Anthony Joshua vs Franklin: AJ “looks like a bruiser” – Gareth A. Davies

By Boxing News - 03/29/2023 - Comments

By Jake Tiernan: Anthony Joshua looks like a “bruiser” for his fight against Jermaine Franklin this Saturday night, according to Gareth A. Davies.

Joshua seems as heavy as he did when he fought Carlos Takam in October 2017 in Cardiff, Wales. AJ weighed a bulky 254 lbs for that fight, was slow, and lacked the ability combinations that he had before adding all that muscle weight.

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Initially, it was thought that the former unified heavyweight champion Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) would trim down his big bodybuilder physique when he teamed up with new trainer Derrick James in Texas because he’s not a coach that focuses on boxing training, not hitting having his fighters hit the weight room to add bulky, useless muscles.

Joshua looking huge for Franklin fight

The 33-year-old Joshua admitted this week that he’s lifting weights and hasn’t backed off that part of his training for some reason. You can argue that old habits, even bad ones die hard, and Joshua couldn’t resist the magnetic pull of the weight room for his scheduled twelve round headliner fight against Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) this Saturday, April 1st at the O2 Arena in London.

He looks big. He says he’s gone through torture with Derrick Jame. Derrick was telling me last night. He told me that there were times when he had Joshua doing 15 minutes of nonstop boxing on the pads. Fifteen minutes, and all these sparring sessions,” said Gareth A. Davies to talkSPORT Boxing about Anthony Joshua.

“He looks big; he looks like a bruiser. Hopefully, he’ll be brutal on Saturday night. He’s one of the most scrutinized athletes in the world, and he has been for the last ten years.

“For someone in his position that has won the Olympic heavyweight gold in his own home city. In the mainstream, I think people are still fascinated by him as a character, and his commercial opportunities are still enormous. The requests for him are huge,” said Gareth bout Joshua.

“All he needs are the optics of a very powerful victory. People won’t be satisfied if he goes twelve rounds and wins convincingly in a wide points decision,” Davies said of AJ. “They won’t be satisfied either if he knocks Jermaine Franklin out in two rounds. He’ll be damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

“If he knocks him out early, people will say, ‘Yeah, but he’s #35 in the world.’ If he goes twelve rounds, people will say, ‘Yeah, but he’s lost the old destroyer.’ He needs that in a way, but there’s a feeling around him, and he’s purported to be like this at the moment.

“This is his [Joshua] first non-title fight in twelve fights. He’s done twelve in a row. So in a sense, he just needs to win, and he has three big fights left. Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Joe Joyce. He doesn’t need to do anymore after that.

“It doesn’t matter if he loses them all, apart from this one against Jermaine Franklin. Eddie Hearn says we’ve sold a lot of tickets early on, and there’s only a couple of hundred tickets left now,” said Davies about the ticket situation for Joshua vs. Franklin. “I think it’ll be completely full on Saturday night.

“They didn’t push this fight out in a big way either. It’s kind of gone under the radar. They’re not trying to do a big seller. They knew they could do 20,000 seats. This is a restoration fight.  This is a restoration of what he [Joshua] had before. They are calling it ‘The New Dawn,’  aren’t they?

“In many ways, they’ve done that to take the pressure off him. They’re not going to sell 40,000 seats fighting Jermaine Franklin. His resonance has changed with that fight public that go to his fights. They haven’t sold it hard,” said Gareth.

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