ANTHONY JOSHUA’S trainer sensationally admitted he “knew” AJ was concussed during his defeat to Andy Ruiz Jr.
Rob McCracken’s startling revelation prompted a furious reaction from brain injury experts, who claim Joshua could have DIED because the cornerman did not throw in the towel.
5 Anthony Joshua will try to avenge his defeat in a rematch in Saudi ArabiaCredit: PA:Press Association
5 Anthony Joshua was floored four times during his shock loss to Andy Ruiz on June 1Credit: Getty – Contributor
McCracken realised AJ was concussed in June’s heavyweight title fight after talking to his man at the end of round three, during which the Watford ace was knocked down twice.
The Brit heavyweight was floored twice more in the seventh round, when referee Mike Griffin waved off the New York contest.
But brain injury charity Headway slammed McCracken for failing to protect his man.
Deputy chief executive Luke Griggs told SunSport: "It's a shocking admission but it's highly unlikely that this is an isolated incident.
"Trainers have a duty of care to their boxers and it seems clear that Anthony Joshua's trainer's sole priority was winning that fight, not protecting the fighter from a potentially fatal injury.
"We know once you've had a concussion, any subsequent blow can exacerbate the damage. You are most at risk of having a particularly serious or fatal brain injury if the brain has already been damaged and a concussion has already been sustained.
"In that point, he was particularly vulnerable to a more serious injury. One wonders how many deaths in the ring over the years have resulted from a win-at-all-costs mentality."
5 Anthony Joshua's trainer admitted he let the Brit box on despite showing signs of concussion in round threeCredit: Getty – Contributor
McCracken came under fire for Joshua’s sub-par performance in the wake of his first pro defeat.
But the trainer, and former British middleweight, hit back at critics who accused him of failing to give Joshua clear instructions — and blamed it on AJ’s dazed state.
McCracken told a BBC podcast: "I know him better than all these experts who virtually don't know him or have met him once or twice so I knew he was concussed and I'm trying to get him through a few more rounds, one round at a time, and see where he's at.
"'Can he recover? Can he get back into this?'
"But he was glazy-eyed from when he got caught with that initial shot in round three and he carried that with him up until the end.
5 Anthony Joshua appeared dazed at the very least during the fight
“It’s a nightmare situation, pro boxing is deadly and you’re in the corner with a heavyweight not responding as he should.”
Joshua was heard asking McCracken "what round is it?" and "why am I feeling like this" in the breaks between rounds.
Headway's Griggs added: "In every other major sport, concussion protocols state that once a concussion has been suspected, the player must be removed and not allowed to return.
"Every blow to the head delivered by a fit, strong, technically gifted boxer has the potential to cause a concussion.
"In addition, you've got boxers who are praised for their bravery. In Tyson Fury's last fight, he was praised for somehow defying a count and we're praising that. We're celebrating the fact that he beat the count.
"In that time, the referee is tasked with deciding whether or not they are fit to continue.
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"You are basically asking the referee to conduct an impromptu concussion assessment with all these people watching, in too short a period of time and when they are not qualified to do so.
"You seem them staggering around on their feet and the referee says 'show me your strength in your gloves'. But they're staggering!
"Concussion protocols in boxing are not worth the paper they are written on."