After much speculation surrounding Anthony Joshua’s ring return, it seems that an official announcement will be made today.
The former unified heavyweight champion has fought just three times in the last three years, but is looking to have as many fights in 2023 to climb back to the top of the division.
Following his second loss to Oleksandr Usyk, ‘AJ’ entered into ad-hoc negotiations with WBC Champion, Tyson Fury for a December 3 fight. Once that fell through – as many fans predicted it would – the Olympic Gold Medalist was said to be targetting a return in early 2023.
Since deciding to change his training set up again, that date has been pushed back to April 1, and Sportsmail have now confirmed that the British superstar will be facing American heavyweight, Jermaine Franklin.
Charlotte Daly reports that all terms have been agreed between the parties, and that contracts will be finalised and signed today. The fight will take place at London’s O2 Arena.
Franklin is best known to UK fans for his recent defeat to Dillian Whyte. Whyte, who was returning to the ring after a knockout loss to Tyson Fury in his sole title challenge, was pushed to the limit by Franklin, who later said the the decision was a robbery.
The Dmitry Salita managed fighter recently emerged as front runner to fill the other corner, and will give Joshua the opportunity to set up a rematch with Whyte in the summer.
The Whyte bout was the American’s first twelve rounder, and he will enter the ring against ‘AJ’ as a big underdog. It’s believed that Derrick James – the man expected to be announced as Joshua’s new coach – had a say in the matchmaking.
The two-time heavyweight champ last year signed a longterm deal with broadcaster DAZN, so the fight will land on their platform. Whether or not it will be a part of their PPV offering remains to be announced, however fans will have to go far back into ‘AJ’s archives to find that last fight that wasn’t.