Anthony Joshua is looking to stay as active as he can in 2023, and believes that fighting three times this year is easily done.
The former unified champion lost his belts to Oleksandr Usyk in 2021 and failed to win them back a year later in the immediate rematch.
He now finds himself outside of the title picture for the first time in a long time, and with that, different levels of activity are required.
‘AJ’ fought twice in 2019 – a loss to Andy Ruiz Jr and a win in the rematch six months later. 2018 saw two main events for him as well, wins over Joseph Parker and Alexander Povetkin.
In 2017 was his career-defining victory over Wladimir Klitschko and a more low-key affair against Carlos Takam.
So fans must look all the way back to 2016 for a three-fight year for Joshua. He knocked out Charles Martin, Eric Molina, and Dominic Breazeale.
Still, he feels confident that he can emulate something similar in 2023. He spoke to DAZN about the plans.
“I think that’s easy. That’s very easy … It’s nice to have dates set, so you can work towards. And naturally, as humans, we plan ahead. So it’s like what’s next? I think three fights is easy to be honest with you.”
First up though is Jermaine Franklin – and anything but a win is unacceptable, really. Joshua spoke of his preparation for the fight and the busy year ahead.
“I have to take Jermaine Franklin more serious than I did Usyk for example. Not for the fact that I’m comparing, but just for the fact that I now know better.
Because what I’ve been through and how I trained, it wasn’t enough so I now know that I have to put more pressure on myself. in order to perform better. As long as I’m going to be fighting I’m going to have this level of self expectation to improve.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn has laid out the roadmap for his fighter, and is looking at a win over Franklin before a stadium event with Dillian Whyte in summer. The pair fought back in 2015 to a Joshua knockout.
If he wins that, the third would be a ‘big fight’, with both Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder mentioned as potentials.