Anthony Joshua is gearing up for an April return to the ring – the first fight in a long-term deal with broadcaster, DAZN.
‘AJ’ faced Oleksandr Usyk twice – once in 2021 and then again last year – and came out on the wrong end of a decision each time. It’s those defeats that have knocked him out of the title picture in the heavyweight division for the first time in years.
Determined to become three-time champion of the world, the former Olympian must get busy and build up good wins. The first move is widely expected – although not officially confirmed – to be America’s Jermaine Franklin on April 1 in London.
Franklin is best known on British shores for taking Dillian Whyte the distance in November of 2022. Despite it being the first loss on his record, many fans were impressed by the performance, with some even thinking he had done enough to win.
Whilst many fans have already assumed that the event would end up on DAZN’s pay-per-view feature, Hearn told Boxing Social that that may not be the case.
“It might be pay-per-view, it might not be. Watch this space.”
Whilst fans might still feel that it will land on box office, it’s unlikely Hearn would float the option of a standard-subscription event if it wasn’t still at least on the table.
DAZN kick off their UK boxing – other than the crossover Misfits cards – in February when Leigh Wood puts his WBA Featherweight title on the line against Mexican bogeyman, Mauricio Lara.
Joshua’s fights will no doubt end up costing fans an extra fee – especially if he does manage to negotiate with the likes of Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.
However this first outing back avoiding that would do a little to get fans back on side with DAZN – a relationship that was soured with the introduction of the PPV model following initial marketing that suggested there would be no such thing.