Anthony Joshua, a heavyweight who will take on Jermaine Franklin on April 1 at London’s O2 Arena, claims he has returned to boxing with all of his heart.
The 33-year-old Briton, who has lost twice to Oleksandr Usyk, the unified champion, seeks his first victory since 2020.
Joshua claimed that his commitment to his boxing career was greater than ever.
I’ve always attempted to build an empire, but last year I consciously chose to focus solely on boxing, he admitted.
Franklin will challenge Joshua in a return bout.
This is perhaps the most seriously I’ve ever taken it during my career.
Joshua traveled from Texas to London with Derrick James, his new coach, to attend the press announcement.
For the first time in eight years, the two-time heavyweight world champion competes in the O2 Arena without defending a world championship. This is his first fight there since 2016.
Joshua has fought the majority of his fights at significant outdoor arenas since his previous contest at the O2, where he has competed seven times.
The 29-year-old American Franklin, who lost to Dillian Whyte last December on points, is clearly the underdog.
However, Usyk’s two demoralizing losses have put Joshua at a career crossroads.
I’m using everything I’ve gone through, good and bad, to fuel my camp right now, he stated.
Crossroads AJ is at: analysis
Michael Johnson and Eddie Hearn
During the press conference, Anthony Joshua, who was seated next to Eddie Hearn, appeared depressed.
Many consider Franklin to be Joshua’s inferior, but he has been brought in to give the British fighter more confidence.
At the O2 Arena, Joshua won his first world championship in 2016. He returns after seven years and 11 world championship matches having transformed.
In losses to Andy Ruiz and Oleksandr Usyk, the aura of the fierce finisher has gradually gone.
Joshua demands success. The April competition, according to promoter Eddie Hearn, was “perhaps the most significant chapter so far” for his star athlete.
Before Hearn called on him to speak, the Watford player struck a melancholy figure and refrained from making any fireworks-related promises.
When questioned about his driving forces, he said, “Money, Money, Money,” but added that he had done away with “distractions” over the previous year and was feeling “no pressure” before the important meeting.
A victory over Franklin may not reveal anything novel about the boxer who nearly single-handedly brought about the current period of interest in British boxing, but it may reveal whether Joshua’s former self, the freight train that was once unstoppable, is capable of making a comeback.