By Jim Calfa: Promoter Eddie Hearn feels that Anthony Joshua is a must-win situation against Jermaine Franklin on April 1st, and he’s admittingly “nervous” about this fight.
Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs) has been picked as a tune-up for a tune-up to get Joshua ready for his rematch with the fading Dillian Whyte, who looks shot to bits, having lost two out of his last four fights.
What’s bizarre about that is Franklin clearly beat Whyte and was robbed, and yet he’s being used as an opponent to get Joshua ready for a guy that he got the better of [except on the scorecards] last November in London, England.
Joshua and Franklin will meet on April 1st in a 12 round main event fight on DAZN at the O2 Arena in London. Hearn is bringing Joshua back to a smaller venue he’s done well in, posting a 6-0 record with 6 knockouts.
Joshua has never lost while fighting at the O2 Arena, and no opponent has made it past the seventh round against him when performing there.
Hearn has formed a close friendship with the former unified heavyweight champion Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs), and he doesn’t like watching what’s happened to him in the last four years, losing fights that he was supposed to win against Andy Ruiz Jr in 2019 and Oleksandr Usyk in 2021.
If Hearn knew that Joshua would lose to those two fighters, the chances are that he would have steered him into safer waters, directing him away from those two guys, as many believe he did in the case of Deontay Wilder.
“You talking about this as a straightforward fight for Anthony Joshua? Not at all. Let’s look at the facts. He’s coming off two defeats to Oleksandr Usyk. You saw the emotional side of AJ after the fight,” said Eddie Hearn to DAZN Boxing about Anthony Joshua.
“Franklin is full of confidence coming off the Dillian Whyte fight, and he looks 20 lbs lighter. This is a big moment for Anthony Joshua’s career. He has to win on April 1st.
“Franklin is a good fighter who is going to come well-equipped. I really hope he can produce a performance on April the 1st because I believe he’s still in his prime. He’s so dedicated to the sport. He just loves to compete.
“He has to beat Jermaine Franklin. If he can do it in style, we’d love to banter from the rooftops.