Anthony Joshua’s new trainer Derrick James raised a few eyebrows yesterday, as he admitted he had only watched ‘AJ’ box on a handful of occasions.
Many feel the Texan could be the perfect choice to bring the aggression that served Joshua so well in his early career back into his game.
“Not a lot. I don’t watch a lot of boxing – I’ve only seen him fight like three or four times.”
James was speaking at the official press conference for Joshua’s comeback bout against Jermaine Franklin, which will take place at the 02 Arena on April 1st.
Franklin is a familiar name to UK fight fans, after giving a good account of himself in defeat to Dillian Whyte back in November – a fight some felt the American was unlucky not to get the victory in.
‘The 989 Assassin’ was selected over the likes of Demsey McKean and Otto Wallin as Joshua’s opponent, reportedly due to James’ desire for his latest charge to take on an orthodox fighter.
The Brit goes into the contest as a firm favourite, and can set up a big money rematch with old foe Whyte should he get past Franklin in just under two month’s time.
Joshua can ill afford to look past Franklin, however, as a third consecutive defeat would almost certainly put to bed any aspirations he has of becoming three time heavyweight champion of the world.
Promoter Eddie Hearn has stated the contest will be the first of three planned outings for his prized heavyweight in 2023, culminating in a mega fight with either Tyson Fury or Deontay Wilder towards the end of the year.