”

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https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5500720/anthony-joshua-robert-garcia-usyk/ Robert Garcia knew Anthony Joshua was “special” seven years ago and saw AJ as a “superstar” long before winning his first title.

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