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Anthony Joshua officially appoints Derrick James as his new trainer for Franklin fight

Image: Anthony Joshua officially appoints Derrick James as his new trainer for Franklin fight

By Barry Holbrook: Derrick James has now officially been named as the new trainer for Anthony Joshua for his April 1st fight against Jermaine Franklin on April 1st.

On the negative side, James only has two months for him to quickly makes changes to Joshua’s game before his fight with Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) in April at the O2 Arena in London, and that might not be enough time.

If James plans on returning Joshua to his former seek & destroy style that brought him success throughout his career, it’ll be a simple transition for his upcoming fight.

That’s the style that Joshua found his greatest success as a pro and amateur, and it’s one that James is good at teaching.

Derrick James needs time

The Texas-based James trains world champions Errol Spence Jr and Jermell Charlo, both of which had impressive victories in 2022. Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) obviously is counting on Derrick bringing him the same kind of success as those two champions.

It would be a huge mistake to try and turn Joshua into a boxer because that’s not going to work for him. Joshua will play to the 29-year-old Franklin’s strengths if he chooses to box him on April 1st instead of steamrolling.

With just two months for Derrick James to imprint his style on Joshua, there’s a very real possibility that AJ will lose this fight with Franklin, and guess what happens then? James will probably be quickly sacked by Joshua, who will then continue his search for another new trainer, one he mistakenly believes will return him to the success he had earlier in his career.

Ideally, Joshua will give Derrick three fights to make the needed changes to his style before he makes the decision whether to keep him or fire him.

Unfortunately, Joshua appears desperate at this stage of his career and seemingly looks at his trainers as the cause for the defeats that keep piling up.

Franklin not a soft touch

Jermaine Franklin isn’t exactly what one would call a soft touch or confidence-booster type of fighter, and there’s a real possibility that this is going to backfire on Joshua & Hearn by them choosing him for their April 1st bout rather than a lesser guy.

Franklin is coming off a dominating performance against Dillian Whyte, and despite his loss, he was viewed as the guy that should have had his hand raised at the end.

For Joshua to win this fight, he will need to be firing on all eight cylinders because Franklin has a strong chin, fast hands, and is an excellent combination puncher.

Franklin isn’t the biggest puncher, but his ability to put his shots together makes him dangerous for a fighter whose punch resistance has been compromised, like Joshua.

Hearn didn’t say whether it was Joshua or himself who picked Franklin as his opponent for April 1st. If Hearn made the decision, it will be tough for him if AJ loses this fight.

“It’s not an easy fight; it’s not a soft touch at all,” said Akin Reyes to the DAZN Boxing Show about Jermaine Franklin.

“I’m saying, ‘Eddie, hold on. You said he wouldn’t be fighting one of the top 15 guys. That’s not the guy,'” said Barak Bess. “That’s Anthony Joshua’s pedigree. He’s just fighting good fight after good fight, and there are no breaks for Anthony Joshua.

“He’s training with a new trainer Derrick James at the camp of Errol Spence and Charlo,” said Akin. “That has to be all panned out. You have to see how you gel.

Usually, after a fight like that [Oleksandr Usyk], you don’t jump into a big fight, but that’s how Joshua and Eddie Hearn have always done that. So we’re looking forward to that. I see so many big fights in 2023, so I’m excited about that fight.”

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