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Joshua – Franklin tickets on sale this week for April 1st fight at O2 Arena in London

Image: Joshua - Franklin tickets on sale this week for April 1st fight at O2 Arena in London

By Huck Allen: This week, tickets will go on sale for the Anthony Joshua return fight against the highly respected American heavyweight Jermaine Franklin for their headliner at the O2 Arena in London, England, on April 1.

This will be the former two-time heavyweight champion Joshua’s first fight with new trainer Derrick James in his corner, giving him instructions for his important battle against Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs).

Joshua hasn’t fought at the O2 Arena since his seventh round TKO win over Dominic Breazeale in June 2016. This is the same venue where Joshua captured his first world title, stopping IBF heavyweight champion Charles Martin in the second round in only his 16th fight as a pro in April 2016.

Joshua vs. Franklin ticket prices

 £40, £60, £80, £100, £150, £200, £300, £400 and £800 (VIP). Where to buy tickets: O2 and Virgin Media customers via Priority NOW. Tickets are available via The O2 venue presale and AXS pre-sale from midday on Wednesday, February 8.

General Sale tickets can be purchased via Stage Front and AXS from midday on Thursday, February 9.

Jermaine Franklin came close to defeating Dillian Whyte last November in London in a spirited effort at the OVO Arena. It was thought that Whyte would get the fight against Joshua next, but Franklin’s performance won over many, including Joshua & his promoter Eddie Hearn.

Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) is hoping to use this fight as a catalyst to move him forward toward a third world title, which could happen in December.

The 33-year-old Joshua lost his last two fights against Oleksandr Usyk, which makes his match against Franklin essential for him to win.

Needless to say, there’s a tremendous amount of pressure on Joshua’s shoulders to not only win against Franklin but look good in doing so.

This performance will show whether Joshua is ready for the lions at heavyweight like Tyson Fury & Deontay Wilder or if he will still need more time with his new coach Derrick James.

AJ becoming world champion is the priority

“The priority is to see AJ become world heavyweight champion again, but at the same time, the priority is to beat Jermaine Franklin and look good at the O2,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing.

“AJ is always going to have the ability because of his star power to get a fight for the world heavyweight title. So it’s not necessary for him to work his way into a mandatory position.

“We know he’s the biggest draw in the heavyweight division alongside Tyson Fury. You’ve got Deontay Wilder, and you’ve got Oleksandr Usyk, of course. I just feel that the world heavyweight title shot will come, but I feel that the key now is to get himself 100% ready for whoever that may be,” said Hearn.

Franklin is an excellent choice for Joshua to prepare himself to win a world title against the winner of the Fury vs. Usyk fight. Still, it’s questionable whether Dillian Whyte will be of much help in achieving that goal.

Joshua needs a better opponent than the war-torn Whyte if he wants to prepare himself to dethrone Fury or Usyk. It’s not that Whyte lacks power.

He can still punch, but his reflexes have slowed with age, and his punch resistance is less than desirable for him to give Joshua a real fight. Whyte looks like a prime example of a fighter with battle fatigue.

What Joshua needs is one of these heavyweights for his fight in July:

  • Filip Hrgovic
  • Deontay Wilder
  • Martin Bakole
  • Frank Sanchez
  • Jared Anderson
  • Arslanbek Makhmudov

“When you look at the individual divisions, you’ve got a number of mandatorys in place,” said Hearn. “Of course, one of them is Filip Hrgovic.

“If Tyson Fury does fight Oleksandr Usyk, I think you’ll see the belts disperse, and that’s when the opportunity arises to fight for those belts or get a big fight with one of the champions, and that’s the focus for AJ.

Fighting three times in 2023 is key

“That’s the plan and the key,” said Hearn about Joshua fighting two more times in 2023 after his April 1st return match against Jermaine Franklin. “The key really is to try and get in position to fight three times this year.

“He hasn’t done it for a long time, and through COVID, sometimes he was fighting once a year. I want to see him active; I want to see him with momentum, with confidence, and it all starts on April the 1st.

“I think he’ll thrive at the O2, I really do. Again, when you talk about the pressure and responsibility, he went from boxing on undercards to headlining at the O2 to Wembley to Millenium Stadium to Madison Square Garden, to Riyadh to Daria.

“It was just an unbelievable rollercoaster of mega stadiums. I think the O2 feels like home.  He remembers that place,” Hearn said about Joshua. “He knows that walk, he knows that change room, and I think he’ll buzz off it.

Hearn wants people to write off Joshua

“I think you’re going to see an AJ that is going to enjoy this part of his career, I really do, and the atmosphere is going to be incredible, and yeah, I can’t wait to see him back at the lion’s den [O2 Arena in London].

“Franklin is very slick, he’s got great movement, and he obviously has got a great chin,” said Hearn when asked if Joshua would stop Franklin. “He went 12 rounds with Dillian Whyte and took some heavy shots there as well, but I think you’re going to see a razor-sharp Anthony Joshua, I really do.

“I’ve been quite vocal lately. I’m up for it. I’m up for speaking up about this young man and how I feel he still has the goods to be world heavyweight champion.

“It’s amazing; I feel not the disrespect because people feel that’s a moan, but when you look at what he’s achieved and what he’s done for British boxing. This guy is still a top three heavyweight in the world, and he has serious ambition. He has serious potential. He has the serious ability, and I believe he can get better.

“I’m excited because I want people to write him off because I can’t wait to see him come back April the 1st and start this new run to the world heavyweight title,” said Hearn about Joshua.

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