Anthony Joshua vs. Jermaine Franklin Preview

By Boxing News - 04/01/2023 - Comments

By Brian Webber: Tonight in the ‘New Dawn’ card, Anthony Joshua (24-3, 22 KOs) will be attempting to reinvent himself with his recently hired coach Derrick James for AJ’s twelve-round main event against the hungry American Jermaine Franklin (21-1,14 KOs) at the O2 Arena in London, England. The main portion of the Joshua vs. Franklin card will begin at 2:00 pm ET, live on DAZN—the preliminary starts at 11:00 am ET.

Joshua is in a must-win situation tonight, as he’s lost his last two fights, and it’s reached the critical stage where he can’t afford another defeat.

Although he’s defiant about not being told when he should retire, his potential for big-money fights against Tyson Fury, Deontay Wilder, and Joe Joyce will take a serious hit if he loses to Franklin

Franklin can upset Joshua tonight

“Jermaine Franklin may have stumbled into this opportunity. The worry for AJ is that every time you get a shot against Anthony Joshua, you train harder than you ever trained before,” said Eddie Hearn to Matchroom Boxing.

“You realize the opportunity in front of you is the greatest opportunity that you’ll ever receive, and Jermaine Franklin is coming into this fight 110% prepared. He’s coming into this saying, ‘I know I can knock him out. If I stick one on his chin, I’ll beat Anthony Joshua in England. I’ll put myself in line for Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk, and the world heavyweight title,'” said Hearn.

“I’ve been the underdog in a lot of situations. We’re comfortable here. None of that plays [a factor]. I really don’t think about it, to be honest,” said Franklin. He’s a man, just like I’m a man. He bleeds just like I do, so I proved that I can hang with the top heavyweights,” Franklin said about his recent controversial loss to Dillian Whyte last November.

“I proved that I can compete. It’s just time to prove that I can prove again and showcase my skills and show the world why I’m here,” said Jermaine.

“It’s a ‘New Dawn’ in many ways. A ‘New Dawn’ because he [Joshua] has a new trainer [Derrick James] and a new chapter in his career, but we also have to acknowledge that we are in the backend of the book,” said Hearn about the 33-year-old Joshua, who has lost three out of his last five fights, including his last two. “I want to see him become world heavyweight champion again.”

New Dawn for AJ’s career

“It’s a ‘New Dawn.’ I’m writing the next chapter of this book,” said Joshua. “I can never go back and rewrite my career. It’s an unforgiving sport where a lot of us make mistakes.

“After the Usyk fight, I realized that I’ve got to knuckle down a bit more,” Joshua continued. “People think that’s where your head’s at. ‘Oh, his head’s gone. His head is not in the game.’ It’s not about your head. That’s just your computer.

“You wake up every morning and do the same routine and go to work. It’s like doing it with your heart, and when you do something with your heart, you get different results. So I had to sacrifice and put my heart into the sport, and that’s something that’s changed,” said Joshua.

“My trainers know what I lack. They know what I’m lacking. They know what I’ve planned, and they know when I’m giving it my all,” said Franklin. “My trainers know what to say to me, how to get to me. They know everything. They know everything about me.

“So, that took years of building a relationship, so we understand each other on a different level. It’s hard for a trainer to tell what you lack and what you’re good at. You’re only with them for a couple of months.

“That might be the downfall of trading trainers. I hope he’s mentally strong coming in,” said Franklin about Joshua changing coaches from Robert Garcia to Derrick James following his second loss to Oleksandr Usyk last August.

Is Joshua’s career on the line?

“It’s an easy cliche to say, ‘his career is on the line.’ We say that a lot in the build-up to fights,” said Hearn. “But when you look at what his ambitions are and when you look at what the target is, and what you want to achieve for the rest of his career, I guess his career is on the line in certain respects,” said Hearn about Joshua’s career being on the line tonight, given that he’s lost so many fights in a short period since 2019, posting a dismal 2-3 record.

“This fights important because I’m fighting. I’m doing what’s important to me in my life,” said Joshua. “That’s all there is. This fight is important because I’ve made it important. I made it a priority. I’ve dedicated myself. If Jermaine Franklin was my sparring partner, I’d take him seriously because that’s just what I do.

“I’ve just got to take my job seriously on a day-to-day basis. That’s why it’s important because it’s just what I do,” said Joshua.

“I feel like people telling me like I’m not a good enough fighter to beat AJ and that if I beat him, his career is over,” said Franklin. “When I beat AJ, he still has a career. He still has a chance to come back and turn around and beat somebody else, beat other people, and beat other good fighters,” said Franklin.

“No one can take me out of this chair. If I was to lose the next 15 fights, who is going to stop me from fighting?” said a stubborn-sounding Joshua. “Can you answer that? I can’t see anybody stopping me from fighting. No one has the balls to stop me from fighting.

“So anyone that says I should stop fighting, it’s just an opinion. It’s not a forceful action,” said Joshua.”The question is, do I have to take in their opinion? Definitely not. Am I the leader of my future? Definitely.

“So, I’ll fight as long as I want to fight. Not as long as anyone tells me to,” said Joshua.

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