Anthony Joshua is looking for a stoppage victory to mark his return to the heavyweight scene following two losses to Oleksandr Usyk – and he’s been looking back at past fights for some inspiration.
The two-time world champion faces Jermaine Franklin on April 1 with new trainer Derrick James in his corner, and fans will have a keen eye on the bout to judge whether or not ‘AJ’ has what it takes to move towards three-time.
That would be a knockout, of course, and Joshua has been looking back over his past early finishes with DAZN. He named his fight with Dillian Whyte as his favourite.
“The Dillian Whyte uppercut, because, you know, Klitschko was stopped on his feet. The referee jumped in. Dillian was rendered unconscious – they had to kind of put him on the recovery position. That’s a conclusive knockout.”
The two domestic rivals faced off in 2015 for the British and Commonwealth Heavyweight titles, lacing up after a fight week full of animosity.
The O2 Arena – where Joshua will face Franklin – was packed and the two heavyweights deliverer, leaving game plans in the dressing room and delivering a brawl.
Joshua wobbled Whyte in the first, and then threw a punch after the bell which started a melee in the ring. The underdog returned the favour in the second, rocking ‘AJ’ with a big left hook but failing to capitalise.
In the seventh round – the first of each man’s career – Joshua scrambled Whyte’s senes with a right hand, followed up with a flurry, some taunting, and then an uppercut that sent Whyte onto his back, his head’s impact being stunted by the bottom rope.
They may just get the chance to run it back, too. Promoter Eddie Hearn had the rematch high atop his list for ‘AJ’s summer stadium fight.
Whyte has wanted it for a while, even saying that avenging the loss holds the same weight as world title win for him, although the mood around it was soured when Joshua’s comeback opponent was announced as Franklin.
The American was outpointed by Whyte last November, and the Brixton man – perhaps correctly – has questioned why the loser got an ‘AJ’ rather than he as the winner.