Joshua vs Franklin: AJ losing would be “catastrophic” says Eddie Hearn
By Jim Calfa: Eddie Hearn says it would be “catastrophic” for Anthony Joshua if he loses to Jermaine Franklin this Saturday, April 1st, in their bout at the O2 Arena in London.
According to Hearn, this was initially supposed to be a tune-up for Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) after his two defeats against Oleksandr Usyk, but the closer the fight gets, he understands that it’s a “dangerous” match for AJ that could derail his title hopes.
Considering that Joshua was supposed to wipe out Andy Ruiz Jr in their first fight in 2019 and Usyk in 2021, it’s very possible that he can get beaten by Franklin (21-1, 14 KOs). Those losses showed that Joshua wasn’t as good as he, Hearn, and the boxing public thought he was.
It’s still unclear in Hearn’s mind that the Joshua machine is permanently broken, but that reality could be driven home to the British promoter if Franklin defeats him on Saturday night.
Joshua losing to Franklin would be a disaster for Hearn because he’s been a tremendous money-spinner for his Matchroom Boxing stable for the last decade, and if he chooses to retire, no one can fill his money-making shoes.
Hearn has a lot of talented fighters in his stable, but other than Canelo, who is about done with his fading career, there’s no long-term solution for Hearn to bring in the green for Matchroom.
Joshua’s ambition might be his ruin; if he takes it easy, facing fringe-level contenders or old guys, he can continue faithfully bringing in the money for another ten years before the wheels come off permanently.
Will Joshua retire if he loses to Franklin?
“The reality is, AJ wants to fight for the world heavyweight title. He wants to fight Tyson Fury. He wants to fight Deontay Wilder. If he loses to Jermaine Franklin, that puts all that in jeopardy,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social when asked to discuss Anthony Joshua’s comments this week about retiring if he gets beaten by Jermaine Franklin on Saturday night.
“So, yeah, I think it would raise the question about carrying on and what you’re in the sport for. So in that respect, there’s a lot of pressure on Saturday night.
“When this fight was made, ‘It was like a step down from Usyk, and it’s a routine comeback fight.’ The closer it gets, you start to realize it really isn’t. It’s actually a very dangerous fight where anything can happen, and if it goes wrong, it’s catastrophic. There’s a lot on the line.
“I reckon people on Saturday night will be more nervous about this fight than any other fight in the career of Anthony Joshua because you just don’t know where he’s at physically and mentally.
“We do like what we see [of Joshua], but until he gets in there, we don’t know. The whole of the O2 and everybody watching around the world will be sitting here going, ‘I really don’t know what to expect here.’
“Hopefully, we see what we want, and hopefully we see what I believe we’re going to see and what he deserves in terms of the work he’s put in,” said Hearn.
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