By Sam Volz: Eddie Hearn says there’s a possibility that Anthony Joshua’s next fight against Jermaine Franklin could be shown on pay-per-view on April 1st from the O2 Arena in London.
Selling the Joshua-Franklin fight on DAZN PPV won’t win Hearn many any friends from boxing fans, particularly with the many people that subscribe to the streaming platform.
Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) has lost his last two fights; some feel that he’s mentally & physically shot after ten years in the pro game. His April 1st contest is supposed to be a confidence-builder to boost his spirits, as he needs a win at this point to save his career.
Unless Hearn is going to promote the Joshua-Franklin fight from the angle of its ‘win or retire,’ it’s not going to bring in more than a small handful of pay-per-view buys. Americans won’t buy the fight in large numbers, but the British fans might if Hearn promotes the contest based on the retirement theme.
Interestingly, Hearn is being coy about whether Joshua’s fight will be on pay-per-view, which suggests that he doesn’t want a stampede of bad press and abuse from the fans before the match with Franklin is even negotiated. It doesn’t matter, though. If it is pay-per-view, fans are going to roast Hearn nonstop, and many of them will refuse to purchase the fight out of principle.
Joshua vs. Franklin “might be” PPV
“You’ll get an announcement on AJ next week,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social about Anthony Joshua’s next fight on April 1st at the O2 Arena in London. “Jermaine Franklin is the likely fight. I think it’s a great fight.
“It might be pay-per-view, it might not be. Watch this space
“On the one hand, ‘Anthony Joshua is finished, he’s mentally shot to pieces,’ and ‘Oh, Jermaine Franklin is a terrible fight because he’ll knock him out within three rounds,’ and then, ‘Jermaine Franklin beat Dillian Whyte, but it’s a terrible fight for AJ.’
“These people are absolutely mental. This is a really, really tough fight for him to return to. Back to the lion’s den at the O2. It’s going to be a massive event, and I’m looking forward to seeing him [Joshua] back. He’s out in Texas at the moment, training. I think you’re going to see a fantastic Anthony Joshua on April 1st.
“Adam Catterall, I like fight disciples, but f**k me. They contradict themselves more than me, and that’s difficult. When he [Joshua] was going fight Fury, people said, ‘Oh, you can’t let him fight Fury. Mentally, he broke down after the Usyk fight. He needs to rebuild and come back.’
“Now, he comes back in a fight against the same people that said Franklin beat Dillian Whyte, which I think was a very, very close fight. ‘That’s a mismatch.’ Franklin is a very good heavyweight, full of confidence.
Hearn fires back at criticism
“You just seen the #1 heavyweight in the world beat Deontay Wilder and beat Dillian Whyte and then fight Derek Chisora. Yet this guy, Anthony Joshua, just fought the potentially pound-for-pound #1 and lost to him twice. He gets a new trainer, comes back, and fights Jermaine Franklin, and all of a sudden; it’s a terrible mix.
“F**k them is all I can say because I tell you what. I’ve never been so excited about the return of Anthony Joshua. It’s a personal thing for me that this guy gets back to where he should be, which I believe is the world heavyweight championship.
“We’re going to the O2. The whole eyes of the world will be on the O2 Arena that night and Anthony Joshua, and you’ll see that the pressure is on. The pressure is on big time in this fight,” said Hearn.