Anthony Joshua suffered tough back to back defeats against Oleksandr Usyk but will begin his comeback against Jermaine Franklin in London this spring.
Anthony Joshua will face Jermaine Franklin in London on April 1 as he begins to rebuild following three defeats in his last four fights and the loss of his world title.
Franklin, 29, has been rated as one of the contenders to watch out for in the heavyweight division for a number of years, but lost his undefeated record after being beaten by Dillian Whyte in London last November. Eddie Hearn has confirmed the fight, which will take place at London’s O2 Arena and will be a huge draw for London-based fans with ‘AJ’ remaining one of the biggest names in the sport.
The hope will be that the 33-year-old can return to his best with a fight against a man who was disappointing against Whyte in his last outing. Joshua, meanwhile, will be looking towards some big cards later in the year, with the chance of facing Deontay Wilder or even Tyson Fury having been discussed.
Speaking on Thursday, Eddie Hearn confirmed the fight, saying: “It’s a really tough fight with loads of pressure to come back because if AJ doesn’t win this fight, then we’ve got a major problem,” Hearn explained. “I believe you’ll see a statement from a guy who is very dangerous, very motivated to become a three-time heavyweight world champion.”
Joshua remains one of the biggest names in the division and could conceivably earn a shot at becoming a three time world champion within his next couple of fights. Joshua is ranked as a top five contender with the WBA, WBO, IBF and WBC and a win would elevate this further despite Franklin having lost to Whyte to derail his progress up the rankings.
Hearn, has talked up Joshua’s, chances of returning to world championship contention, telling BBC Five Live Boxing: “There’s so much contradiction: ‘Anthony Joshua is finished, mentally he’s shot, but he’ll knock out Jermaine Franklin inside three rounds,'”
“The same people that say Jermaine Franklin beat Dillian Whyte but he’s a terrible opponent for Anthony Joshua, in a comeback fight after two defeats to the pound-for-pound number one.” He added. “What this guy has done from a resume perspective is unbelievable.